The safety of women on our streets has come under long-overdue scrutiny following the appalling events of last week.
The abduction and murder of Sarah Everard is an absolute tragedy, bringing a sombre tone to events marking International Women’s Day and prompting a renewed drive to improve women’s safety on the street and in the home. Many factors are being rightly examined – not least attitudes, education and culture – and the built environment profession needs to ask itself questions too. In the most literal sense, we make the streets.
Planners, developers, architects and other built environment colleagues all have a role to play, and if there is the slightest hint of a positive to come out of this tragic case, it is that the situation has been brought sharply into focus. This is not just about women – it is about better safety for all. Creating safe environments in our buildings, streets, parks and footpaths is already embedded in planning policy and the planning process with Secured by Design reviews and police consultation on many major planning applications.
But now is the time to examine if we could go further. The question should not be “have we done enough?”, but instead “what more could we do?”. As schemes progress through the design process, we need to seize every opportunity to avert possible tragic events. The last week has made me think even more about how we as an industry can embed best approach into all new development using the frameworks and policies that are already in use.
Should you have any further queries in relation to Planning for safety, or have any current or new proposals you wish to discuss in relation to this update, please do get in touch with one of the planning leadership team: Lisa Webb, Nick Brindley, Neil Henderson and Graham Oliver.