Council directors have called for the idea of infrastructure to be redefined to include ‘the social, economic and environmental frameworks that make places work for people’.
Shaping Places for Thriving Communities, ADEPT’s strategic plan for 2017-2020 and beyond, argues that although transport, environment and economic systems are increasingly driven by data and technology, ‘our most valuable asset is our people’.
It adds: 'Health and wellbeing are vitally important, as is providing the education and skills to ensure our communities are prepared for the future.'
The strategy sets out ADEPT’s priorities as ‘People, Planning and Place’ and states: ‘For ADEPT, successful infrastructure is more than hard engineering; it provides the social, economic and environmental systems that support thriving communities and businesses.’
But, reflecting frustration that the Government’s plans for 100% business rate retention from 2020 appear to have stalled, it argues: ‘We need to know how local growth will be resourced from 2020/21 onwards, so that we can get on with investing in place’.
The strategy also takes aim at the Government’s frequent use of competitive bidding to distribute funding to councils. It says: ‘To plan effectively, local authorities need longer-term funding certainty rather than short-term bidding opportunities that result in inequitable and ad hoc decision-making.’
The document sets out a number of future ‘horizon scanning’ scenarios, including that petrol and diesel cars could become obsolete and people will no longer own cars but use on-demand autonomous vehicles.
It suggests that streets could become relatively free of cars, resulting in safer roads and less need for street and garden space to be given over to parking but that electrification of transport will make power supply more dependent on local generation and energy storage.