Rory Joyce, Principal of Brunel Planning, led a lunch and learn session for ULI Young Leaders on 24 October 2017. Rory took us through some of the big and interesting projects he has worked on, from the Mall at Cribbs Causeway, to the refurbishment of Parliament, work for the Airports Commission, Poundbury, Coryton Oil Refinery and Northumberland National Park, and his role as Specialist Adviser to the House of Commons Environment Select Committee.
The discussion considered modular construction, and the perception of it in the UK as post war prefabricated homes rather than a means of modern construction. Modular construction has developed quickly in China where there is no alternative in rapidly developing urban areas. So far there has been a lack of impetus for the adoption of modular construction in the UK, but there is a potential for this to change as the scale of the housing shortage escalates.
The role of the Government, rather than house builders, to resolve the housing crisis was considered. Rory suggested that changes are needed to accounting practices, so that the benefits of investment accruing after more than 15 years are counted properly and therefore incentivised.
The impact of climate change was considered, with the need for novel ideas to address emerging challenges. The need to act on air pollution and improve air quality was emphasised.
Rory used the case study of the planning application for a new tower at Westminster Abbey to demonstrate that with sensitive consideration of heritage, it is possible to build without objections. In that case, planning permission was granted for a new tower to give lift and stair access to a new gallery, the first new tower to be added to the Abbey in 300 years.
Words by Lucy McDonnell, Dentons