Need to know: Church of England puts focus on housing crisis

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby launches commission to look at the UK's housing crisis and what the Church of England can do.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has launched a commission looking at the UK's housing crisis
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has launched a commission looking at the UK's housing crisis

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has launched a commission looking at the housing crisis and its impact on communities. The Archbishop of Canterbury’s commission on housing, church and community will look at the Church of England's own work in this area, and what more it can do to address the issues. The commission is chaired by social housing finance expert, Charlie Arbuthnot, with the support of the Right Reverend Graham Tomlin, Bishop of Kensington, who has been active in efforts to support residents following the Grenfell Tower disaster. Other members of the commission include Bristol mayor Marvin Rees and professor Christine Whitehead, emeritus professor of housing economics at the LSE.

Swansea Council has started its search for a long-term strategic development partner to help regenerate a number of key city centre sites. The sites set to come forward include its Swansea Central phase two plan, which covers much of the city centre, as well as the civic centre site, and a large area of the former Hafod-Morfa Copperworks site.

Housebuilder Inland Homes has finalised a deal to sell a site in east London with the potential to accommodate 325 homes to housing association Clarion Housing Group. The deal for the Merrielands Crescent site, in Dagenham, will see Inland’s partnerships division carry out the development phase on behalf of Clarion. The development proposal for the site comprises a series of five to ten storey apartment blocks, with 1,514 square metres of commercial space, and associated amenity area.

Communities secretary James Brokenshire has written to leading developers to remind them of their legal obligation to consider the impact of a project on local wildlife and take precautionary action to protect their habitats. The move follows recent concerns about netting being placed in trees and hedgerows ahead of construction work to prevent birds from nesting there. Brokenshire said, "Whilst building new homes is vital, we must take every care to avoid unnecessary loss of habitats that provide much needed space for nature, including birds".

A new tool has been made available to guide architects, planners, councillors, developers and citizens in the qualities of the built environment that are good for people and deliver good place value. The report, Place value and the ladder of place quality, outlines what spatial qualities add value to places – in health, social, economic and environmental outcomes – and what qualities do not. The report was produced by campaign group Place Alliance, supported by design review network the Design Network, and is based on UCL professor Matthew Carmona’s work on place value and quality. The research behind the report is available in an open source website here.

Oxford City Council has appointed designers Jessop and Cook Architects and Transition by Design to convert a former jobcentre into an assessment hub and emergency shelter to help rough sleepers off the streets. Transition by Design is carrying out work with potential service users to co-design the 1 Floyds Row building. Among its key consultation findings so far are the need for a calm and functional environment, provision for dogs, and a mix of different spaces, including private space. Jessop and Cook Architects will produce a detailed technical design package, and will oversee the works, which will be carried out by the council’s own social enterprise, Oxford Direct Services.

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