Think tank sets up housing inquiry


Dame Kate Barker

Dame Kate Barker, who undertook inquiries into housing supply and land use planning for the last Labour government 20 years ago, will head up the commission on behalf of an outfit called Radix Big Tent.

The aim of the Radix Housing Commission is to make recommendations to the next government soon after the anticipated general election.

It will address four themes: how to free up more land for development; the role of specialist housing, (e.g. students, retired people); approaches to sustainability; and ensuring affordability.

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.

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“In establishing this commission, Radix Big Tent – which prides itself on applying innovative and entrepreneurial thinking to problem solving – is bringing together public, voluntary and private sector voices to identify practical policy solutions to one of the most enduring challenges of our age.”

Dame Kate Barker added: “20 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.”

Radix Big Tent describes itself as independent, non-partisan and representing ‘the radical centre’. Its board and fellows include former government ministers Andrew Lansley, Vince Cable and Stephen Kinnock.

The Radix Housing Commission members are:

  • Dame Kate Barker (chair), chair of the 2004 Barker Review on Housing Supply and the subsequent review on Land Use Planning (2006)
  • Lord Richard Best, member of House of Lords Built Environment Committee
  • 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
  • Alexandra Notay, director at Thriving Investments
  • Elsie Owusu, founding chair of the Society of Black Architects
  • Vicky Pryce, economist
  • Ben Rich, Radix Big Tent
  • Jackie Sadek, director at Urban Strategy
  • Andrew Taylor, group planning director at Vistry Group
  • Lisa Tye, partner at law firm Shoosmiths
  • Doreen Wright, commercial director at A2Dominion



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