The RIBA’s Sam Wilson shares his experience of the Liberal Democrat conference
The strong gales and choppy seas in Brighton this week seemed an appropriate backdrop for the Liberal Democrats’ annual conference. With the Party flagging in the polls and bruised from some tough times in government, thousands of party members, journalists and industry representatives gathered to test the political temperature and see the battle lines being drawn for the General Election.
The RIBA, taking its HomeWise campaign on the road once again, put housing centre stage, holding an event which marked one of the first public appearances of the new Communities Minister Don Foster. In a packed room, the Minister was challenged on the Government’s extensions policy, the provision of social housing and calls from councillors and the RIBA for minimum space standards for new homes to be introduced through the up-coming review of housing standards.
Alongside our main conference programme, the RIBA met with council leaders, parliamentarians and industry leaders, including Lord Matthew Taylor and Government cities adviser Lord Shipley, whilst also being joined by Sir John Banham, Chair of the Future Homes Commission, to trail the Commission’s upcoming report and build political and industry support for their emerging recommendations.
Next week, it’s the Labour Party’s time in the Conference spotlight. Housing and growth are likely to be centre stage once again and the RIBA will highlighting its policy agenda with a view to shaping the opposition party’s ongoing policy review.