Planning chiefs celebrate innovation in their centenary year, but warn that further cost cutting could jeopardise economic growth, major housing and infrastructure development.
The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has launched a major new report celebrating planning innovation to commemorate the professional body’s centenary year. It has highlighted a dozen exemplars of modern planning across England and Scotland and calls for a greater focus on devolving powers to cities.
The report, Success and Innovation in Planning, backs the Coalition’s localism agenda but says it is being hindered by a lack of resources. The RTPI believes that local authorities need more power if they are to help regenerate Britain’s towns and cities.
The case studies highlighted in the report are models for local innovation and creativity. According to the RTPI’s centenary poll, there is an overwhelming majority of people (79%) who want a bigger say over the development of their communities.
Without the necessary resources, the RTPI warns, there cannot be the vision and leadership required for long-term strategic planning to deliver the infrastructure, environmental benefits and housing areas need to grow and thrive. The challenge for government is to deliver in an on-going climate of austerity.
Cath Ranson, President of the RTPI said: “This report is a celebration of innovation and creativity in planning but it also serves to underline the key role planning plays at the heart of communities and, crucially, our economy. Everyone appreciates the tough decisions that politicians have to take, but planning has to be viewed in the long term and appreciated as an investment. Planning has borne the brunt of some of the harshest cuts in council spending and this is damaging planning departments’ abilities to retain skilled staff and deal effectively with the complex challenges posed by modern development. Planning has a central role to play in shaping communities: from resolving employment, transport and housing issues, to health and environmental challenges."
“All of the projects selected were standout successes and local communities can be proud of their own achievements in bringing these about, as well as proud of their local council planning teams.”
Case studies selected by experts for the report include Bristol City Council’s localism agenda, turning the planning system on its head and allowing planning to be influenced from the bottom up via its Neighbourhood Planning Network and drawing on the distinctive and vibrant civic culture.
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View the RTPI report, Success and Innovation in Planning