Report calls for retail parks to become vibrant communities that include homes

Retail parks and supermarkets should be turned into vibrant communities that include homes, shops and businesses.

A new report from the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission says these “mixed” developments would also help give local people a bigger say in the planning process and avoid identikit homes and “boxland” developments.

Give public a say

New public transport should be provided to reduce the reliance on cars says the report, entitled Creating Space for Beauty.

The commission examined ugly developments and public mistrust of planners and councils that give the go-ahead for these projects.

Rather than simply fighting planning applications, the commission wants local communities involved in projects from initial conception to delivery to ensure they get what they want.

Beauty for all

Nicholas Boys Smith is the interim chairman of the commission.

He launched its first report, saying: “Redeveloping out-of-town retail parks and ugly old supermarkets would delivery something much more beautiful in the form of thriving new communities where people can raise a family, work or settle down.

“Beauty should not be just a property of the old buildings or protected landscapes but something we expect from new buildings, places and settlements.

“We need to deliver beauty for everyone, not just the wealthy. This will require, ultimately, some fundamental changes.

“Hopefully our report will start part of that important debate with the public and professions.”

Breathe life into town centres

The report also wants to breathe new life into town centres by making high streets walkable and well-connected so that people can live and work in a place with a greater mix of buildings, including smaller shops, businesses and homes.

One of the UK’s biggest retail property owners, Intu, had announced in July that it intends to build 1,000 homes on its Lakeside retail park in Essex.