Blended provision for the future of towns and cities

House of Lords Committee recommends greater devolution of decision making and funding to local levels to build blended communities post-COVID-19.

The COVID-19 Committee report on Living in a COVID World: A Long-term Approach to Resilience and Wellbeing, published 15 March, proposes decisions about the future of towns and cities are made by local leaders, and they are given the financial certainty they need to put these into practice. 

Propertymark member evidence

Propertymark gave evidence during the inquiry about the impact of the pandemic on the property market and how agents were adapting to continue to provide a professional service to buyers, sellers, tenants, and landlords. Increased demand for more space at home, particularly outdoor space, and the impact that the pandemic was having on demand for properties were also inputted.

22 Jun 2021
Propertymark gives evidence to Towns and Cities Inquiry

The House of Lords COVID-19 Committee Inquiry into the potential long-term impact of the pandemic on demand for, and access to, housing and green spaces in towns and cities heard evidence from Propertymark.

Blended models

The Report recognised how and where people live and work has changed because of the pandemic, and housing and workspace provision needs to move to a more blended model to meet future needs.

Covering a range of subjects in the light of lessons that can be learned, the Report shows that towns and cities are vital to social and economic wellbeing cannot be overemphasised, and neither can the impact of the pandemic on urban areas. The seismic changes – shopping habits, working patterns, and leisure activities – has had a devastating impact. As such the future must be reimagined, as any attempt to revert to business as usual is likely to be like trying to stop the tide.

The Committee makes several recommendations to the UK Government, including:

  • further financial and legislative devolution of powers, to enable local authority leaders to deliver regeneration policies tailored to the needs of their specific areas
  • a three-year rolling local government financial settlement, at an increased level
  • financial support to local authority leaders to enable the establishment of work hubs, pop-up retail units and arts and culture provision 
  • working with local authorities to develop a blended approach to housing and public service provisions 

Property professionals

Propertymark welcomes the Report’s findings and recommendations and urges the UK Government to accept them and work with the property sector to build sustainable new communities that can prosper and are resilient against future challenges. We recognise the vital role that Propertymark members must play in this process as local property experts who will continue to provide the professional service needed as the rebuilding process progresses. 

We agree with the Committee that a plentiful supply of high-quality housing is one of the key drivers of creating vibrant towns and cities.

The pandemic has without doubt rapidly accelerated the demand for green space from buyers and renters, but equally important is the need for homes that are fit for purpose.

Much of the focus of UK Government is building the right number of homes, so the responsibility falls on planning authorities to ensure the delivery of the right types of homes in the right places so our housing stock can continue to be appropriate to the changing world around us.

Timothy Douglas Head of Policy and Campaigns | Propertymark