Government housing adviser appointed a Visiting Professor at Plymouth University

A renowned expert on housing and planning issues is to work closely with students and academics at Plymouth University as part of a new appointment.

Lord Matthew Taylor of Goss Moor, the former MP for Truro and St Austell, advised both the last Labour government and the coalition on planning and housing policy and has served on a number of high profile national bodies.

Now students will be able to benefit from that extensive experience as he has been made a Visiting Professor within the University’s School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences.

As part of his appointment, he is likely to contribute to both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, as well as working with academics to develop research themes and individual projects.

He will also work closely with the Sustainable Earth Institute, which stages a range of public events aimed at increasing awareness and knowledge about a range of issues affecting society and the environment across the UK.

Last year, Lord Taylor published a report with Policy Exchange proposing new locally led ‘Garden Villages’ as a route to delivering new homes to meet housing need in more sustainable, attractive and affordable ways. The plan would allow local councils to rule out unwelcome sequential development of housing estates around existing towns and villages, and the Government committed to implementing the idea in the Budget last week.

Lord Taylor said:

“To be invited to serve as a Visiting Professor at Plymouth University is a huge honour. I am greatly looking forward to working with the students and academic staff on advancing thinking about 21st century sustainable development to deliver the homes and communities people need. I look forward to playing a part in helping in any way I can Plymouth University as a whole continue to build on its success.”

Lord Taylor served in the House of Commons from 1988 to 2010, publishing the Living Working Countryside review in 2008, and leading the creation of the government’s new National Planning Practice Guidance, which was finalised in 2014.

He is currently President of the National Association of Local Councils, having completed a six-year term as Chair of the National Housing Federation in September 2015, and continues to actively engage with government on planning policy and housing delivery.

He also chairs the St Austell Eco-Town partnership and provides consultancy on other sustainable development and new projects.

Christopher Balch, Professor of Planning at Plymouth University, said:

“Lord Taylor is an influential figure at the top table of national planning and housing policy, as evidenced by the inclusion of his Garden Villages vision in the Chancellor’s recent Budget. Both our students and academics will be able to learn from him, and his experience and connections will contribute to an enhanced understanding of regional and national issues.”


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Professor Christopher Balch

Professor Balch is a chartered town planner and chartered surveyor with experience as a consultant in urban planning, regeneration and development. He has advised on policies and programmes and has worked on the planning and funding of major projects.

Professor Balch has developed strategies and plans for the transformation of underperforming places, including major cities and coastal towns.

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