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Think tank Radix has appointed Dame Kate Barker CBE head up a new commission into the housing shortage in England.

The Radix Housing Commission is bringing together professionals and academics from across the housing profession to review some of the challenges around supply, including the Royal Town Planning Institute, lawfirm Shoosmiths and the Society of Black Architects.

The expectation is that the commission will report its findings in time for the new government post the General Election.

Its focus will be on four leading issues:

  • how to free up more land for development;
  • the role of specialist housing, for example for students and older people;
  • approaches to sustainability; and
  • ensuring affordability.

Dame Barker previously worked with the last Labour Government on housing supply and land use, and will be joined on the commission by Lord Richard Best, cross-party peer, who chaired the Affordable Housing Commission and is a Member of the House of Lords Built Environment Committee.

During both public and private meetings experts will offer evidence and suggestions to feed into the Radix Housing Commission covering planning policy, land and investment.

On launching the Commission, Radix Big Tent chief executive, Ben Rich, said: “There is a general consensus that the housing sector is in crisis and lots of solutions have been proposed, but many of them fall at the first hurdle because of a disconnect between the recommendations made and the commercial realities of the property sector.

Dame Barker said: “Twenty years on from leading a review of housing supply, it’s depressing to find many of the problems identified still remain. A pragmatic rethink is overdue.”

Lisa Tye, partner and living sector co-head at Shoosmiths, said: “The message is simple – we need to build more quality, sustainable and mixed-tenure homes, boosting residential supply and choice across England and the rest of the UK.”

The Radix Housing Commission members are:

  • Dame Kate Barker CBE
  • Lord Richard Best
  • Richard Blyth, Head of Policy at the Royal Town Planning Institute
  • Paul Brocklehurst, Chair of the Land, Planning and Development Federation and former Head of Catesby Estates
  • Tom Chance, CEO, Community Land Trust Network
  • Rick de Blaby, CEO, Get Living
  • Melissa Mean, Director at WeCanMake, a community-based project to create affordable homes by unlocking micro-sites for development
  • Alexandra Notay, Placemaking and Investment Director at Thriving Investments, and Independent Board Commissioner on the UK government’s Geospatial Commission
  • Elsie Owusu OBE, Founding Chair of the Society of Black Architects
  • Vicky Pryce, Chair of Radix Fellows and leading economist
  • Ben Rich, CEO, Radix Big Tent and former secretary to Lord Rogers’ Urban Taskforce
  • Jackie Sadek, Director at Urban Strategy
  • Andrew Taylor FRTPI, Group Planning Director at Vistry Group
  • Lisa Tye, Partner and Living Sector co-head at Shoosmiths
  • Doreen Wright, Commercial Director at A2Dominion Group
Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay/Words Duncan Hayes
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