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CITY From Big Bang to global powerhouse, Peter Rees reflects on restyling the Square Mile


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23/05/2014 16:25

Providing support for members and their families The RTPI Trust exists to provide support to members of RTPI and their families ZKRDUHLQJHQXLQH¿QDQFLDOKDUGVKLS ‡ We offer “in kind” assistance, such as advice and counselling, to help a member and their family through a crisis.

‡:HJLYH¿QDQFLDOVXSSRUWLQWKHIRUPRIJUDQWVIRUVSHFL¿F items of expenditure, which are regarded as needed to support the welfare of the member and their family.


The Trust may also support individual students who are seeking a career in town planning but have barriers to undertaking the studies they need because of genuine ¿QDQFLDOSUREOHPV For more information on how WKH7UXVWFDQKHOS\RXSOHDVH visit the RTPI Trust page on


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22/05/2014 09:57





20 14



6 New proposals for access to shale gas drilling sites

7 MPs condemn local economic growth funds 8 Housing in crisis?

9 Home builders launch attack against “land banking myth” 10 Infrastructure strategy demands more joined-up thinking 11 Heathrow presses case for growth

OPINION 12 Chris Shepley: Don’t accept that we are to blame just because everyone says we are

17 Rachel Fisher: Permission granted 17 Rachel Stancliffe: It’s time to focus on prevention rather than cure


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18 Peter Rees speaks to Huw Morris about his 30 years transforming the City of London

34 Decisions in focus: Development decisions, round-up and analysis

22 Are garden cities part of the answer to the housing crisis, asks Huw Morris 26 Governments are failing to sustain the world’s city-regions, says Greg Clark 30 How do we save our freedom to wander the “private private public realm realm”,, wonders Simon Wicks




16 Craig McLaren: Are we taking a gamble on planning? 16 Jo Wilson: Urban agriculture should be actively encouraged




38 Legal landscape: Opinion, blogs, and news from the legal side of planning 40 Career development: Using Twitter for planning gain 42 Plan Ahead – our pick of upcoming events for the planning profession and beyond 44 RTPI round-up: News and interviews from the institute 50 Plan B: Ozzy Osbourne’s barn blues – the bats bite back



J U NE 2 01 4 / THE PLA NNER


27/05/2014 10:34

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27/05/2014 10:28


Leaderr Let’s have a little more bite, and a little less bark – Your correspondent is somewhat hesitant to agree with business secretary Vince Cable. Although he might enjoy the sobriquet of the only prophet to predict the last recession, as a minister he has – to put it politely – been less surefooted. Lest we forget, the taxpayer was left shortchanged to the tune of hundreds of millions of pounds by the sell-off of Royal Mail, which very much happened on his watch. Shame he did not foresee that one. Cable was back on safer ground lately with his fears for the economy’s future. The country probably needs to build 300,000 homes a year, he argues, when it is only building 120-130,000. Like it or lump it, an orgy of credit on the never-never has left the UK among the most indebted countries on the planet.

Huw Morris And the answer to this has been yet another debt binge. We are very much borrowing for growth instead of building for it. Although the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) has led to an increase in development, it is palpably not keeping up with demand. To mix metaphors, while it might have led to a gear change, it is hardly full steam ahead. The politicians are falling over themselves to agree that the country needs

more homes; they all back garden cities, but they don’t necessarily know what this kind of development entails. A cursory glance at the government’s recent prospectus for new towns shows its thinking has some way to go on this, never mind the execution. Which takes us back to national planning. Even with the three new settlements envisaged in the prospectus, such development must take place within a national context rather than a regional or sub-regional one. The NPPF is precisely what it says on the tin – a framework, but not a plan. While they are dwindling


by the week, there are still some optimists who cite the statutory duty to cooperate. On the evidence of the past couple of years, this should more realistically be renamed the “duty to talk”. And here’s the nub of the problem; there is a lot of talk, but very little actual dialogue. We may start getting somewhere when it becomes a “duty to listen and act”. Or as Elvis Presley put it: “A little less conversation, a little more action, please.” Now it will be a very optimistic gambler indeed to bet on whether a government will look at the scale of development the country needs – and the jobs and infrastructure that goes with it – and conclude that maybe, just maybe, we need a national plan. But this cuts to the heart of the problem of delivering any kind of plan at whatever level. While the case for a national plan might be obvious, how long would we have to wait for one?

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27/05/2014 09:48


Analysis { B I O D I VE R S IT Y

Proposal set to speed shift to fracking A government proposal to make it easier for shale gas and oil extraction companies to gain access to drilling sites has gone out to consultation. Simon Wicks reports


nder a new proposal to change the existing “trespass” law, operators will not have to seek the agreement of all landowners under whose land they will be drilling. Instead, they will have a statutory right of access for shale gas and oil explorations, and deep geothermal drilling, at depths of below 300 metres (nearly 1,000 ft). The existing 1934 law was passed for the petroleum industry at a time when all drilling was vertical – thus permissions needed to be obtained from a single landowner. Modern drilling techniques enable lateral exploration and mean that extraction companies work beneath areas of land with multiple landowners. Getting agreement from all has been seen as an obstacle to “fracking” becoming a major source of energy in the UK. If it becomes law, the proposal would bring the oil and shale gas industries into line with the coal industry, where coal is a resource owned centrally and extraction companies given a licence have a statutory right to mine it. In addition to the new access terms, the consultation includes a proposal by the shale gas and geothermal industries to make a voluntary payment of £20,000 per lateral well that extends by more than 200m (with payment made only once where laterals coincide). This payment will be made “at a community level”. A system of landowner notification will also need to be set up by the industry. Announcing the consultation, business and energy minister Michael Fallon said: “Britain needs more homegrown energy. Shale development will


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bring jobs and business opportunities. “We are keen for shale and geothermal exploration to go ahead while protecting residents through the robust regulation that is in place. These proposals allow shale and geothermal development while offering a fair deal for communities in return for underground access at depths so deep they will have no negative impact on landowners.” The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), handling the consultation, pointed out that “the deepest tube station is around 32m below ground – drilling for gas, oil and deep geothermal energy is much deeper. Any hydraulic fracturing would only occur at far greater depths of 1.5 kilometre (around 5,000ft) or more.” Catherine Howard, a senior associate at global law firm Herbert Smith Freehills, welcomed the consultation, saying: "The change in law would remove one of the main obstacles to investor confidence. At present the only way operators can use underground land for fracking is to obtain the consent of all landowners above, or apply to court for the grant of compulsory rights under the protracted Mines (Working Facilities and Support) Act 1966 procedure. It is unlikely that any shale gas operator would attempt to go through this process, as the cost and time delay would be prohibitive." The proposal was announced on the same day that a joint British Geological Survey and DECC study suggested billions of barrels of oil beneath south-east England could be extracted by fracking. The consultation will run for eight weeks and closes on 15 August.

UKIP'S LOCAL ELECTION SURGE TO HAVE MINIMAL TOWN HALL IMPACT Although UKIP claims to have delivered a “political earthquake” in the local elections, the party made little impact in London, does not run a single local authority and has far fewer councillors than its rivals. However, UKIP’s success in Essex cost Labour control of Thurrock while the party seized 10 of the 21 seats contested in Rotherham. UKIP MANIFESTO

c Attacks “major developers with large cheque books”; c Pledges to protect the countryside from house building by controlling immigration; c Pledges “incentives” to bring 800,000 empty homes into use; c Pledges referenda on major local schemes; c Scraps “community bribes” such as section 106 agreements; c Returns to county and district plans; and c Opposes HS2 and wind farms.

I M A G E | PA

27/05/2014 12:00


MPs condemn local economic growth funds Barely 10 per cent of funds available for promoting economic growth locally in England have made it to projects, according to an influential group of MPs.


The Commons Public Accounts Committee has revealed that of £3.9 billion allocated to local economic growth


£400m Not even £400 million had reached the frontline.


£1.4bn Under the regional growth fund, the largest of the schemes, the government will need to spend £1.4 billion this year, compared with the £1.2 billion spent over the previous three years, said the MPs.


£1bn Some £1 billion of the remaining £3.5 billion allocated to initiatives is currently parked with intermediary bodies such as local authorities, local enterprise partnerships and banks. One regional growth fund programme, run by Santander UK, has distributed only £2.3 million so far out of £53.5 million. In their Promoting Economic Growth Locally report, MPs called on the government to introduce binding milestones for distributing funds and move quickly to claw back money not being spent – or spent disproportionately on administration – and redistribute it to better performers. The committee said progress in creating jobs is “falling well short” of the government’s initial expectations. The regional growth fund is expected to create 550,000 jobs throughout England between 2011 and the mid-2020s, but had created or safeguarded only around 65,000 jobs at the point of the committee’s inquiry. The government’s estimate of the cost per job created has risen from £30,400 in round one to £52,300 in round four – a 72 per cent increase. The MPs branded the number of jobs created in enterprise zones and through the growing places fund as “underwhelming” – 4,649 jobs and 419 respectively.

NHS ‘could save £56m’ through poor housing improvements Making improvements to London’s poor housing could save the NHS around £56 million a year in treatment costs, according to the findings of a new study. The research by BRE Trust says that reducing health and safety hazards in such homes could reduce cases of cardiovascular disease and falls around the home. It shows that 15 per cent of households in the capital can be classified as living in “poor” housing. The findings also suggest that, while there has been significant progress in improving the energy efficiency of housing stock, a high number of households are likely to experience fuel poverty and overcrowding as a result of increasingly high housing costs in London. BRE housing and energy director Simon Nicol said that the estimated £56 million NHS savings could rise above £140 million “if other costs relating to living in poor housing, such as lack of educational attainment, lost work days and additional energy and insurance costs are taken into account”. The research found that there is proportionately less poor housing in London than in the rest of England. This is thought to be because of the capital’s higher proportion of purpose-built flats, which tend to be newer, more energy-efficient and in better repair than other types of home across the UK. But conditions between and within London boroughs vary considerably, the findings show, with parts of the city being perceived as significantly worse than the national and London average. The information gleaned from BRE Trust’s research is helping local authorities to justify expenditure on housing refurbishment and identify cost-effective improvements for vulnerable people in substandard housing.

House building being ‘strangled’ by red tape, says Welsh opposition Over-regulation by the government is restricting house building in Wales, the Conservatives have claimed. Construction has fallen between January and March this year in Wales but not across the rest of the UK, according to the National House Building Council (NHBC). A total of 882 homes were registered this year, compared with 1,055 homes in the same period last year. A spokeswoman for Welsh secretary David Jones told the BBC: “Over-regulation by the Labour Welsh government is strangling house building in Wales. The consequence is that builders such as Persimmon are voting with their feet and pulling out of the Welsh market.” The Welsh government has branded the comments “utter nonsense”. Last year Persimmon Homes said it had stopped building homes in parts of the South Wales valleys because the sites did not make money because of low sale prices. It also claimed that Welsh government red tape added I M AG E | I STO C K

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£3,000 to the cost of building a house compared with parts of England. NHBC said that 33,816 new homes were registered in the UK during the first quarter of 2014 compared with 31,739 a year ago, a 7 per cent increase. Registrations in London also grew by 6 per cent over the same period last year. But Birmingham, Manchester and Bristol are the top three cities respectively with the highest number of new home registrations. Peter Watton, NHBC director for Wales, said it is hoped that house building in Wales will increase when the Help to Buy Wales shared equity loan scheme “becomes more established”. But the Welsh government has argued that there has in fact “been a marked increase” in the number of new homes being built in Wales. A spokesman for housing minister Carl Sargeant told the BBC: “The Tory ‘War on Wales’ is now resorting to telling outright lies.”



27/05/2014 12:00


Analysis { HOUSING

Housing in crisis? A

re we becoming hysterical about housing? Discussion of what is now commonly termed a “housing crisis” has gone up a notch in intensity since the intervention in mid-May of Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England. Carney warned that rising house prices, along with the associated increase in large-value mortgages, could bring the economic recovery to a shuddering halt. The biggest problem, he said, was the lack of housing supply. Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg weighed into the debate with the suggestion that the government’s Help to Buy scheme ought to be scaled back because it was making too much money too readily available to buy houses that were too expensive to people who earned too little to justify the loan. The prime minister insisted that Help to Buy had actually stimulated supply. Government figures showed a 31 per cent year-onyear increase in new house construction in the three months to March. Meanwhile, Help to Buy had aided the purchase of 117,000 homes in its first nine months, at an average of £194,000 – compared with a national average house price of £180,000. Analysis by Halifax suggested that house prices themselves had risen by an average of 8.5 per cent in the year to March. If improved supply was intended to bring house prices down, it wasn’t working. Either that, or it simply isn’t enough housing. “THE BEST WAY TO Guardian columnist GET THIS MOVING Simon Jenkins claimed IS IF GOVERNMENT that we do, in fact, have WAS TO ACT AS enough housing stock A WHOLE. – but much of it is IT’S TOO BIG TO empty or underused. BE LEFT TO ONE The major problem, he DEPARTMENT”


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Britain’s housing difficulties are “far more complicated than just supply” – Trudi Elliott

argued, is our attachment to our homes as investments. Britain’s housing difficulties are “far more complicated than just supply”, RTPI chief executive Trudi Elliott told The Planner. “One of the factors we’ve got to address is facing up to the number of homes we need, the variety of homes we need, looking at how we get them and, crucially, where they are located,” she said. A complex and multi-faceted problem requires a variety of tools and approaches to resolve it, she continued. For example, we could learn from the contribution of small-scale house building in Europe. This market, which has shrunk in the UK, is often driven by joint ventures between local authorities, developers and land owners which install infrastructure up front. “This works equally well for both large and smallscale developments,” noted Elliott, “and it enables all parties to share the risks – and benefits – of potential uplift in land values. “The RTPI has explored this and other solutions in our policy paper Delivering Large Scale Housing,” said Elliott, adding that we could also learn from Europe by looking at longer-term letting models to provide greater housing stability – for example, to young professionals. Fundamentally, any resolution of Britain’s housing crisis will require the multiple strands of government to work together, and for planning in particular to be linked to other disciplines, she said. “The best way to get this moving is if government was to act as a whole. It’s too big to be left to one department like Communities and Local Government. You’ve got to link infrastructure funding policies with planning policies. Any new government needs to look at this holistically.” The RTPI will be publishing the first in a series of forward-looking Planning Horizons papers in June, looking at spatial planning.


Five “pinch points” that hold back housing: (1) Community engagement (2) Land (3) Infrastructure (4) Finance (6) Leadership and governance

n The RTPI report Delivering Large Scale Housing offers 15 recommendations for releasing the pinch points. Download it at

I M AG E | G E T T Y

27/05/2014 09:48


4% Irish government promises planning shake-up to boost building The Irish government has announced of a package of measures aimed at stimulating activity in the building industry. Its plans include tripling housing output by 2020 and the publication of a new national planning framework. The recently launched Construction 2020 document includes a pledge to produce a social housing blueprint later this year. The strategy stressed that the promised new planning framework would be “an important statement of how we see the future economic, social and physical development of the country taking place”. It adds: “We will also shortly publish a general scheme of a Planning Bill, along with a new policy statement on planning, to implement the planning recommendations of the Mahon Tribunal and other planning concerns, and to establish an independent planning regulator.” The promised Office of Planning Regulation will “provide for independent review of local authority plans, have investigative powers and help to raise public awareness of the planning system and processes”, according to the document. Ministers have also made it clear that the administration is considering whether “there are proactive steps that could be taken in the immediate term to increase the level of construction, consistent with proper planning, to encourage economic activity and to reduce pressure for supply in some areas”.

Amount of land held by UK’s larger home builders with implementable planning permission still awaiting start on site

Home builders launch attack against ‘land banking myth’ Home builders have hit out at the “myth” of land banking by unveiling figures showing just 4 per cent of their land is still awaiting a start on site. The Home Builders Federation (HBF) looked at 220,000 plots held in the land banks of the 23 major companies. This revealed that:



63 per cent are on sites where construction is under way



4Q 2Q 4%

4 per cent of plots have an implementable planning permission but work has yet to begin


31 per cent are either on sites with only an outline permission or where building is awaiting councils to discharge planning conditions 2 per cent are on sites not being developed because they are not economically viable

“When you look beyond the rhetoric and the lazy accusations, the facts are quite clear – house builders do not hoard land or landbank unnecessarily,” said HBF executive chairman Stewart Baseley. “The debate really needs to be about how we get the land in the planning system through more quickly to build the homes we need and not about myths.” The HBF said there are currently around 185,000 potential homes in the planning system. Finding a way of getting them built more quickly “must be a priority for the government”.

Liverpool set for £1.5bn regeneration scheme Plans for a range of regeneration projects totalling £1.5 billion have been revealed for Liverpool. The plans include an ice rink at King’s Dock and the construction of a music venue, hotel, cinema and shops at Lime Street and Mount Pleasant. At King’s Dock, an Olympic standard ice rink, extreme sports complex, restaurants and family housing are proposed, while mature student accommodation will accompany the range of new amenities at Lime Street and Mount Pleasant. The proposals, which are in the initial development stages, have been unveiled by the council and are expected to bring 12,000 construction jobs to the city. Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said that the plans promise a “vibrant, exciting future” for the city. He said that although “regenerating the city centre is vital”, plans are also being made to “deliver transformation across Liverpool as a whole”, and create “thousands of new and refurbished homes”. Planning applications for the new schemes are set to be submitted by the end of 2014 or early 2015.


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J U NE 2 01 4 / THE PLA NNER


27/05/2014 09:49



Infrastructure strategy demands more joined-up thinking The government has finally unveiled its draft policy framework on national networks and MPs immediately pounced on its drawbacks. Huw Morris looks at the issues


uddenly transport planning has raced up the agenda, thanks to two reports by the Commons transport committee. The first examined the National Policy Statement (NPS) on national networks, while the second looked at England’s strategic road network. Together they offer a stark warning; joined-up planning for passenger and freight traffic across the UK’s road and rail infrastructure is crucial for the country’s future prosperity. Committee chair Louise Ellman says the government must plan for new road and rail investment “by looking at future passenger and freight demand by route or region, not by looking at road or rail in isolation from each other, as is done at the moment”. So how does the policy framework add up? Here are the key questions:

Why have the NPS? Ministers believe the NPS provides “in one place” clarity and certainty on government policy for nationally significant infrastructure projects and how such developments will be assessed. It also demonstrates the government’s “commitment to deliver the infrastructure and investment the economy needs for continued growth by making the planning system easier to navigate”. So what’s the problem? Aside from strategic rail freight interchanges, the NPS does not identify the types of national network infrastructure the government thinks is needed. What other types are needed? MPs think the government should specify enhancements to the rail network to promote east-west connectivity. Another idea would be better road and rail connections to ports and airports and to areas badly served by those networks. In particular, the government should specify schemes to promote regional economic growth. What about new technology? “Exciting new technologies” are in the pipeline, according to ministers – without being explicit about what they are. Nevertheless, they believe that these could increase the capacity of the road and rail networks,


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which in turn, affects the demand for transport. MPs want the NPS to show how new technologies will affect road and rail forecasts. The promoters of schemes should also show how they would use new technologies to maximise the capacity of the infrastructure they aim to build. What about forecasts? Government road and rail demand projections are always disputed by one corner or another, which cuts across ministers’ wishes to ensure that planning inquiries focus on local impacts of a scheme. The NPS, for example, refers to Department for Transport (DfT) forecasts for future car use to 2040, which envisage that “growth in traffic nationwide is likely in any conceivable scenario”. But the DfT concedes that its national transport model does not work well for forecasting traffic in London and needs to be reviewed. MPs say basing the need for additional road infrastructure on predictions that are contested may not succeed in keeping these issues out of the planning process for major schemes. Any other controversies? Ministers believe that planning decisions should not generally include consideration of reducing carbon emission. The draft NPS states that a road building programme on the scale currently envisaged would account for under 0.1 per cent of average annual carbon emissions. It also highlights the switch to ultra-low emission vehicles in the next decade. What would opponents say? Opponents of a scheme would argue that a major road project would create additional traffic, thereby undermining national carbon emissions targets. And if a number of big road projects are being developed simultaneously, carbon emission targets will be missed, casting doubts over government predictions on ultra-low emission vehicles. MPS say the NPS should include an estimate of the impact on UK carbon emissions of meeting projected demand for growth in traffic by building more roads. What about Europe? Various European Directives – environmental impact assessment, habitats and water framework – require alternatives to be considered. The DfT accepts that more thought needs to be given to how scheme promoters can satisfy EU law without having to consider strategic alternatives to their projects. Otherwise broad aspects of government policy may get bogged down in planning inquiries. I M AG E | R E X

27/05/2014 12:30


£1.6bn Heathrow presses case for growth Heathrow Airport’s campaign for expansion has stressed how new rail and air links will benefit passengers and businesses across the country. In its submission to the Airports Commission in May, Heathrow claimed it is the only option that can connect every part of the UK to long-haul growth market. The submission also said this is not viable from other airports, giving it a “unique advantage over other options for airport expansion”. The commission is

looking at two possible expansion options at Heathrow as well as a second runway at Gatwick. It will make its final recommendation in summer 2015. The idea has been criticised by local residents, who are concerned its expansion “will make Gatwick as large as Heathrow”. But Alistair McDermid from Gatwick Airport says the move could bring huge benefits, in the form of “£1.6 billion per annum additional contribution to the local and regional economy”. Heathrow says new rail connections will mean more than 70 per cent of the UK’s population will be within three hours of

The benefit per annum to the local and regional economy that could accrue if Gatwick Airport is chosen for expansion, say lobbyists the airport by public transport. A new fast connection to High Speed 2 at Old Oak Common will cut journey times between the airport and Birmingham by one hour 38 minutes. Journey times to Leeds will reduce by two hours and eight minutes and by one hour 53 minutes to Manchester. New direct access to the Great Western Line will cut journey times from Cardiff by 37 minutes. The airport also claimed that expanding Heathrow would create capacity for new air routes to UK destinations that are now served by competing hub airports in Europe.

Journey times reduced by: Birmingham 5 1hr 38mins Leeds 5 2hrs 8mins

Old Oak Common

Manchester 5 1hr 53mins Cardiff 5 Cut by 37mins

Planning fees scrapped for NI community facilities Northern Ireland’s environment minister has removed planning fees for non-profit making organisations applying for planning permission for community facilities. Mark H Durkan’s decision means such organisations will not have to pay a fee when applying for facilities such as sports grounds and playing fields. This is part of his overhaul of planning fees to make them simpler and fairer. The changes, which take effect from 28 May 2014, also include: c Cutting fees to 25 per cent for applications to renew planning permission; I M AG E | DA N N Y N I C H O L S ON

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c Introducing a fairer approach to calculating fees for minerals, gas and waste developments; and c Keeping the inflationary increase to planning fees to the absolute minimum at 1.3 per cent. This means, for example, that the application fee to renew a single dwelling (£851) would reduce to £213. Durkan said: “This overhaul of the fee structure will provide practical assistance to individuals, developers and non-profit making organisations. “Communities will directly benefit. Removing the fees for

non-profit organisations seeking to build community facilities will make it easier for these organisations to put forward proposals like sports grounds and pitches that can be enjoyed by all.” Durkan added: “I am also keen to assist individuals and developers who may be struggling to implement their approved plans before their planning permission expires. “Under this new structure an application to renew a planning application will be 25 per cent less than the usual fee as long as the application is made before the original has expired.”

Protestors drop Culloden challenge Campaigners against plans for a controversial housing scheme near Culloden Battlefield have dropped a legal challenge. The move comes as the National Trust for Scotland, which owns Culloden Battlefield, is holding talks with businessman David Sutherland, who owns the land at Viewhill Farm, Balloch, 400 metres away. Highland Council rejected plans for a 16-home development, but a Scottish Government Reporter overturned this on appeal in January. Stop the Development at Culloden said moves to challenge the proposal at the Court of Sessions have been abandoned after receiving legal advice that there were no grounds on which to appeal. Calls for donors to fund estimated appeal costs of £50,000 have been retracted. National Trust for Scotland is exploring an option for buying the plot of land in question. As a result of the row – and the worldwide furore it caused – the Scottish government has indicated that it may rule on any future applications in the vicinity of the historic site, which was the location for the last land battle fought on British soil in 1746. In a letter to Highland Council, ministers have specified that they be notified about two current applications close to Culloden Battlefield if the council is inclined to approve them – one is for two homes, the other for a single dwelling. If the council wants to approve any other residential development, it will be obliged to notify ministers. “We value our historic battlefields, which tell the story of our nation’s past and continue to be a place of interest and importance for Scots and visitors alike,” said planning minister Derek Mackay. “This is why we have taken the decision to issue notification directions to the Highland Council should it wish to approve the outstanding planning applications to build homes near Culloden Battlefield. This does not commit Scottish ministers to calling in any such application, but it does reserve their right to intervene.”


J U NE 2 0 14 / THE PLA NNER


27/05/2014 12:30


O Opinion Don’t accept that we are to blame just because everyone says we are T THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENT HAS BEEN D LEAKED TO THE PLANNER L FROM A WESTMINSTER F SOURCE… S

Draft Advisory Briefing Guidance Note From Ptolemy, Special Adviser, Planning e for anything that goes wrong. This course been to avoid taking the blam “Our policy since taking office has of than in other areas. has proved more difficult in planning awkward decisions. Sometimes to time it would be necessary to take time from that d ipate antic not had We ked, albeit by a different attac been have still d erent decision, we woul it has seemed that, had we taken a diff group of people we would have group of people that we upset, and the group of people. Worse still, both the looked through the guidance have I s. voter tial e, seem to have been poten upset had we taken an opposite cours to councillors and planners, ic is unique. It almost makes one sympathet from Party HQ and it seems that this in this field. ience exper any has us arly, though none of who presumably face this problem regul problematic post before an less a to ed ffl reshu being since er, matt We have given some thought to this t pass the blame as follows: election now seems unlikely. We migh at least 10 years after an fall-back for ministers in all parties for The last government. This is the usual rules and guidance, abolished ld. The first is that we’ve altered all the election. The problems here are twofo other party has (albeit somewhat the that ies polic ), and adopted new parts of the system (was that a good idea? ng potential here. be aware of that, so there is a diminishi ineffectually) criticised. People seem to doesn’t work people will probably rewritten the planning system so if it The planning system. Ditto. We have think it’s our fault. ction which people keep pointing n from blaming the system – a distin The planners. This is a different optio to make decisions. This is done by inert construct, unable in and of itself out. Apparently the system itself is an there are very few planners left, so lain comp es met at our regular lunch actual people. But various builders we’ve . it is hard to pin the problem on them fired as it seems he was right all ing an inspector once, but it rather back Planning inspectors. We did try blam so it may be best to steer clear. us, like they than like inspectors a bit more along. On the whole, people seem to it’s tempting to have a go at they are not particularly popular, and House builders and developers. Though s they build are not very h is important, even if some of the thing them, they do actually build things, whic ). They can, however, be make may they ons ibuti e any financial contr attractive. (I discount completely of cours t. the planners – so best to keep them swee relied on to complain regularly about ting to things get in the way since there is no doubt that people objec Nimbies. This is a promising line to take, ver, since once again howe ous, cauti be to need the global market. We and this affects our competitiveness in are even our own MPs. many of them are voters; some of them of potential here. We have some from nimbies and we might find a lot Environmentalists. These are different many of these people are actual as now ated outd bit – but these may be a useful jokes about sandals and beards we dropped that? still the greenest government ever – have women. Need to check whether we are easiest option. But some councils as you know, and this is of course the Local authorities. Usually successful decide – which is rather admirable us g lettin and refusing applications are adept at shifting the blame to us by at councils, and not allow any wind helpful, I’m afraid. Best to shout a lot in a way, but hard to counter. Not too farms. Steady as she goes.”



Chris Shepley is the principal of Chris Shepley Planning and former Chief Planning Inspector

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“Daily calls to build new homes are based on meaningless data, with little reference to actual demand or existing stock”

“Just sort off bleating about it, however well justified his views are, is not really what he should be doing” FORMER CHANCELLOR NIGEL LAWSON ON CARNEY’S COMMENTS ABOUT HOUSING


“Planning is one of those things that politicians think they can infuence but actually they need to influence the much wider determinants of place and we’re only one tool in the armoury” “SEEING THE FLAG REMINDS US OF THE BRAVERY OF THOSE WHO FOUGHT IN THE MIDDLESEX REGIMENT OVER THE YEARS AND MAKES ME PROUD TO CALL MIDDLESEX MY COUNTY. IT IS STILL VERY MUCH ALIVE AND KICKING” UXBRIDGE MP JOHN RANDALL ON MIDDLESEX DAY


“The days of Norman Foster are not behind us, the best is yet to come” “There are half as many people in Canada as in the UK. Twice as many houses are built every year in Canada as in the UK” BANK OF ENGLAND GOVERNOR MARK CARNEY PICTURED WARNS OF HOUSING MARKET MELTDOWN


“Get land off our books to hand it over to those that know what to do with it” ERIC PICKLES STRESSES THE DEVELOPMENT OF BROWNFIELD LAND AT A PBA PETER BRETT ASSOCIATES EVENT

“I am personally absolutely devastated by this, and I’m sure my colleagues across the country are equally devastated” E.ON’S CHIEF EXECUTIVE TONY COCKER ON NEWS THAT THE COMPANY IS BEING FINED £12 MILLION. COCKER’S BONUS WILL BE CUT BY 25 PER CENT I M AG E S |


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I Inbox


Paul Barkley In May’s edition of The Planner you report an interview with Clive Betts where he concludes: “They [developers] can do more work on getting the design right... They can take account of the local topography and the local environment. They can consult local residents before the scheme gets into a fixed situation rather than coming along with a standard scheme designed by a computer and say “that’s what you are going to get’.” This seems to accord with the Farrell review (also reported in the same issue). However, both Mr Betts and Sir Terry are perhaps living in cloud-cuckoo land. Bespoke design for an individual site is going to be more expensive and time-consuming for developers than a “pattern book” of standard house types (for which it appears there is a market). Whilst a good deal of thought often goes into the design of a one-off house the same can not be said of largescale developments (which are what is needed to address the housing shortage). Back in 2000 PPG3 was advocating higher density housing with the problems associated with that being addressed through better design as set out in By Design and design guides. It does not seem to me that this has been delivered to date and in the current climate is less likely to be delivered than in 2000. The government is clearly pro-housing development and appeal decisions reflect this. It seems to me the test is “is it good enough?”, not “could it be better?” and it would be a brave LPA that would defend


an appeal which, if allowed, would make a significant contribution to housing delivery on the basis of “could do better”. Paul Barkley LLB (Hons), MSc, LARTPI, Solicitor (non-practising)

Mike O’Sullivan Re: “Looking for the next generation of garden cities”. I must protest at the government’s invitation to local authorities to “come forward with plans for garden cities”. Firstly, Nick Clegg and Eric Pickles seem to be of the view that a development of around 15,000 homes, or about 33,000 residents, constitutes a city. Urbino and its like apart, I would have thought that a real city would be measured in terms of anything above 500,000 souls. The Clegg-Pickles approach represents the usual unsustainable suburban development tacked on to the usual existing unsustainable suburban development. Garden cities are shorthand for low-density, car-dependent, socially isolating and unsustainable development. We are supposed to be adjusting to climate change and global warming so how does it happen that the Pickles part of government is advocating an unsustainable approach to town development in defiance of the 2008 Climate Change Act. Has Eric not bothered to cross-reference with Ed Davey, who has ministerial responsibility for compliance with the 2008 Act? Instead of pushing for “garden city” residential development at density levels around 30 dwellings per hectare we ought to be opting for more compact, more

urban, low-rise solutions with densities around the 70 mark. This would allow public blic transport to provide the basis is for intramural movement and, along with walking and cycling, there would be opened up the whole of an urban area to all offering a much more agreeable and sociable environment. The car can still have a role in terms of meeting the demands of extramural movement. If Ebenezer Howard were alive today he would be alert to the need to respond to the challenges of climate change. Time moves on and I feel sure that he would advocate the higher density, low-rise, more sustainable approach that I have outlined. Mike O’Sullivan Dip.Arch. Dip.TP. MRTPI

THE PLANNER ONLINE TH WWW.THEPLANNER.CO.UK The Planner is now online at (and our sister jobs site, jobs. For a limited period, www. is open access with no restrictions on viewing content. This will enable us to promote and build up awareness of the site beyond existing members and to allow everyone to easily explore the breadth of the content available and share articles without encountering any barriers. Please take the time to check out these new services – and let us know what you think.

A LL OF A TWITTER @ThePlanner_RTPI Cliff Hague@CliffHague Cities = 2% global land area but 70% each of global GDP, energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. We need an #urbanSDG.

Peter Brett LLP@PeterBrettLLP Are #gardencities really about social, economic & environmental potential, or are they just a question of style and better landscape?

Craig McLaren@RTPIScotland Just given evidence of what planning can / can’t do to @glasgowcc panel examining clustering of payday loan shops & bookies in town centre

Centre for Cities@CentreforCities Most people remain suspicious of the idea that what’s good for growth in London is good for them and their city

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O Opinion


Craig McLaren, director of Scotland and Ireland, RTPI

The UK Government recently announ announced that it would be chang changing the use class order in England so that new bookmaker shops will have to submit a planning application. It is expected that this will lead to them being re-designated as a sui generis use, so as to provide planning authorities with more control over their location. This is not just an issue in England. Although the use class order in Scotland is different from the English version, the current grouping of betting shops in a financial and professional services class is broadly similar. The urgency of the issue led Derek Mackay, Minister for Local Government and Planning, to host a summit on betting and payday loans on Scotland’s high streets that brought together financial advisers, bookmakers, credit unions, planners, politicians, debt advisers and users to examine ways forward. And Glasgow City Council has set up a commission on the issues to which I have given evidence on planning’s role. The discussion pointed to planning as the ultimate solution for tackling the issues. As much as I am keen for planners to attempt to provide solutions I think this is one area where, although we can contribute, we certainly don’t hold all the cards. We need to recognise that the planning system is only dealing with the demand that has been

Jo Wilson is Head of Policy at Future of London

Urban agriculture should be actively encouraged

Taking a gamble on planning?

generated for betting shops. Mackay is now considering how best to tackle the issues of betting shops. He may want to look at the sui generis route that looks likely in England, although it can't be applied retrospectively. He could encourage planning authorities to use Article 4 directions to restrict changes of use, however, this won’t have much of an impact as it would probably only restrict changes of use from class 2 (food and drink) to class 3 (financial and professional services). Interestingly, the summit was convened within a context of creating vibrant town centres and Mackay is leading on the gambling issue, as the government’s town centre champion. Is there merit in examining it from a broader perspective? Could there be a more proactive approach to – and explicit link between – planning and licensing? Or should he explore the idea of local authorities using their duty outlined in the 2010 Equality Act? This says that in making decisions they should have “due regard for the desirability of exercising them in a way that is designed to reduce the inequalities of outcome which result from social-economic disadvantage”. This could be done by asking that local development plans and development management decisions are guided through an impact assessment. It may be worth a punt.





London is adept at making big things happen h in small spaces, and it its plethora of community food spaces are testament to this, from land-based to hydroand aquaponics; on housing estates, rooftops, and, underground. These projects creatively explore turning the city’s waste products into valuable assets. With space at a premium, many of these schemes are probably fulfilling more social and e nv i r o n m e n t a l aims than they are increasing urban food security. Both food and growing are tools for fostering quality of place, and healthy and cohesive communities. With long waiting lists for council allotment spaces, part of the solution is in the generously proportioned yet underused shared green spaces on so many of our housing estates. There are several examples of community-led activity out there, but a push from council planners could make it commonplace. In terms of new development, Brighton and Hove City Council has shown what can be achieved, with their Planning Advice Note specifying how food-growing space should be incorporated into new developments. And urban agriculture is also a fantastic “meanwhile” activity, breathing colour and biodiversity into brownfield land with very little resource and effort – good news for developers and communities alike. This is all valuable, but it could

be greater than the sum of its parts with some strategic thinking. What percentage of the 30 million-plus meals served daily in a city the size of London could be produced within its boundaries? How much land could be given to food production long term? It is good to see LB Enfield tackling some of these issues in its Garden Enfield programme. Even if the percentage is small, quantifying it would be a step to professionalising urban agriculture. As with other sectors that are creative and community-led, so much of this work is currently in the realm of the voluntary or underpaid. As the food-related apprenticeships and training opportunities proliferate in the capital, it is vital that they lead to well-paid employment. We could think about London’s productive capacity in the context of the rest of the country. How much of our food could be produced in the peri-urban hinterland? How much in the South-East? By optimising the potential of each zone, we could begin to recalibrate the food system, reduce carbon intensive transport patterns and restore links between rural producer and urban marketplace. The surge of interest in food growing and provenance suggest it is time to act. Practitioners need to look at the wealth of activity in existence, and consider the tools and resources required to develop it.


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Have your say Would you like to see yourself in these pages? Get in touch by email – Topical, inspirational, angry or amusing – we consider all relevant comment.


Rachel Fisher is head of policy at the National Housing Federation and will be speaking at the RTPI Planning Convention on 24 June

are having the desired impact. There is a tension between the NPPF’s strong focus on housing delivery, which as the National Housing Federation we support, and the tendency (according to Turley Associates at least) of neighbourhood plans to be antigrowth. We will need to wait and see the impact of the pro-development neighbourhood plans. It’s fair to say that, as anyone who’s ever done community development will know, the timescales are likely to be long. But there is increasing recognition of house building’s role in economic growth and the importance of having affordable housing. We have also started a national grassroots campaign called Yes to Homes (, enabling people to contact local and national politicians to express concerns about the crisis. It’s a popular campaign with more than 22,000 signatures on our petition, a letter-writing campaign and an active Twitter presence @yestohomes. We’re hoping that just as a few objectors can scupper a plan, a group of supporters will give councillors the confidence to say “Yes” to applications or the confidence to delegate more decisions to planners. Given the extensive involvement of councillors, communities and stakeholders in agreeing local and neighbourhood plans, can planners not be left to approve schemes that comply with those plans?


I am a demographer de by training and have worked in healthcare for mo most of my life. As a basic marker of how well we are living on this planet, I am most interested not in GDP, or even educational standards, but in life expectancy and years of healthy life. Medical science made enormous progress in treating disease in the past century. But the main interventions that increased our life expectancy from just over 40 years to over 80 years were public health measures over 150 years ago. Clean water and sewers reduced infectious disease rates (from 11 per 1,000 to under 1 per 1,000) while medical breakthroughs did not, in general, contribute importantly to the early major decline in infectious disease mortality. The death rate from causes other than infectious disease was 12 per 1,000 in 1850 and this has not declined markedly. Our main health problems are lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and depression and our medical system is geared almost entirely to managing illnesses and not avoiding them. We no longer have the resources (financial or environmental) to continue in this way. Climate change is almost undoubtedly the biggest threat to health this century and we have

a critical need to control greenhouse gas emissions. We are legally committed to reducing C02 equivalents by 80 per cent by 2050. In the absence of any agreed mechanisms for reduction in the production or use of C02, it is up to planners and health professionals to work together to create systems and infrastructure that support much lower C02 use. Yet, despite wide acknowledgement of the relationship between planning and health, there seem now to be few ties between the two worlds. The environmental and health crises that confront us make it a matter of urgency that planners and health professionals find new ways to work together to develop a world where healthcare is combined with social science and behavioural economics to encourage prevention above cure. Achieving this change will require health and planning to work much more closely together in future. How can we best do that? Through “big data” via Apple, Microsoft, with people being closely monitored by ubiquitous computers and rewarded for looking after their health? Or by redesigning our cities and communities to support people to live healthy and fulfilled lives? Answers on a postcard, please.



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Rachel Stancliffe is director of The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare and will be speaking at the RTPI Planning Convention on 24 June

It’s time to focus on prevention rather than cure

Permission granted

National politicians of all parties are talking talk about the need to build more homes. We are all familiar with the narrative that runs, “because of decades of under-supply we have now reached a stage where we need to build at least 200,000 homes a year to keep up with demand”. Since the crash we’ve been building half that, meaning that house prices and rents spiral up and the only solution is to build more homes. In lower value areas, too, there is a recognition that the housing that exists may be “low demand” because it’s the wrong type or in the wrong place, and so to attract the kinds of businesses and employees they want to generate economic development, they too must build more homes. But too often the rhetoric fails to become reality once an application is presented to a planning committee. Personally, councillors may want to see more homes, but when faced with a stack of objections from local home owners, they fear for their seats at the next election. This election-focused myopia has also been known to affect MPs as well. In theory the NPPF, coupled with neighbourhood planning, should square this circle and get people thinking more strategically about the homes, shops and offices they want in their neighbourhoods. Two years on, there is definitely some debate about whether neighbourhood plans



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Recently appointed professor of places and city planning at University College London, Peter Rees has drawn the curtain down on nearly 30 years of being at the heart of the capital’s transformation. He tells Huw Morris about life at the top


t was 6.30pm on a Friday evening in New York and the City of London Corporation’s chief planner Peter Rees was sitting on a panel of experts at a conference. The panel from around the world was asked about what makes a city special. The audience of bankers and developers were stunned by Rees’s answer. London, he said, is very special because it offers “the best free sex in the world”. He calls his relationship with the City a “love affair”. The romance started as an early teenager sitting on the top deck of the No 15 bus as it passed through the area. “I love the City, I live here and it was one of the first bits of London I came to,” he says. Before his recent move into academia, Rees is widely credited with not only being highly {





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influential but pivotal in the capital’s development since the 1980s. The corporation’s planning committee accepted nearly 100 per cent of his recommendations. Developers, meanwhile, “LONDON IS speak reverentially of a planner who THE BEST understood their needs but would have no PART OF THE qualms about standing up to them – or “going WORLD. PEOPLE away with their tails between their legs”, as COME FOR THE he puts it. NIGHTLIFE AND An ability to ride two horses at the same THEN THEY GET time was there right at the beginning of his THE JOB TO PAY time at the corporation. A conservation and FOR IT” regeneration officer at the Department of the Environment and then the London Borough of Lambeth – not many planners can claim their appointments sparked editorials in the press. Country Life magazine described his arrival as “an acknowledgement of the groundswell of popular enthusiasm for conservation”. Chartered Surveyor Weekly, meanwhile, said Rees would be “a new broom – a breath of fresh air – and developers will find the cobwebs on their dormant schemes rapidly blown away, but only if they show sufficient imagination”.

He says in many ways the Square Mile was unrecognisable from today. “At rush hour men in bowler hats would commute into London Bridge Station, then trudge to work across the river carrying rolled umbrellas,” he recalls. “They looked like the slaves in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. At the end of the day they would run back over the bridge and go to the suburbs as there was nothing to keep them there. Not a very cheery place and all a bit grim when it ought to be party central.” In those days, the City had one hotel – where, Rees notes, bankers rented rooms by the hour. The handful of pubs all closed at 8pm – Rees was instrumental in getting them to stay open. “That was a waste of resources. Where you have great facilities for offices, you then have potential for nightlife. “People come to the City so they can be near each other and gossip and say things nobody would do on the phone or put in an email,” he says.

Big Bang break

Tall buildings at a single bound

He joined the corporation in 1985 after ‘Big Bang’, the Thatcher government’s deregulation of financial services. Banks were arriving from all over the world and the corporation, with more than one eye on the rival offers from Canary Wharf, needed to find space for them – 10 million feet, according to anecdotes at the time. Planning policies were duly torn up and Rees set to work.

Since 1985, almost 78 per cent of the City’s office space has been replaced and rebuilt, with the Cheese Grater, the Walkie Talkie, the Gherkin and the Heron Tower, where Rees lives, now part of the area’s fabric. These are tall buildings, he points out, that are clustered to minimise their impact on the skyline and to meet the needs of the financial community. Aside from the tall buildings, Rees supervised the remodelling of the Square Mile’s streets and open spaces and the introduction of shopping, nightlife and hotels. The area also boasts around 6,000 new hotel rooms. He describes the past 29 years as “having played in the Premier League for



P ETE R R E E S Born: Swansea 1948 Timeline: 1971


1971 1973 1975 1979 1985 1990 1994 2014 Architectural assistant, historic buildings division, Greater London Council

Assistant to Gordon Cullen, townscape and planning consultant

Architect, historic areas conservation division, Department of the Environment

Assistant chief planning officer, London Borough of Lambeth

City planning officer, City of London Corporation

Founder member and director of the British Council for Offices

Member of the London Pride Partnership


Professor of places and city planning at University College London’s Bartlett School

Trustee of the Architecture Foundation


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one of the world’s most successful cities” but strongly insists that any achievements are not his alone. “I have not transformed the City over 30 years, but a huge array of people have, from architects, developers through to planners,” he says. “I was lucky to lead the planning contingent. I happened to be in the right place, at the right time with the right team.” What was once a strictly 9 to 5 workplace is a buzzing international business and social centre. “Now there is a choice of clubs, pubs and restaurants. That attracts the young, highly skilled and mobile people who would otherwise work in New York, Hong Kong or Dubai and go to where the most fun is to be had. “London is the number one destination for people around the planet, not just in this country. London is the best part of the world. People come for the nightlife and then they get the job to pay for it.” Today only around 8,000 people live in the City of London – something Rees more than anyone else is responsible for, turning developers away “all the time so there was no point in asking for permission to build apartments”.

Tsunami of towers For the City to remain a financial hub means office redevelopment and evening entertainment rather than neighbours who would complain about the noise. “I’ve tried to ensure that we will have a future as well as a past,” he says. “The City is the UK’s engine room and it’s crucial it’s not impeded.” Rees is derisory about how localism has panned out and government reforms to use class orders that are seeing office blocks turned into flats. “The government has this freaky idea that planning needs to help this type of development. Our national politicians come from the shires and no longer understand the importance of planning. It saddens me that these people from the provinces no longer value London. We have worse planning in parts of the country than in some African states. But it’s a nanny state when a government suggests local communities can decide their

future and then introduce rules to stop them doing what they want.” Rees is also particularly outspoken about developers behaving like “wild animals” and unleashing a “tsunami” of towers on London’s skyline. International residential investment is “simply pushing up prices and creating ghost towns”, he says, claiming that tumbleweed will soon be blowing around some parts of the capital. “I am 100 per cent in agreement with the Prince of Wales about a wave of second rate residential towers across London bought by foreign investors,” he says. “It’s the biggest crisis facing London, this tidal wave of loose money coming in. We have got to get to grips with it. It’s desperately worrying and very damaging. “We have badly formed housing targets that just look at units but don’t provide genuine homes. Local authorities are desperately strapped for cash and need the planning gain so these things are getting through. The residential development industry has a bad record of providing bad buildings. All they care about is the location and the value.” Despite his anger, Rees is well known for a wicked sense of humour and there are anecdotes aplenty to testify to it. “I like tall buildings because you have more time to make love in the lift,” he once said. “The City has been here for 2,000 years since a bunch of randy Roman soldiers set up camp there”, is another of his quips. More than one commentator has referred to Rees’s snappy dress sense. For example, observers still comment on the kneehigh burgundy leather boots he sported at an Evening Standard party. He recently drew a line under a 29-year tenure at the corporation to become professor of places and city planning at University College London’s (UCL) Bartlett School, his alma mater, where he studied architecture in the late 1960s. An internal restructuring at the corporation merged Rees’s planning and transportation department with highways and cleansing – effectively creating one department with two chief officers. The corporation suggested he move into academia and pointed to UCL. Here a familiar theme emerges. UCL acknowledges that one of the main reasons why students travel from around the globe to come to the college is to live in and experience London. It was an offer Rees could not resist. “It gives me the opportunity to carry on my love affair with London and my involvement in the capital’s evolution. I do a lot of lecturing and this also allows me to work with students from around the world. “I have always believed that a life sentence should be no more than 25 years. I am being transferred from one secure institution to another.” J U NE 2 0 1 4 / THE PLA NNER

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Letchworth map and as it is now


How closely will the government’s vision of the garden cities adhere to the tenets laid down by Ebenezer Howard?

hey are among the first examples of sustainable development. Only two – Letchworth and Welwyn Garden City – were built using their founder Ebenezer Howard’s ideals, but they did inspire a flurry of new towns later. Even though garden cities are more than 100 years old they still set the bar for development at an exemplar level. Now there is a cross-party consensus that more should be built to tackle the nation’s housing crisis. A protracted row among the coalition government’s partners about garden cities was finally knocked on the head earlier this year by Prime Minister David Cameron, his deputy Nick Clegg and Chancellor George Osborne. First, Osborne announced plans for the first garden city in a century comprising 15,000 homes at Ebbsfleet in Kent, spearheaded by an urban development corporation. Then Clegg released a prospectus on new towns that could lead to three garden cities across the country. “It’s an important moment for planning,” says Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) {

I M AG E | A L A M Y / V I N C E N T

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head of policy Hugh Ellis. “Garden cities are now at the heart of the rhetorical debate of meeting housing needs. But how do you make that a reality?”

Uneasy questions Such sentiments will exercise many hearts and minds across the planning and development sectors in the coming months and years. But uneasy questions remain. Do ministers and their advisers genuinely understand the concept of garden cities? Or, faced with increasingly desperate housing shortages, are they spinning themselves into a long-term disappointment? After all, planning minister Nick Boles has admitted that none of the 15,000 homes planned at Ebbsfleet needs to be affordable and government would not set targets for other developments. The TCPA contends that most homes in a garden city must be affordable with at least half of those for social rent. Although statistics from different organisations and researchers vary on the depth of the housing crisis, figures used by government officials highlight the challenge ahead. Between 2011-21, about 221,000 households are expected to form each year. In 2012-13, only 107,000 new homes were delivered. Although there has been some increase “GARDEN CITIES ARE lately in new build, it is still well below NOW AT THE HEART what the country needs, hence the governOF THE RHETORICAL ment’s conviction that new towns are the DEBATE OF MEETING scale of development preferred – or as one HOUSING NEEDS. source puts it, “a new pipeline is needed”. BUT HOW DO YOU So what is the government offering in its MAKE THAT prospectus? New developments will not be A REALITY?” imposed from above and must have local

Letchworth, Hertfordshire, born in 1903, home to 33,249 people and the UK's first roundabout

authority support. While it refers to the principles of garden cities as advanced by the TCPA (see box), the prospectus pointedly does “not wish to impose any definition” of what they are, but instead “intends to work with localities to support them in developing and delivering their own vision”. On the one hand, the government might be struggling to fully comprehend the demands of following garden city principles. Yet on the other it encourages localities to be “ambitious” with their proposals. “What will a supportable, successful scheme look like?” asks Gerry Hughes, senior director and national head of planning, development and regeneration at GVA. “Although reference is made to the principles set out by the TCPA, the prospectus cleverly sets no criteria for a successful scheme.”

Working locally The immediate suspicion – just like the much-derided eco-towns initiative – is that a spate of stalled schemes will suddenly have garden city number plates. After all, a development at Ebbsfleet has had planning permission since 2002. “Is it feasible to retrofit garden city principles into developments already planned and conceived?” asks Ellis. “This is challenging and we wait with curiosity to see how that will pan out over the next few months.” Hughes contends that the prospectus is definitive recognition that large-scale, planned settlements have a role to play in meeting the country’s future housing needs. “Whether it will succeed or not in enabling the delivery of one or more garden cities is another matter,” he says. “The last attempt to deliver large-scale new settlements, the eco-town initiative, failed. The only credible success story being the urban extension at Bicester, which is indeed locally led, but a long way short of what could be considered to be a garden city.” The government pledges to offer “brokerage” and support schemes by working across departments and agencies to support and co-ordinate key partners and help sites overcome barriers to delivery. The Homes and Communities Agency’s Advisory Team for Large Applications will help with planning performance agreements, local development orders, joint plans or community infrastructure levy schedules.

Levering in private finance It will also make “a limited amount of funding” available to support the design, planning and professional costs of developing a scheme. Garden city applicants should asset out how they plan to fund the development, specifically how they plan to lever in private finance and make best use of land and assets. “The prospectus says little in many aspects of I M A G E | J A S O N H AW K E S


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Key garden city principles

“Success will depend upon strong political and officer leadership” Gerry Hughes, senior director and national head at GVS

TCPA policy chief Hugh Ellis suspects that the government’s focus on garden cities is primarily focused on design and domestic architecture. However, he says, "the principles are much more than that. They are not a menu you choose from but a set of interlocking principles. You can build places that enhance the environment, not destroy it.” The principles are:

(1) A fair distribution to the community of the profits that result from new

delivering a new settlement,” says Hughes. “It development, founded on land value capture and the control of core utilities. goes as far as asking for ideas and makes few (2) Strong political support and leadership, with firm commitment to a clear commitments. It refers to existing funding vision and community participation. regimes that could be used. It refers to potential (3) A suitable body to manage community assets delivery mechanisms without any detail, over the long term. although it recognises the key role of the pri(4) Mixed-tenure homes and housing types, with the majority of homes vate sector. genuinely affordable. “More pertinently, it acknowledges the key (5) A full range of employment opportunities within easy commuting distance of role of the public sector and leaves the door homes. open for use of the development corporation (6) Beautifully and imaginatively designed, high-quality homes with gardens, model, as deployed in Ebbsfleet. The HCA has combining the best of town and country living to create healthy living been brought to the fore in the prospectus as environments. having an enabling role, but there will be a (7) Development that enhances the natural environment, providing net need to beef up the skills and experience to biodiversity gains and using zero-carbon and energy-positive technology to take on the challenges of delivering a new setensure climate resilience. tlement of 15,000 homes or more.” (8) Opportunities for residents to grow their own food, including generous But the barriers to new towns, never mind allotments. garden cities, are significant. No private sector (9) Strong cultural, recreational and shopping facilities in walkable, vibrant organisation has delivered a development of sociable neighbourhoods. more than 10,000 homes since the new towns (10) Integrated and accessible transport systems, with walking, cycling and public movement. They typically take 30 to 40 years transport designed to be the most attractive forms of local transport. to deliver – a long time for capital funding to wait for any returns. The schemes demand huge upfront funds. And the demands on local authority capacity are potentially overwhelming; these schemes are much more than building housing. “Even when you have done that you will need “Agreeing on, securing planning for, financing and delivering such largeoutline planning,” he says, before the developscale development from the local level up is daunting,” says Hughes. “The ment considers infrastructure, detailed challenge is immense, but at least it has been explicitly set by this prospecapplications and, finally, construction. tus. However, in the debate over recent months the disappointing thing has In the face of such daunting obstacles, are been the lack of credible applied thought to the actual mechanics of delivthere any chances of success? Hughes can envisery of such settlements. This now needs to be a major focus.” age a few scenarios. Indeed, TCPA vice-president David Lock believes future schemes will “The chances of success will be greatest where need to be processed through the planning system. The lessons from the there is an existing settlement with relatively good connections to London, available brown past of fast-tracking proposals include “alarmed communities, irritated and green field land, a supportive planning planning authorities and zombie projects that were resurrected”, he says. policy context, underlying strong market He also suspects that local authorities will be tempted to “rebrand something demand and the need for investment,” he says. already in their recently adopted plan or “A lot therefore, but I can think of several locations emerging core strategy – if you can’t do that would fit this bill. A complementary strategic “THE IMMEDIATE planning approach would also identify them and that, you will have to go through the next SUSPICION IS THAT local planning cycle, which could take at ensure credibility and a greater chance of success. A SPATE OF STALLED least four years”. “Regardless, success will depend upon strong SCHEMES WILL Proposals are likely to involve the duty political and officer leadership, excellent planning SUDDENLY HAVE to co-operate or a joint planning unit, capability and an ability to lead and guide GARDEN CITY he says. the market.” NUMBER PLATES”

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CITY­REGIONS New investment models are needed to protect New York’s transport systems, say RPA members

PLANNING THE NEW YORK REGION, LEADING THE WORLD The New York city-region has one of the world’s most dynamic economies


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Green space enhances quality of life in cities and suburbs, says the RPA



etropolitan strategic planning is rapidly re-emerging as the key tool for guiding the future shape of growing city-regions. Its re-establishment as a globally relevant discipline was confirmed at a landmark workshop hosted by New York’s Regional Plan Association (RPA) last month. The input and collaboration among senior regional planners and business leadership groups from other world cities also underlined a remarkable enthusiasm among practitioners from diverse institutional settings to share insight on how metropolitan strategic planning can respond to urgent internal and external pressures. “Every global city-region needs to address the same fundamental set of issues,” began Bob Yaro, president of RPA and the workshop’s co-chair. “Their institutions may be different, their scale may be different, their development stage may be different, but what they are all dealing with are universal questions.” The New York workshop, which launched the International Advisory Committee on RPA’s Fourth Regional Plan ( fourth-plan), underlined that most world cityregions are not only managing a rapid rise in population, but also face new and more intensive competition to attract and retain investment and enterprise. Despite their growth, many city-regions represented on the committee, including host New York, report suffering leadership and co-ordination failures that have resulted in under-investment or under-planning. Their infrastructure and institutional systems appear under-prepared to accommodate population growth and to mitigate environmental and technological risks. Some – such as Seoul and Sydney – are also seeing public resistance to the J U NE 2 0 14 / THE PLA NNER

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existing model of growth, and concern about the risks of ‘lock-in’ to a development path that is no longer effective or attractive. The Regional Plan Association (RPA) is the oldest urban research organisation in the United States, and prepares long-range plans and policies to guide the development of the 31-county New York-New Jersey-Connecticut metropolitan region. Its three previous plans (in 1929, 1968 and 1996) have provided a blueprint and inspiration for the region’s transport, open space, infrastructure and economic development. The RPA’s broad-based funding model allows its research and advocacy to be non-partisan, participatory and evidence-led. Its stability and influence derives from a diverse network of support from the region’s business, philanthropic, civic and planning communities. In preparation for its Fourth Regional Plan, RPA has begun an expanded phase of civic engagement and knowledge-sharing from global peers. Metropolitan strategic planning therefore aims to establish a new framework for regional competitiveness and sustainability. It tries to address the region as a functional system, rather than its many individual jurisdictions, political mandates, spending cycles and siloed service delivery “CITIIESS AREE THEE responsibilities. ORPHAN NS OF PU UBLIC C “If embraced POLIC CY.. TH HEIR R by the city as a BIGGEESTT LONG­ whole, it is an TERM TH HREEAT IS instrument to THAT TH HEIR PO OLICY sustain develTOOLK KITT IS NOT opment cycles FITTEED TO SUP PPOR RT beyond governTHE SOU URC CES OFF ment cycles,” WEALTTH CREATIO ON” said Dr Miguel Bucalem at the Center for Cities in São Paulo. Its proponents recognise its potential to activate public, private and civic sectors to work together across boundaries, challenge prevailing narratives, and overcome short-termism.

The global models of Metropolitan Strategic Planning In established capital city-regions such as Seoul Capital Area and Paris-Île de France, public sector-led masterplanning is adapting to the challenge of slow growth, economic diversification, and rising income disparities. National governments are pivotal to a new metropolitan vision oriented around public transport and polycentric clusters. In Seoul it has relocated government functions out of the inner city to make room for growth, while in Paris it is funding the Grand Paris metro project that has catalysed governance reform in the shape of Métropole du 28

RPA World Cities International Advisory Committee Co-chairmen Greg Clark, global city adviser, London Bob Yaro, president, Regional Plan Association, RTPI Honourable Lifetime Member Members Dr Eugen Antalovsky, Europa Forum Vienna Dr Roger Blakeley, Auckland Council Dr Miguel Bucalem, Center for Cities, São Paulo Solly Fourie, Western Cape Government Mateu Hernández, Barcelona Global Dr Yeong-Hee Jang, Seoul Institute Paul Lecroart, IAURIF Paris Region Khululekile Mase, Gauteng Provincial Government Olga Papadina, Moscow Urban Forum Claudia Ramirez, Pro-Bogotá Dr Tim Williams, Committee for Sydney Tim Moonen, London, Rapporteur

Grand Paris. But for committee members Dr Yeong-Hee Jang and Paul Lecroart, the two capital regions are yet to fully resolve how to combine top-down direction with bottom-up processes and non-governmental input. A second group of city-regions have made rapid recent progress with metropolitan planning as an outcome of strengthened government structures. A re-constituted Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona, a consolidated (metropolitan) Auckland Council, and South Africa’s Gauteng and Western Cape provinces – all have an enlarged remit for integrated planning and economic development. With the latter trio, their regional governments view themselves as sponsors of horizontal problem-solving rather than enforcers of solutions. They seek plans that endure through successive leaderships, a concern raised in Barcelona where multiple short-lived planning documents have begun to undermine business confidence. A third set of highly successful financial and business centres currently lack an agreed blueprint for future growth. New York and Sydney are hindered by a mismatch between housing and jobs, and weak planning for access to future economic opportunity. Governance is fragmented and their federal systems of investment do not commit actively to city growth and management. Civic and business leaders have begun to build a network of partners prepared to endorse ambitious directions around urban and metropolitan housing, mobility, and inclusion. A fourth situation is visible in cities such as São Paulo and Bogotá, which lack a robust metropolitan-level planning process, but whose central cities are devising a long-term vision for the first time. Against a backdrop of unplanned population growth in the past 30 years, new investment in mobility to reduce congestion is viewed as the stimulus for the transition into a more productive and inclusive service-based economy. Civic engagement is decisive in building co-operation for innovative housing and environmental solutions. “The media is a powerful platform; it is much easier to engage younger people in planning through social media than ever before,” said Bogotá’s Claudia Ramirez.

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A common agenda: Transport, housing, jobs, and resilience

Solly Fourie called “the culture of disaggregation”:

During the three-day workshop, the committee collectively evaluated four dimensions of metropolitan planning – transport, housing, economic development, and resilience. Members agreed that new investment models were needed to sustain capital spending on transport and compact urbanism protected from external political and budget constraints. On the opportunity of the ‘smart city’, planners expect next generation technologies to use existing regional assets more efficiently. “The real question is, how can we use tech for city management given the complexity of city systems? asked Mateu Hernández, CEO of Barcelona Global. The potential for real-time data collection to build collaboration and shared accountability among different system owners and users is already visible from recent experience in Auckland and Seoul.


Managing and absorbing growth Housing construction and finance is a critical concern in nearly all high-demand global regions, as intergenerational conflict emerges over the locations of new development. New institutional and incentive structures to increase housing supply were emphasised – from Auckland’s one-stop shop Housing Project Office to Paris’s Territorial Development Contracts. Many city-regions now endorse hybrid models incentivising multiple forms of investment, construction, and tenure. Housing is also one sector affected by regions’ lack of spatial flexibility for polycentric development that could also support economic diversification. “Cities are the orphans of public policy,” said Sydney’s Dr Tim Williams. “Their biggest long-term threat is that their policy toolkit is not fitted to support the sources of wealth creation.” In response, metropolitan planners look to define the spatial requirements of their future economic character, and in emerging regions such as Cape Town and Bogotá, business-led organisations have become engaged to help prepare younger generations for the future labour market.

How regions proceed from planning to implementation Faced with the task of achieving political support for long-term actions, regional planning advocates adopt many tactics to gain momentum behind their vision. “The aim”, Auckland council’s Dr Roger Blakeley explained, “is to hit the sweet spot where everything lines up in favour of government collaboration.” Six dimensions of effective implementation were identified to tackle what Western Cape’s

(2) (3) (4) (5) (6)

Combined regional advocacy with higher tiers of government for finance and autonomy; The will for investment and co-operation from highly localised political interests; The design of a broad-based ‘delivery architecture’ to sustain commitment to a pipeline of initiatives; Diplomatic and evidence-led business and civic leadership; The consent, communication and galvanising of citizens to devise and implement plans; and Avoiding ‘plan fatigue’ through momentum-building ‘quick-win’ projects.

Guiding New York’s Fourth Regional Plan The challenges currently facing the New York region were articulated in the RPA’s 2014 report, Fragile Success ( These include fragmented regional decision-making across three state governments, economic de-coupling of the City from the wider region, stagnant real incomes for the bottom 75 per cent of wage earners, development impact of technology sector growth, need for renewal at the Port Authority, supply of housing and vulnerability of regional systems to climate changeThe committee reminded the RPA that many of New York’s challenges are products of its distinctive success with city building, population attraction and business expansion. Progress made on reducing crime, improving schools and public space offers inspiration to city-regions worldwide. But the sum of New York’s modernisation and capacity challenges risks a future of extremely unequal access to opportunity, and congestion that harms productivity and quality of life. Beyond the city’s five boroughs, the region is unable to steer development to where it can or should absorb it. The current asset-owning generation is, in effect, denying new asset and opportunity seekers from access to homes, jobs and services. New York has a regional governance ‘fog’ that is more confused than many of its international competitors. This, combined with a broken relationship with its federal government, means a lack of will to deliver the infrastructure projects and systems that will make the region future-proof. “More than anything”, said Vienna’s Eugen Antalovksy, “New York needs a metropolitan economic agenda.” That viewpoint is gaining new traction in the metropolitan region. At RPA’s annual conference in April, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio emphasised how vital it is to approach problems at the regional scale. “In a world where the challenges are greater than ever, and where the national dynamics are so strained, there’s a greater naturalness, there’s a greater organic regional imperative than ever before,” said Mr de Blasio. The International Advisory Committee therefore proposed that the Fourth Regional Plan be even bolder than its predecessors. Chief among 10 recommendations is that the RPA mobilises the full range of resources for cross-border coalitions to ensure plan implementation. The committee also advocated multi-channel engagement with citizens to make them active plan monitors and ‘co-owners’, based on clear economic, inclusiveness and liveability targets. New York’s next regional plan should build the case for increased investment in transport and infrastructure systems. A rise in transit fares was urged, combined with ‘beneficiary pays’ funding techniques for a major programme of expansion, upgrades and technological improvements delivered by a reformed Greg Clark is co-chairman of the RPA's World Cities Port Authority and MTA. The suggestions are International Advisory being considered by RPA as input to their work Committee and Tim Moonen is a member. ahead of the plan’s 2016 launch. J U NE 2 0 1 4 / THE PLA NNER

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f William Blake were to walk along the Thames today, would he recognise the city he evoked in verse in 1793? It would be vastly different to the eye – but the radical painter-poet was less concerned with the visible surface of the capital than with its invisible divisions. In his London, the streets are “charter’d”, as is the Thames itself. Chartered, meaning chopped, charted and mapped. Or a city established by charter. Or bodies corporate (such as City livery companies), their rights enshrined by charter. Chartered – meaning ownership, entitlement. Privilege. Blake had in mind their opposites, too – dispossession, disenfranchisement, detriment. His London was a divided city where the faces of the people were marked with “weakness” and “woe”. It was a city in gestation; to a considerable extent, the aristocratic landowners of Georgian London established the street plan and the basic visual character of the metropolis we know today. They built smart enclaves such as

Matthew Carmona’s ‘Charter for Public Space Rights and Responsibilities’ All public space users have the right to: c Roam freely; c Rest and relax unmolested; c Associate with others; c Use public space without the imposition of petty local controls on drinking, smoking, safe cycling, skating, and dog walking; c Collect for registered charities; c Take photographs; c Trade (if granted a public licence); c Demonstrate peacefully and campaign politically; and c Busk or otherwise perform.

Public space users have a responsibility to: c Respect the rights of others to conduct their business unhindered and unmolested;



c Respect public and private property; c Act in a civil and safe manner at all times; c Keep the peace.

Owners and managers of public space have a responsibility to: c Respect and protect the rights of all users; c Keep spaces safe within the context of the actions of any reasonable person; c Keep spaces clean and well maintained; and c Keep spaces open and unrestricted at all times (or otherwise in line with regulatory stipulations).



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where. Skateboarding, cycling and Rollerblading are all prohibited, as are photography, leafleting, busking, begging, sleeping rough and conducting any form of protest.

Private management

Mayfair and Covent Garden and shielded them from the hoi polloi with gates and security and even tolls. Protest at such exclusion provoked Parliamentary inquiry; this in turn gave rise to the principle of public ownership of commonly accessible streets. “The way most people understand streets and public spaces is that they are public and open to all and everyone can do what they want in them, so long as they follow the laws of the land,” says writer and journalist Anna Minton. “But in the last 10 to 15 years, increasingly large parts of the city are being taken over by private owners and centralised estates with very different rules and regulations that govern them – laws, really.” Minton’s book, Ground Control,

describes the creeping “privatisation” of public spaces and the increasing presentation of private spaces as if they were public – commonly in the form of “open mall” retail developments. In the six years to 2013, a reputed 67 football pitches’ worth of publicly owned land was passed into the private sector in London alone. But the creation of “private public realm” is also prevalent in Liverpool (Liverpool One), Birmingham (Brindley Place), Bristol (Cabot Circus) and elsewhere. There are pros and cons. Such spaces may be better maintained and policed than fully public realm, allowing owners to market them to tenants and potential customers as cleaner and safer. But Minton finds them typically “sterile”, “homogenous” and swept clean of any social problem. They are often zealously controlled: More London beside the Thames is notorious for its intolerance of what is normal in public space else-



“When the financial crash happened, the economic model for this type of development fell apart because it’s based on property companies being able to borrow very large sums of money and then pay back on the rents from the development,” Minton explains. “I thought that meant we might have a space where we could stop and look around and see if we could do things differently.” But, in an economy gathering confidence, private public realm is on the up. In Elephant and Castle, now undergoing significant remodelling, residents’ group the Elephant Amenity Network has expressed concern to the London Borough of Southwark that the currently public roads and paths in the development, and the proposed “public park”, will in fact be policed and managed privately, in the way More London is. This means management policies will be able to be invented by the developer on a whim with no democratic control. Officers say in their report they don’t see any difference between this and council management. If this is so, why not stick with council management, as the community has requested? In Glasgow, the substantial Buchanan Quarter redevelopment incorporates George Square, which has been transferred into the ownership of an “arm’s length” pseudo-public body, City Property (Glasgow) LLP (see box). Many in the community are unhappy with the apparent encroachment of commercial interests on to a valued public space. The public portion of the overarching development is being funded through a pilot use of the TIF (tax increment financing) mechanism, which releases funds for public improvements against anticipated future income from business rates.

Towards a new public charter What is to be done? Matthew Carmona, professor of planning and urban design at the Bartlett School of Planning at University College London, has also addressed the privatisation of public spaces in Capital Spaces: The Multiple Complex Public Spaces Of A Global City. More sanguine than Minton, he argues

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G EO R G E S Q U A R E A price worth paying? Glasgow’s George Square development In an email exchange with The Planner, a spokesman for the Restore George Square campaign said: “We believe the council are determined to pursue an events agenda for George Square because of a number of factors – the main one being linking the development of the space to the Buchanan Galleries major extension – a development effectively being subsidised by public cash. This is a massive gamble with citizens’ cash – and gives the developer [Land Securities and Henderson Global Investors] increasing influence in the city centre. We know that retailers, when asked, want more events in George Square, for the short-term footfall they provide. From Glasgow City Council’s point-of-view they might say the sacrifice of George Square as a genuinely public space is a price worth paying for continued investment in the city centre.” A Glasgow City Council spokesperson told The Planner that the Buchanan Quarter development comprised a “mixture of ownerships and leasehold interests”, with a “significant part of the underlying title” belonging to GCC. “It is not envisaged that there be will be any public private areas” and “GCC’s interest in George Square will not be alienated in any way”, the spokesperson said. However, he concluded: “It is not known whether there is to be private management of any part of the development which is publicly owned.”

ning with economic growth. “I think planners are in a really difficult position because they don’t really seem to have the influence they once had,” says Minton. “Most jobbing planners working on schemes like this wouldn’t be able to do much about it.”

Social capital that the pattern of land and property ownership in our cities is so layered and nuanced that we ought not to exercise ourselves about the actual ownership of our public spaces. “There are so many spaces around our cities that you think are public, but are not. They’re owned by developers, the church, charitable trusts, and so on. It’s not so straightforward,” he says. “My argument is that it doesn’t matter who it belongs to. Fundamentally, what matters is rights that we have as the public to use it.” These rights, he suggests, need to be “locked down” at the planning approval stage. The best way to do that, he argues, is with a charter. “It’s about striking a balance and it’s about striking that balance everywhere,” says Carmona. “Whether it’s public, private or pseudo-public, we would have a set of rights and responsibilities that we all agree with.” He concedes that this is unlikely to make it to legislation. “It comes down to

our local planning authorities because it’s at that stage where our rights and responsibilities are established. It comes down to local policies and development management. Councils have not been good at negotiating how space is used.”

Negotiating democratic rights Any charter should be rejected on principle, counters Minton, regardless how broad the rights it enshrines. “It’s basically negotiating about democratic rights. That’s just giving up on the question,” she stresses. Besides, it is an issue that has already been resolved. “I don’t really see what’s wrong with the way we’ve been doing this for the last 150 years,” she adds. “It’s not as if the private sector has turned round and said ‘If we’re not allowed to control the streets and public spaces, we’re not going to invest in cities’.” The creation of private public realm, she argues, is a “policy model” driven, at least in part, by compulsion to align plan-

Is the commercial imperative now so pronounced that it is undermining the democracy of our cities and the integrity of our planning system? However we choose to answer this question, says RTPI chief executive Trudi Elliott, British cities are built upon the liveliness of their streets. “We do have a lot of activity and vitality in our public spaces and on our streets,” she notes. “That adds to the social capital and environmental quality of a place, and it adds economic value. It would be very unfortunate if we got into a big fight over who owns it rather than how it functions, looks and feels. “How do we persuade everybody, including operators and landowners, of the benefit of activity?” she continues. “If you get open space well maintained with vibrancy and life you are halfway there. But we need that debate first [before considering introducing a charter]. We need to have a conversation about well-maintained and vibrant space.” J U NE 2 0 14 / THE PLA NNER

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DiF { D


Decisions in Focus is where we put the spotlight on some of the more interesting, offbeat and significant planning appeals of the last month – alongside your comments. If you’d like to contribute your insights and analyses to future issues of The Planner, email DiF at Kensington & Chelsea has long been seeking a better balance between basement developments and the amenity of other residents


Inspector rejects appeal over amended traffic management plan (1 S U M M A R Y Inspector Beverley Doward dismissed an appeal against the London Borough of Kensington & Chelsea’s refusal to approve an amended Construction traffic management plan. The main issue was the effect on highway safety and the nearby residents’ car parking. (2 C A S E D E T A I L S Permission was granted for a basement development at 44 Markham Square, London, in 2010, subject to submission and approval of a construction traffic management plan (CTMP). The council approved it in 2012 but the appellant was served with a breach of condition notice for contravening the CTMP in 2013. The appeal proposal sought to vary the CTMP to allow deliveries from vehicles that are up to 10 per cent larger than specified in the agreed CTMP. The inspector’s site visit revealed that the width of the carriageway around Markham Square is relatively narrow overall.


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The routine use of vehicles up to 10 per cent larger than the size of those detailed in the approved CTMP would, taking account of wing mirrors, exceed the minimum width of carriageway available between parked vehicles – likely to result in blockages around the square and damage to parked vehicles. (3 C O N C L U S I O N R E A C H E D The details proposed in the CTMP would cause material harm to highway safety and to the living conditions

of nearby residents for car parking. It would be contrary to the underlying aim of the council’s core strategy with a focus on North Kensington Development Plan Document 2010, which seeks to achieve high standards of amenity. It would also conflict with the Subterranean Development Supplementary Planning Document, which seeks to ensure that the impact of works is properly managed without a serious impact on parking availability, traffic flow, road safety, residential amenity and pedestrian convenience.

Appeal reference: APP/ K5600/A/13/2210345

(4 A N A LY S I S [1] ADAM PYRKE So often planning can turn on issues of detail, which in this case concerned an increase in allowable delivery vehicle width by 20cm and the suspension of two additional residents parking bays for up to 10 days over a 16-month build. Neither change appears particularly significant, but


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A solar farm on an 11-hectare site in Pembrokeshire, Wales, has been given the go-ahead

the CTMP had only been agreed after nine months of talks and was clearly going to be a sensitive issue. Markham Square has a narrow one-way road system and even this small increase would result in vehicles exceeding the minimum width of the highway, leading to blockages and damage to parked cars. The area also has little alternative parking. So these small changes in the detail of the CTMP had potentially big impacts. In microcosm, this decision reflects the need of the planning system to strike a balance between the promotion of sustainable development and protection of relevant established interests. In such tight working conditions, observing considerate working practices is as essential to the acceptability of the scheme as the effect of the basement extension on the character and appearance of the conservation area. ADAM PYRKE is a director at Colliers International.


Welsh solar farm wins at appeal (1 S U M M A R Y An inspector has allowed an appeal and granted planning permission for a solar farm on an 11-hectare site in Pembrokeshire, Wales. (2 C A S E D E T A I L S Elgin Energy EsCo appealed against Pembrokeshire County Council’s refusal of a five megawatt scheme that would include 19,000 ground-mounted solar panels together with substations, CCTV cameras, fencing and

cabling at Wogaston Farm near Rhoscrowther. The appeal site, in open countryside about 200m outside the Pembrokeshire Coastal National Park, has two distinct northern and southern sections connected by a narrow strip of land. Inspector Kay Sheffield noted the Welsh Government’s objective under Planning Policy Wales 6 is to promote the generation and use of energy from renewable and low-carbon sources at all scales as well as securing an mix of energy provision. Technical Advice Note 8: Planning for Renewable Energy (TAN 8) said in respect of solar, “other than in circumstances where visual impact is critically damaging to a listed building, ancient monument or conservation area vista, proposals for appropriately designed solar thermal and photovoltaic systems should be supported”. The council had contended that TAN 8 envisaged small-scale arrays of a few to several hundred square metres rather than the size of the scheme proposed. The inspector ruled that a supplement to TAN 8 practice guidance clearly I M AG E | A L A M Y

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distinguished between systems that form part of building and commercialscale solar schemes of free-standing arrays. The lack of any specific reference to large-scale solar schemes in TAN 8 did not suggest the principle of such development was unacceptable. (3 C O N C L U S I O N R E A C H E D The inspector noted that the proposal would contribute towards the production of energy from renewable sources. It would “not cause undue harm to the character of the site and its surroundings or the visual amenity of the area”. The scheme was also deemed an acceptable form of farm diversification.

Appeal reference APP/ N6845/A/13/2203220

(4 A N A LY S I S [1] DEBBIE MARRIAGE This appeal decision, and APP/ N6845/A/13/2204295 (Tregoed Farm, Pembrokeshire), which was allowed on appeal in the same week, both highlight what decision-makers face when judging whether visual harm

of developments outweighs benefits. Welsh national policies support renewable energy whilst the local development plan requires plants to be only where compatible with capacity and character of the area. The planning authority concluded that the 11-ha solar farm would not be compatible with its rural surroundings and refused the application. The inspector assessed all viewpoints and concluded otherwise. Both parties, the council officers and the inspector, carried out thorough analysis on the ground of the potential visual and landscape impacts, and had access to the same assessment evidence. So why the difference of opinion? It’s not as if Pembrokeshire Council has not done a considerable amount to meet the aims of Planning Policy Wales and promote renewable energy. It’s a progressive council in this regard, and has approved 10 solar farms and numerous wind turbines in recent years. Nevertheless, there may come a point where even enlightened members think that they’ve “done their bit” to tackle climate change.

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DiF { D The planning system tends to gravitate to the language of “harm” more easily than placing value on benefit. Landscape impact traditionally is a get-out clause for politicians. Assessing the weight to be given to visual impact is tricky, and applicants must realise that arguments can go either way if objectively assessed. However, without an open discussion, key decision-makers will disagree on whether solar farms can be “appropriately sited”. In both decisions, weight was given to electricity generation from a truly renewable resource. In Tregoed, it was clear that formal agreement with a power company that would enable both the appeal site and a nearby solar farm to be grid connected was a substantial benefit. Interestingly, in this appeal the inspector considered that the definition of “environmentally acceptable solutions” should include prevention of greenhouse gas emissions. The decision reflects the growing division of opinion in England and Wales on the role of renewable energy in meeting the nations’ needs. Europe’s message is that the UK’s target of 15 per cent by 2020 is too low; in January, the EC unveiled a new package of climate and energy policies designed to slash greenhouse gas emissions 40 per cent by 2030. If the lights were going out now, would we be making different decisions on matters such as the degree of visual impact that is acceptable? DEBBIE MARRIAGE senior consultant, Parker Dann Chartered Town Planning Consultants


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The proposed housing site at Handcross, West Sussex, is in an area of outstanding natural beauty

Pickles backs housing schemes in Mid Sussex (1 S U M M A R Y Communities secretary Eric Pickles has backed a planning inspector’s recommendation to allow appeals by two developers to build homes in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). (2 C A S E D E T A I L S Hallam Land Management and the Hyde Estate challenged Mid Sussex District Council’s decision to turn down two outline applications – the first for up to 90 homes, a 60-bed care home, community hall and relocation of a bowling green. The second appeal concerned up to 75 homes, a 60-bed care home, public open space and new pedestrian and cycle links. The council refused the applications on the grounds that the site at Handcross, West Sussex, is in an area that should be protected from development and that the schemes would not conserve and enhance the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Inspector John Chase recommended that both appeals be allowed. (3 C O N C L U S I O N R E A C H E D Pickles ruled that there was no substantial environmental reason to refuse the schemes. Although the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) restricts development within AONBs, the impact in this case would be “sufficiently limited to enable exceptional circumstances to apply”. Mid Sussex could not show a five-year supply of deliverable housing land required under the NPPF and Pickles said the local plan’s policies on housing

are out of date. He also noted the impact of the proposals on the emerging Slaugham Neighbourhood Plan, which fell foul of European environmental requirements earlier this year. Pickles said that the proposed housing would not unduly harm the character of the village. system/uploads/attachment_data/ file/307905/Recovered_appeals_-_ Handcross__Mid_Sussex__ refs_2198213_and_2198214__1_ May_2014_.pdf

(4 A N A LY S I S [1] VICTORIA REDMAN This decision confirms again the importance of paragraphs 14, 47 and 49 of the NPPF. Where it is not possible to show a five-year supply of deliverable housing land, relevant policies concerning the supply of housing will be considered out of date and housing applications should be determined in line with the presumption in favour of sustainable development. This requires permission to be granted unless any adverse impacts of doing so would demonstrably outweigh the benefits, or the proposals would be contrary to specific policies

in the NPPF restricting development. The inspector also felt there was strength to the argument that policies in a neighbourhood plan restricting supply of housing land ought to be considered “out of date”, where there was a shortfall in the fiveyear housing supply. This may offer comfort to house builders concerned that the neighbourhood planning process is not sufficiently rigorous, especially given the recent judgment and unsuccessful challenge of the Tattenhall Neighbourhood Plan, which proposed to limit housing developments in the village to 30 homes. The decision is also a useful one for development in AONBs. It defined the plans as “major” development in the AONB, noting that projects don’t need to be of national or regional significance, or have major effects on an AONB to be classed as “major” developments under paragraph 116 of the NPPF. This follows the suggestion in the recent Aston case that “major” should take on its natural meaning. VICTORIA REDMAN, Partner, planning and infrastructure, Bond Dickinson

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+ We’d like to incorporate your comment, insight and analysis into Decisions in Focus each month. Whether you can offer a brief obversation on a matter of interest within an inspector’s judgement or an informed interpretation of a decision, please let us know by emailing DiF at

ROUND­UP Here are 8 more decisions that we think are worth a look this month. All the details and inspector’s letters can be found on the Planning Portal website: SECRETARY OF STATE DECISIONS


did not agree with the council’s objections, it was reasonable to take a sceptical view of the submission. Appeal reference: APP/ C5690/A/13/2207484

(1) Application: Change of use from retail premises on ground and basement levels to a one-bedroom flat on two levels at a property in the London Borough of Southwark. Decision: Appeal allowed. Main issues: The council did not raise objection in principle to the change of use. Inspector Martyn Single ruled on whether the flat would provide an adequate level of amenity for future occupiers through available floor space and outlook from the basement. He then considered whether alterations to the front elevation would appear incongruous in the street scene. He decided the change of use would provide a new home in a building for which there would be no clear alternative commercial use. Appeal reference: APP/ A5840/A/14/2211509


(2) Application: Costs applications made against the refusal of planning permission for the use of a site as a 24-hour gym in the London Borough of Lewisham. Decision: Unreasonable behaviour resulting in unnecessary or wasted expense had not been demonstrated. Main issues: The application was refused contrary to officers’ recommendation due to concerns about noise from the comings and goings of gym patrons at unsocial hours in a dense residential area. Although the inspector


(3) Application: Costs application against the refusal of planning permission for a single 55 megawatt, three-blade wind turbine at Velansaga Barton Farm, Penzance, Cornwall. Decision: Application for an award of costs allowed. Main issues: The council did not behave unreasonably in withholding permission on the basis of harm to the setting of an important designated heritage asset. An updated assessment in support of the appeal concluded that noise levels would be within acceptable limits. Even in the initial noise assessment, the proposal would fall within acceptable limits. The council therefore behaved unreasonably by withholding permission on noise grounds and caused the appellant to incur unnecessary expense by responding to a second reason for refusal. Appeal reference: APP/ D0840/A/12/2189550

of the green belt; effect upon the character and appearance of the host site and surrounding area; if inappropriate development, whether any harm would be outweighed by very special circumstances to justify the scheme. The inspector ruled the site would be inappropriate in the green belt and harmful to its openness. However, the scheme is not harmful to the host site and is a modest, high-quality development. Appeal reference: APP/ G2245/A/13/2207328


(5) Application: Appeal against planning conditions in a permission granted by North Dorset District Council for a change of use from an office to a dwelling at the Old Mill, Okeford Fitzpaine. Decision: Appeal allowed. Main issues: The condition restricted the development to holiday accommodation and the inspector considered whether this was reasonable or necessary to secure a sustainable pattern of development, to ensure acceptable living conditions for future residents and to safeguard the rural economy. Appeal reference: APP/ N1215/A/13/2207990


(4) Application: Demolition of an existing house and garage and the building of a twostorey house with detached garage and store in Hartley, Kent. Decision: Appeal allowed. Main issues: Whether the proposal would be inappropriate development in the green belt; its effect on the openness


(6) Application: The building of four homes at Lower Timber Hill Lane, Burnley. Decision: Appeal allowed. Main issues: Whether the proposal would provide a suitable site for housing under local planning policy, which seeks to prioritise the reuse of previously

developed brownfield land. The site includes stables but the appellant and Burnley Borough Council disagreed whether a riding arena and grassed areas lie within the urban boundary. Appeal reference: APP/ Z2315/A/14/2212311


(7) Application: Change of use from A1 retail to a one-bedroom studio flat in Caterham High Street, Surrey. Decision: Appeal dismissed. Main issues: The effect on the vitality, viability and character of the area, parking provision and whether the proposal satisfactorily provided for renewable energy. The inspector found harm on the first ground, thereby dismissing the appeal Appeal reference: APP/ M3645/A/13/2207483


(8) Application: Installation of automatic gates on a private road in Bisley, Woking. Decision: Appeal dismissed. Main issues: Effect of the proposal on the character and appearance of the area together with social cohesion and inclusion. The proposal would result in a cul-de-sac becoming less integrated with the surrounding housing estate, fail to display an inclusive design and would nor reflect the open and integrated character of the wider area. It would not accord with Surrey Heath Borough Council’s development management policies or the National Planning Policy Framework. Appeal reference: APP/ D3640/A/14/2212215

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LLegal landscape ABOLISH PINS? THEN WE’LL NEVER MEET OUR HOUSING NEED When I first read that an MP was promoting a Bill to abolish the Planning Inspectorate (PINS), I thought this was simply a late April Fools’ joke. Has PINS grown into a monster answering to no one and worshipping at the altar of bureaucratic efficiency? Even if it has, does that mean we should slay the monster? Let all the lunatics out of the asylum? Will appellants be permitted to develop willy-nilly? Surely Christmas hasn’t come early, I thought. Upon closer inspection, the argument for abolition unravelled quickly. The proposal was by an MP, a member of our political élite who inhabits a house where no one in particular seems blessed with an understanding of how the planning system really works. To Parliament, all local planning authorities are gatekeepers refusing to unlock the gates of muchneeded development while developers are the devil’s spawn concreting the British Isles. Who else but Parliament could trumpet the muchheralded Localism Act 2011 that was subsequently pronounced as more fanfare than substance? See Tewkesbury BC v. SSCLG, Comparo Ltd & Welbeck Strategic Land LLP [2013] EWHC 286 (Admin) where


Kevin Leigh Males J. (under)stated that: “I do not suppose that it would be the first time that more has been claimed for a legislative reform than has actually been delivered.” (para. 61) The Act abolished “Regional Strategies” that, like Lord Voldemort, are never to be mentioned again, replacing them with local planning. Except at the local


level people and councils do not get to choose how much and where housing should be allowed. Instead, this is driven by objectively assessed housing need that – quelle surprise! – takes everyone somewhere back to (and even beyond) housing numbers in the Regional Strategies. The justification for the Bill is easily understood. Developers are building houses in response to the identified need. Their location rarely coincides with the aspiration of councils and locals – namely, to build them elsewhere and especially outside their district. The NPPF neatly trumps such objection. For authorities still playing development plan catch-up with the last government’s planning changes, local plans are simply too far from the finish line to override the

NPPF. Only green belt (as opposed to green field) land seems sacrosanct. Accordingly, by abolishing the right to test the merits of decisions taken locally, planning can be brought under the control of the people. Planning for the people by the people, as the Localism Act intended. Greg Mulholland MP, promoting the Bill, explained he is not against development but wants it in the right place. In other words, anywhere but here. Indeed, anywhere but places that local people and politicians consider unacceptable. So that’s all right, then. We can sleep soundly now. Abolishing the appeal process removes the ability to test decisions beyond the local level. Frankly, it’s the stuff of nightmares. It is absurd to imagine a landscape controlled solely by people and politicians influenced entirely by their own idea of what is needed and where it should go. As Chris Shepley (former chief planning inspector and chief executive of PINS) once said: “Planning isn’t rocket science. It is much more complicated than that!” If we abolish PINS, herding cats would be easier than meeting housing need. It’s a silly idea. Of course, we can judicially review planning authorities instead. This will replace the appeal process. And so it begins all over again... Plus ça change plus c’est la même chose!

– KEVIN LEIGH Kevin Leigh is a barrister with No.5 Chambers specialising in planning and the environment

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B LO G S This month… Is there really far too much land designated as green belt and is a fundamental review required?

L E G I S L AT I O N S H O R T S Common sense about the green belt Martin Goodall There seems to be a gradual dawning of realisation, not only among certain think tanks, but also among ministers and their advisers, that green belt policy has got of hand and that far too much land has been designated as green belt. The result is that there is no longer sufficient land available near existing towns and cities to meet the urgent requirement for house building where it is needed; the penalty is a chronic housing shortage and spiralling house prices, particularly in London and the south-east of England. The original aim of establishing the green belt was to discourage uncontrolled urban sprawl into the open countryside around our larger towns and cities and prevent the coalescence of two or more large neighbouring towns. No one would disagree with that broad objective, but a couple of undesirable elements have crept into green belt policies over the years. First, the green belts have been expanded to a far greater extent than was originally intended or is necessary to achieve their objective. The Metropolitan Green Belt around London, for example,

was intended to be about 12 to 15 miles deep. In some places it is now well over 30 miles deep. I also recall massive extensions to the green belt in Surrey in the 1980s for which there was no objective justification. There needs to be a fundamental review across the country, with a view to reducing substantially the extent of the green belts’ designated area. Such a review should proceed on the assumption that extensions that have occurred within the past 35 years should be reversed unless there are very convincing reasons not to. Local political pressures are such that it would be impracticable for this to be dealt with at a local level. This exercise really needs to be carried out on a national level by central government. And local planning authorities should be required to revise green belt boundaries in accordance with the conclusions of this departmental review. The second element that has crept into green belt policy is an unnecessary rigidity in the treatment of development proposals. It seems that all development in the green belt is resisted, unless it is either deemed to be ‘appropriate’ or exceptional circumstances can be demonstrated. Another issue is the

number of anomalies that have been created by inept drawing of green belt boundaries. There are quite a few examples, for example, of the green belt boundary cutting across the middle of a residential curtilage. This makes no sense at all, and should be corrected. Revision of the NPPF (and/or of the NPPG, as appropriate) should reiterate the principle that the green belt boundary should be established on a strong, defensible line. This should be a clearly defined and reasonably permanent physical feature in the landscape, such as a river, road or railway – even if this may look untidy on a map. The knee-jerk reaction – both locally from the NIMBYs and nationally – is that any suggested reform or relaxation of green belt policy must be ignored. Such people have become accustomed to using the planning system as their tool for resisting change. But their protests should not deter this government or the next one from carrying through this necessary reform of green belt policy, so as to enable the essential expansion of housing development around our towns and cities. Martin Goodall is a consultant solicitor at Keystone Law. You can read his blog at: www.planninglawblog.

High court throws out challenge to neighbourhood plan The High Court has dismissed a judicial review challenge by house builders to a council’s decision to put a draft neighbourhood plan to a referendum. Barratt Homes and Wainhomes Developments alongside Taylor Wimpey had each applied for planning permission to build on three greenfield sites on the edge of Tattenhall, Cheshire. The sites are within the area covered by the draft Tattenhall Neighbourhood Development Plan. Each application had been recommended for approval, but all were refused by Cheshire West Council as large-scale, inappropriate development. A village referendum backed the view, by 905 votes to 38. In the High Court, Barratt Homes and Wainhomes contended that the plan was flawed because of a failure to comply with the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive and had breached the duty on the council to ensure that the plan met the basic conditions of the Neighbourhood Planning (General) regulations 2012. They also questioned the impartiality of its independent examiner Nigel McGurk. But Mr Justice Supperstone said he did not consider that the “fairminded and informed observer, having considered the relevant facts, would conclude that there was a real possibility that Mr McGurk was biased”.

Report on Solihull local plan ‘not lawful’ A planning inspector’s approach to the policy requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in relation to housing provision in a local plan was not correct or lawful, a High Court judge has ruled. The judge also concluded that the inspector had failed to identify exceptional circumstances to justify modifying the green belt. Gallagher Estates Limited and Lioncourt Homes Limited had jointly challenged the Solihull local plan, which was adopted in December 2013 following examination and publication of the inspector’s report. Both developers had proposed residential developments on sites within the green belt.

Listed building breach costs £40,000 A Yorkshire businessman has been ordered to pay more than £40,000 in fines and costs for breaching the Listed Buildings Act 1990, following a prosecution brought by Harrogate Borough Council. Richard Sykes, director of West Parks Services Ltd, pleaded guilty to six planning offences at Harrogate Magistrates Court. The defendant had carried out extensive works to Copt Hewick Hall, a Grade II listed property near Ripon that was built in 1780. Harrogate council had issued several warnings that he did not have permission for the work. But Sykes still renovated the property over a 17-month period.

Surrey golf complex wins at appeal A local authority and a developer have won their appeal over a High Court ruling that quashed permission for a contentious hotel and golf complex in the Surrey Hills. Mole Valley District Council granted permission in September 2012 to Longshot Cherkley Court Ltd to develop Cherkley Court and Cherkley Estate, near Leatherhead. Cherkley Court is a Grade II listed chateau-style house dating back to 1894. It had once belonged to the Beaverbrook family.

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Twitter – beloved of tabloid hacks, attention-seeking celebs and chattering fops. Why should you use it as a planner? Simon Wicks offers an ABC for those who don’t know their hashtag from their bitly


witter is not for everyone. But for planners it can be a convenient way to keep up with news and talking points, and a tool for making and maintaining connections. Some planners are even using Twitter as a public engagement tool; results suggest that it reaches people that conventional consultations cannot reach (see box, Twitter for engagement). As people who like information, analysis and debate, it’s no surprise that plenty of planners are using the medium. The vibrancy of their exchanges may well be enough to persuade you, too, to join the fray.

What is Twitter? Twitter is an internet-based instant messaging service that enables you to send and receive messages (or ‘tweets’) of up to 140 characters. Messages can be transmitted publicly or privately and contain clickable links to web pages. The medium can be accessed on all internet-enabled devices through the Twitter website or third-party ‘apps’, many of which have more powerful features than the website alone. Essentially, your voice is one in a stream of millions of voices that comprise the “Twittersphere”. But you only have to listen to the voices that you want to hear. By choosing whom you “follow” you create your own unique channel.

Why use it? Because Twitter has a talkative community of planners, architects, 40

designers, urbanists, environmentalists, builders, journalists, academics, politicians, social campaigners – you name it. It is easy to dismiss these Twitter users as the “chattering classes”, distracted by trivialities. But many are significant figures within planning and related fields – the people who shape policy, influence opinion, make decisions and spread information. Twitter’s informality encourages them to speak with more candour than other media. Its pithy style is also ideal for passing on links to news stories, research reports and other information.

What can you use Twitter for? c Topical research c News of the day c Talking points c Networking c Profile-raising c Promotion/marketing c Public engagement and consultation c Sharing information c Insight – especially legal c Influencing and shaping opinion c Banter and conversation

What to tweet No one is interested in what you had for breakfast, unless your breakfast was coffee and a bagel with Eric Pickles in the Shard while you were persuading him that wind turbines in the Thames would be spectacular.

Broadly, tweet: c Comments about planning issues c Links to relevant news stories, features and research reports c Successes of your organisation c Interesting (from a planning point of view) things that you are actually doing

c Responses to questions and questions of your own c Personal observations about things you see and do. (But not too personal or trivial – preserve your dignity.)

Professional vs personal Twitter lends itself to informality and wit; these need not be triviality and bile. It is important to maintain your personal and professional dignity whatever the provocation or temptation to do otherwise. Remember that your tweet can be read by anyone. Some personal observation is good, however, says Gordon Watson, director of operations at Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. “I’ve had a Twitter account for three years,” he says. “It’s mainly professional, but I throw in a bit of personal. That makes it a good complement to the corporate tweet communication that we do.”

Who to follow It is impossible to pull together anything approaching a definitive list – or even a getting-started list – because there are so many individuals and organisations on Twitter. However, we do recommend that you follow the RTPI’s main Twitter feed (@RTPIplanners) and the RTPI’s head of policy, Richard Blyth (@RichardBlyth7). A good tactic is to look at whom they communicate with, follow these people and work your way from there.

Tweet us your tips If you're already on Twitter, we'd love to share your top Twitter tips. Tweet us @ThePlanner_RTPI and we'll add your comments to our online guide.

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Twitter dos and don’ts DO:



Be interesting and interested in equal measure Only tweeting your own stuff without acknowledging others is like walking into a party shouting about yourself – and no one’s going to want to listen to that, are they?


Find your niche Share information and ideas that your followers will be interested in; think about what’s going to make your Twitter feed worth following, and keep your content fresh and relevant.

Q&A: Andrew Sim

also fantastic for recording conference or seminar debates via an agreed # tag.”

Why should planners use Twitter? “Twitter is an instant and concise way of sharing messages of common interest. Used correctly, it’s helpful in exchanging ideas or initiatives. For planners, that allows us to keep in touch with the breadth of the profession and make links to other disciplines, people or places.”

Is there a specific benefit that Twitter has generated for you? “Twitter has improved my professional profile. That has resulted in my being asked to contribute to previous editions of The Planner and via RTPI Scotland has seen me being asked to author blog posts.”

How is Twitter useful to you professionally? “As chairperson of the RTPI Scotland’s Scottish Young Planners Network, Twitter enables me to promote professional practice among those new to or studying the profession. It keeps me abreast of national and international projects or policies relevant to town planning. It also provides an excellent forum for sharing information.” What should planners tweet about? “I suggest people and places. The medium is

Have you used Twitter to engage with the general public? “My employer uses Twitter to broadcast topical matters, including the progress of the Local Development Plan. This is useful in engaging with the general public.” Any pitfalls? “Manage it and don’t let it manage you.” Andrew is a development planner with Fife Council and is chair of the Scottish Young Planners Network Steering Group. Follow Andrew on Twitter at @andysim.


Only follow the best Unless you want your Twitter feed clogged up with irrelevant updates, be ruthless about keeping the list of people you follow pruned and updated regularly. Who are the people with the new ideas or interesting perspectives?

Twitter for engagement: @OurLivePark Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is using Twitter to consult with the public about the park’s local development plan. Director of operations Gordon Watson (left) explains how it’s working.


Time your tweeting If you’re keen for your tweets to be seen by the right people at the right time, think about what you post, when. Without ‘@’ mentioning someone in a tweet, there is no guarantee that they’ll ever see it in their feed, so look at what time of day your favourite tweeters tend to post and share your best content then.


Make the #hashtag your friend The little # symbol provides a simple way for people to look for relevant content about a particular topic. But don’t overdo it or your tweets will look spammy!

With thanks to Anna McLean of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Follow Anna on Twitter at @Plannnna

DON’T: ✘ 1 2 3 4 5

Rush your tweets or make them too conversational Broadcast anything you wouldn’t wish to read yourself

Publish a tweet without checking for sense and simplicity Tweet anything you wouldn’t exchange in conversation

Keep the application open and accessible while you are socialising.

“We decided to turn our local development plan consultation into a campaign that engages people who are not normally engagers. For example, some of our issues are to do with young families in the park. Using Twitter – and other social media – helps us talk to them in a language that engages them. “We’re finding that targeted and promoted tweets are good for getting people interested in a particular event and for getting a conversation going. People are participating through Twitter, and they’re not the normal people who turn up at workshops. “You can see straight away who’s picking up on it and it’s interesting in terms of the demographic. There’s a higher percentage of males using Twitter. On Facebook, it’s a higher percentage of females. The age group is typically 35 to 45. The demography you would get attending workshops is quite different. “Twitter is just one of a number of social media strands we’re using. For example, we’re putting a lot of our planning staff onto YouTube to explain what we’re doing and how planning works. And we have a popular strand on Twitter that’s demystifying planning buzzwords. “It all links together – Twitter, YouTube, blogs, personalising the process with pictures and videos of our staff. It’s making planning more vibrant for people and encouraging them to be a part of the process. We planners don’t have all the ideas. We feel as though we’re getting a truer representation of what our communities feel and aspire to.” Follow the Our Live Park campaign at @OurLivePark

Getting started: (1) Sign up at www.twitter. com. You’ll need a ‘username’. You may find that your own name is already taken, so try a variation or go for something else that says something about why you’re on Twitter – e.g., ‘ThePlannerman’. (2) Create a profile. Keep it

brief, giving people ‘need to know’ information about you. Here’s an example:

Town planning consultant & chartered surveyor acting throughout the UK for applications & appeals. Tweeting news, views & ideas on planning & related issues.

(3) Add a photo that represents you.

(4)Add a link your webpage or blog, to your organisation’ webpage or blog, or to your LinkedIn profile.

(5) Download a Twitter app.

Popular apps include Tweetdeck and Hootsuite. You’re now ready to go.

(6) The first step, before

tweeting is to ‘follow’ people. You can search the Twittersphere by person and topic to find specific individuals or conversations on topics that interest you.

(7) Write your first tweet and

They are generally better than the Twitter website itself.

hit send. It may take a little while to establish your ‘voice’, your connections and your credibility, but stick at it.

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Plan ahead P

Send feedback to Tweet us @The Planner_RTPI

Forward thinking The need for decisions in housing and transport investments to be mutually inclusive has never been more vital, as the RTPI’s forthcoming event will assert by Helen Bird

That strategically planned transport infrastructure has a significant role to play in developing sustainable, thriving communities is by no means a new idea, but one that nonetheless seems prone to being overlooked in the decision-making process. For example, the House of Commons Transport Select Committee recently published its report on the government’s National Networks National Policy Statement. As the RTPI’s David Pendlebury points out in a recent blog, while the committee expresses concern that the policy “fails to take account of wider environmental impacts”, it doesn’t necessarily set its sights as far as housing. Reassurance is perhaps provided by London First’s Home Truths report, published earlier this year, which recognises that “improved transport connectivity would open up parts of London for substantial new housing development”. As a strong advocate of collaboration between planning and transport professionals, the RTPI bases its conference, ‘Planning and transport: Are we there yet?’ on this very idea. Patsy Dell, head of planning at Cambridge City Council, is one of the speakers at the


Patsy Dell, head of planning at Cambridge City Council

event, which takes place on 9 July – aptly at the National Railway Museum. “It’s about delivering networked places and what that actually means,” she says of her presentation. In Cambridge, she tells The Planner, “significant growth” is in progress. The city, which has been granted City Deal status, will receive £0.5 billion to fund transport infrastructure. A longstanding collaboration between district and county councils lends itself well to a “focus on strategic delivery”, says Dell. “The two things are absolutely inextricable – delivering sustainable growth, and homes and jobs that are well connected, and quality of life, quality of place and economic success,” she adds. Also speaking at the event, Richard Blyth, RTPI head of policy, will highlight the importance of capturing the wider benefits of transport investment, based on the policy paper of the same name published at the start


of the year. “Decisions on housing growth and transport investment need to be made simultaneously and consistently,” says Richard. “It is not enough for housing

investment simply to follow transport investment, nor for transport investment simply to go where housing is planned.” Also featuring on the conference agenda (correct at the time of going to press) are Richard Jones, regional director, Transportation North at Parsons Brinckerhoff to speak about the York Local Plan work, Karen Hirst, development director at Salford City Council on Salford Media City, and Peter Nears, strategic director at Peel Holdings to cover regional airport development and the Davies Review.

PLANNING AND TRANSPORT: A R E W E N E A R LY T H E R E Y E T ? Where? The National Railway Museum, Leeman Road, York YO26 4XJ When? 9 July 2014 Theme: A practical update on why planning and transport remain as mutually relevant as ever Find out more and book at:

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LISTINGS Talks, conferences, training, master classes – everything you need to keep on top of the latest thinking and developments in the planning world.

DON’T MISS RTPI Planning Convention 2014 Meeting the challenge: How will planners shape the future? What are the planning challenges that will shape the next 50 years? Led by Anil Menon, Cisco president of globalisation and smart and connected communities, an expert panel will address how to deliver quality as well as quantity in housing and how to overcome constraints on economic growth.

NORTH EAST 11 June – Mind the Infrastructure Gap – What Should CIL Pay For? How CIL is implemented and the key considerations on assessing infrastructure requirements and ensuring viability and consider good practice advice for stakeholder consultation and examinations on CIL. Venue: International Centre for Life, Times Square, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne & Wear NE1 4EP, UK Details: www.bit. ly/1dZwtvq

NORTH WEST 12 June – Transport Planning, Infrastructure and the Planning System An overview of the planning system and the role of transport planning within that framework. This will include a look at the planning and legislative aspects, in addition to reviewing case studies of infrastructure delivery. Venue: Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington Details: 17 June – The Changing Nature of Agriculture and the Planning System How agriculture continues to change in the NorthWest. Delegates will be encouraged to understand how it functions and its impacts and issues within a sustainable countryside. Venue: Stricklandgate House, Kendal Details: www.bit. ly/1cqrSmW

YORKSHIRE 10 June – Yorkshire & Humber Regional Debate ‘This house believes that the only solution to England’s housing crisis is building on greenfield sites’. We are working with RIBA, RICS, ICE and the Landscape Institute to deliver this debate. .

Venue: The Rose Bowl, Portland Crescent, Leeds LS1 3HB Details: www.bit. ly/1nj7Cv6 25 June – The value of urban design The conference will explore the ways in which good design can help support and enhance the economic vitality and viability of our towns and cities. Organised by Leeds Metropolitan University on behalf of the RTPI Yorkshire Conference Series. Venue: Leeds Details: 26 June – Yorkshire’s National Parks Development of policy in the North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales, two of the three national parks in “God’s own county” and the part played in this by planning professionals. Venue: North York Moors NPA, The Old Vicarage, Bondgate, Helmsley, North Yorkshire YO62 5BP Details: www.bit. ly/1euMLNs 10 July – Iconic Architecture and New Brutalism New Brutalism produced many iconic buildings. This event will explore the architecture, planning and community concepts of such development, focusing on development designed to re-house communities destroyed by large-scale slum clearance. Venue: Sheffield Town Hall, Surrey Street, Sheffield S1 2HH Details: www.bit. ly/1bDE007

EAST 11 June – Community & Neighbourhood Planning Held in association with Planning Aid England, this will appeal to planners, community development and parish councillors. It includes presentations on working with communities,

Date: 24 June Venue: Central Hall, Westminster, London Details:

how Neighbourhood Plans fit with Local Plans, and sustainability issues. Venue: Firstsite Colchester, Lewis Gardens, High Street, Colchester, CO1 1JH Details: Ko9t0b 19 June – East of England great centenary debate: After 100 years, is planning still fit for purpose? Panellists at this afternoon/ early evening event include Trudi Elliott CBE, chief executive of the RTPI and Peter Geraghty, immediate past president of the RTPI. Venue: Buckingham House, Murray Edwards College (formerly New Hall), Huntingdon Road, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire CB3 0DF Details: www.bit. ly/1o6r5z7 27 June – RTPI East of England Treasure Punt A treasure hunt in a punt. From 5.30pm. . Venue: Meet at Scudamores Punting Company, Magdalene Bridge Station, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire CB2 1RS, UK Details: www.bit. ly/1imANtQ

EAST MIDLANDS 19 June – Economic Development: The Growth Agenda in the East Midlands A look at economic development from the perspective of a local authority planner, a local enterpirise partnership and a planning consultant. Venue: The Enterprise Centre, Bridge Street, Derby DE1 3LD Details: PKdWg7

SOUTH WEST 13 June – Planning for Housing – Exploring Alternative Modes of Delivery Examining attempts by government and local planning authorities to use the planning system to increase the number of new homes being developed and will explore the potential role of self-commissioned and co-housing. Venue: Poole BH15 1HZ, UK Details: Ko9GAB

SOUTH EAST 20 June – South East Centenary Boat Party and Presidential Dinner Join RTPI president Cath Ranson and your fellow RTPI South East members for a twilight cruise through London. . Venue: Erasmus Thames Cruiser from Westminster Pier, London SW1A 2JH Details: www.bit. ly/1o6s3LP

LONDON 11 June – Project management for planners A seminar to meet the needs of everyone who has to manage projects, tasks, or assignments to meet challenging targets under time and resource constraints. Venue: The Hatton, 51-53 Hatton Garden, London Details: Nb35LE 12 June – Affordable Housing: Policy and Provision The practical implications of the government’s new planning and

housing policies, the latest objectives for the Community Infrastructure Levy, viability assessments, and other techniques to provide affordable housing. Venue: The Hatton, 51-53 Hatton Garden, London Details: www.bit. ly/1jdzLRE 17 June – Stakeholder Engagement for Planners Learn about Stakeholder Engagement as a tool for public participation, the techniques to carry out stakeholder analysis and produce a communication plan. Venue: The Hatton, 51-53 Hatton Garden, London Details: www.bit. ly/1jAiH7V 18 June – Environmental Impact Assessments masterclass This workshop covers the relevant legislation, provides explanatory examples and will assist with contributing to, reviewing and submitting a successful EIA. Venue: The Hatton, 51-53 Hatton Garden, London Details: www.bit. ly/1iXb3Wl

SCOTLAND 10 June - Sir Patrick Geddes Commemorative Lecture 2014 Planning Matters, Building Resilience Through Risk Management – Lessons From Australia by Dyan Currie, national president of the Planning Institute of Australia. Venue: Hawthornden Lecture Theatre, National Galleries of Scotland, The Mound, Edinburgh, EH2 2EL Details: www.bit. ly/1kLRb5l

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RTPI news pages are edited by Tino Hernandez at the RTPI, 40 Botolph Lane, London EC3R 8DL

Being an RTPI Future Planner ambassador JENNA WALLIS IS A PLANNING OFFICER AT SANDWELL METROPOLITAN BOROUGH AND IS ALSO AN RTPI FUTURE PLANNER AMBASSADOR. HERE, SHE TALKS ABOUT HER JOURNEY FROM DRAWING FRESH FISH AT ART SCHOOL TO STUDYING SPATIAL PLANNING When I heard about the RTPI’s Future Planners initiative I jumped at the chance to get involved. It has been launched in the RTPI’s centenary year and I am one of more than 100 ambassadors recruited to visit schools, raising awareness and interest in planning with students aged 11 to 18. The aim is to get young people thinking about the place where they live and the challenges communities face in the future. At school I wanted to be a graphic designer, but the highest aspiration my careers adviser could muster was plucking chickens on West Bromwich market! Surprisingly, I did not take them up on that opportunity, and enrolled at art college instead. After five years of studying art reality hit when, in my final year at university, it transpired that on average only 80 jobs in graphic design were advertised a year. I wished I’d been told that five years earlier. By now I wanted a career where I could make a difference to people and I got my lucky break while working as a secretary at Sandwell MBC, when I was seconded to be the project management administrator for the West Bromwich Regeneration Programme. This introduced to me to the world of town planning – something that I never knew existed. Colleagues encouraged me to become a planner, and I graduated from Birmingham City University in March this year with an MA in Environmental and Spatial Planning. These experiences have made me passionate about making sure young people should be



introduced to a wide range of career opportunities and are fully informed about how to grasp them. This advice should be realistic, truthful and, preferably, from experience. The RTPI Future Planner initiative comes at a time of recession where the drive for economic growth can lead to pressure on planning principles and limited career opportunities. However, it also comes at an exciting and challenging time, when planners need to resolve the country’s housing crisis, mitigate climate change, reinvent our high streets, accommodate wind farms – and resolve HS2 issues (all before lunch), with limited funding and fewer resources. In March I spoke to around 30 GCSE and A-level pupils of Queen Mary Grammar School, Walsall, as a Future Planner ambassador. I won’t lie; it was a daunting prospect despite my enthusiasm for the initiative, but I received a lot of support from the RTPI and was well prepared. During the talk I was able to discuss local planning issues and debated some, shall we say, interesting views on Compulsory Purchase Orders and development quality. It was refreshing to discuss such challenges with young people. What really made the visit worthwhile was one enthusiastic pupil who aspires to be a planner and wanted to know the route I had taken to become one. I advised her to start broad, specialise later, get work experience (not plucking chickens), and to take her time. She left knowing what she needed to do, and I left feeling like I had made a positive impact. My unconventional route to becoming a planner has been an interesting experience. Had I received a visit from, say, a Future Graphic Designer, maybe better choices would have been made. The Future Planners initiative provides a mechanism by which we can help young people broaden their horizons when it comes to career choice and signpost a more direct career path. As one of my university lecturers said: “How did you get from drawing fresh fish at art school to studying spatial planning?” My answer? It’s a long story!

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Editorial E:

RTPI (switchboard) T: 020 7929 9494 F: 020 7929 9490

Registered charity no. 262865 Registered charity in Scotland SCO37841


Fiona Edwards Development Planning Manager CHESHIRE WEST AND CHESTER COUNCIL

(1) What do you currently do? I am the development planning manager for Cheshire West and Chester Council, responsible for development management and building consultancy teams. Every day sees me facing a different challenge.

(2) If I wasn’t in planning, I’d probably be…. I would have liked to have been a doctor, although many would question if I had the necessary patience to have a reasonable bedside manner!

(3) What has been your biggest career challenge to date? Agreeing to take part in [BBC Two TV series] The Planners and then Permission Impossible, did require a leap of faith – was it going to be another planner-bashing programme? On the whole, I think the programme has dispelled some of the myths that we are all faceless bureaucrats.

(4) What attracted you to the profession? I started as an appeals clerk and found myself typing up reports, which I would always end up reading. I was fascinated by the ability of the profession to have some lasting and, hopefully, positive impact on our environment.

(5) Why did you take on the role of development planning manager for Cheshire West and Chester Council? I had been working as a senior planner in Ceredigion and in 2006 I was successful in applying for the role of development control manager at the then Chester City Council. It was a dream job, working in such an iconic and historic city. Then in 2009, I became area planning manager for the west of the borough and in 2010, as a result of some internal reorganisation, I was extremely fortunate to find myself in my current position. Despite having been born in Wales (and not being allowed inside the city walls after 10pm), Cheshire West feels like my real home; it’s such a great place to live and work.

(6) If you could change one thing about the planning profession, what would it be? I would do away with the eight and 13 weeks targets, and instead concentrate on quality decisions and outcomes. I do recognise, however, that there are significant impacts caused by tardy decisionmaking and the wider use of planning performance agreements should become the norm.

RTPI RECEIVES US AWARD In recognition of its contribution to planning over a century, the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) was presented with the National Planning Excellence Award for a Planning Landmark at the American Planning Association’s (APA) national convention in Atlanta, Georgia. The award recognises planning projects, initiatives or endeavours that have historical significance. Cath Ranson, president of the RTPI, and Trudi Elliott, chief executive, attending the event and the special ceremony, said: “It was a real honour for us to

accept the planning landmark award at the APA national awards ceremony recognising RTPI one hundred years of being proud of planning, promoting professional standards and ethics, and making the case for what planning can achieve. The warmth of the reception was touching.” A small delegation from the RTPI attends the APA convention each year to give presentations on the institute’s policy work and its international activities. The APA has around 40,000 members and is the largest professional institute for planners in the world.

RTPI ELECTIONS The RTPI will be holding its annual elections for the Vice-president, Board of Trustees and General Assembly later this year. Standing for election will give you the chance to work with a wide range of colleagues and contribute to discussions and decisions affecting the profession. The following roles are available this year (for the term 2015-2016): c Vice-president for 2015 (will become President in 2016); c Board of Trustees – chair of the board, trustee to represent Scotland, three chartered trustees; and c General Assembly – 14 places for fellows and ordinary members, three places for student/ licentiate members, two places for technical members, one place for legal member or legal associate. Nominations will open on 20 June and close on 28 July. Voting will take place in September. More information is available from Colin Bendall, governance officer at RTPI. Email: colin.bendall@ or telephone 020 7929 8172 n To see the RTPI elections timetable please visit

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c Environmental resilience:

Climate change, environmental and resource management pose a considerable challenge for both new development and our established settlements. This session will question how far we need to – and to what extent we can – mitigate the environmental impact of development and its consequences for our cities. c Reassessing our systems:

Recent scrutiny of the planning systems in the UK and Ireland has regularly called their efficiency, flexibility and purpose into question. This session asks if our planning systems are fit for purpose. Speakers who have confirmed so far are: David Cowans – chief executive, Places for People and Wolfson Economic Prize judge 2014; Jon Kirkpatrick – head of sustainability, Lease Lend; George Ferguson – Mayor of the City of Bristol; Gerry Hughes – national head of planning, development, regeneration, GVA; Angus Walker – partner, Bircham Dyson Bell; Julia Dean – MetroBus & MetroWest communications manager, West of England Partnership; Tim Norwood – chief planning officer, EDF; Trudi Elliott – chief executive, RTPI; Rachael Hill – flood and coastal risk manager, the Environment Agency; Jackie Sudek – chief executive, UK Regeneration; and Hugh Ellis – head of policy, Town & Country Planning Association.

c Infrastructure challenge:

The conference will include workshops and study tours, providing opportunities for young planners to enhance their practical skills and experience some of the best practice that Bristol and the West of England have to offer. An informal drinks reception will be held on the Thursday evening to welcome early arrivals and to launch the two-day event. A formal dinner and social will also be held on the Friday at the stately Marriott Royal. The RTPI’s South West Young Planners group are delighted to have this opportunity to host what we believe will be a memorable event. We expect tickets will sell very quickly for the centenary conference and hope you can join us in Bristol for two great days of debate and networking with fellow professionals. We would also like to thank our other kind sponsors of the conference who include: Pegasus Group, No5 Chambers, GL Hearn, Savills, GVA, and Beach Baker. Booking will open later in June.

Ageing power infrastructure and potentially overcrowded transit systems force us to ask how we make new provision to provide these vital services. How do we make sure the lights stay on and that people keep moving?

n To register your interest and to be alerted when bookings are open, please email

In the year that the RTPI celebrates 100 years of professional planning since its establishment, the annual Young Planners’ conference will be hosted by the South West Young Planners in Bristol. With the institute’s centenary year providing a time for reflection, this year’s conference, generously headline sponsored by Atkins and Turley, will welcome more than 200 young planners to consider the challenges of future-proofing our communities. Hosted within the state-of-the-art M-Shed Museum, with spectacular views of Bristol’s skyline and harbour side, the conference takes place on Friday 24 and Saturday 25 October 2014. Young planning professionals from across the UK will gather and be challenged to question if, and how, town and country planning can achieve a balance for the future by considering four key areas: c Housing and population growth:

Domestic population migration continues to challenge the future of both expanding settlements and urban areas of population decline. This session considers radical solutions, such as garden cities, and asks how planners should accommodate a shifting populace in future.


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RTPI members discuss their big career-changing decisions

MEETING THE CHALLENGE: HOW WILL PLANNERS SHAPE THE FUTURE? Book your place now for the Planning Convention 2014 and be inspired as we celebrate the RTPI’s centenary and 100 years of professional planning. Taking place on Tuesday 24th June in Central Hall Westminster, the Planning Convention 2014, with headline sponsorship from AMEC, will ask what are the big challenges on the horizon that will shape the next 50 years? We will address major issues including how to deliver quality as well as quantity in housing, how we build healthier communities and how to overcome the real constraints upon economic growth, such as infrastructure and market failure? With a packed and flexible programme, and outstanding opportunities for networking and debate, these critical topics will feature across workshop and plenary sessions with speakers of national and international renown. We’ll examine the contribution every planner should and can make to the solutions we need. Join the convention debate about how to make planning fit for purpose in shaping the future of our communities. n To book your tickets please visit

PLANNING AID ENGLAND PRAISED BY LOCAL GROUP The chair of a parish neighbourhood plan has thanked Planning Aid England (PAE) for its support in helping the community to develop a new plan for the area. A referendum held last month in Kirdford, West Sussex, secured a 95 per cent ‘Yes’ vote for the proposals with a turnout of 44 per cent, both figures being some of the highest in the country so far. The plan is one of the most comprehensive brought forward so far, addressing housing, economic growth, conservation and general social wellbeing within the locality. Josef Ransley said the help received from PAE had been “invaluable”. Following its resounding support at referendum, the plan will now go forward for adoption and will become an integral part of the Local Development Plan and guide the nature of future development in the parish. n For further information of the work of Planning Aid England please visit


Andrew Teage Associate director DTZ My step-change career decision took place when I decided to join DTZ from BDP, a move that took me from working within a ‘designorientated’ planning environment, to a ‘commercial propertyorientated’ planning environment. My career path before my move to DTZ took me from a public sector planning authority to an architectural practice because of an interest and desire to gain experience in urban design, masterplanning and regeneration. I then spent 12 years in an architectural environment, working on projects that gave me the design experience I was keen to develop. Over the past four years, which coincided with changes to the consultancy market and the coalition government implementing its transformation of the planning system, I focused on statutory town planning consultancy. This confirmed to me that my own personal interests lay in the statutory town planning arena. The opportunity to join DTZ was perfect for me to further develop my statutory town planning knowledge and experience within a commercial property environment. It also presented an opportunity to apply my interest in development viability and land economics to the day-to-day planning consultancy work I undertake. My role is to lead the town planning team in the Manchester office, with the opportunity to shape, influence and grow the planning team in the North-West. I hit the ground running from the start with existing DTZ clients including the Royal Mail, the Education Funding Agency, Manchester Metropolitan University, the Homes and Communities Agency, and major house builders. The biggest challenge to date has been getting used to DTZ’s internal management and financial systems, and the greater exposure I have in terms of accountability to the overall business. But, only three months into my employment with DTZ, I am certain I have made the right move in terms of my professional interests and career development.

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Recruitment { Planning and Transportation

Principal Planner (Growth and Strategy) Civic Offices, New Road, Grays Band 8: £35,043 - £45,702 per annum 37 hours per week Post number: T00932

We are seeking applicants who have excellent written and verbal communication skills, the ability to prioritise and adhere to strict deadlines along with being creative and highly motivated. For an informal discussion on the roles and responsibilities associated with this post please contact Sean Nethercott, Growth and Strategy Manager at or telephone 01375 652705. For full details on this and other vacancies in the Thurrock area, and to apply on-line, please go to

Thurrock Council has one of the largest and most ambitious growth led agendas in the Country. Located at the heart of the Thames Gateway, the Borough is a large and diverse area containing extensive areas of rural countryside as well as being home to some of the most exciting urban regeneration projects in the UK with the potential to create 30,000 jobs and attract £2.5bn of new inward investment over the next decade. The newly created Growth and Strategy team is responsible for the preparation of a new Local Plan for Thurrock and in recognition of the scale of our ambitions, we are now looking to appoint a Principal Planning Officer to join the team. The successful candidate for this post will be a strong team player with extensive experience in strategic planning and development plan preparation. A good knowledge of economic development and urban regeneration practice and/or planning for the built and natural environment is desirable. The successful candidate will be educated to degree level and also be eligible for membership of the RTPI.

If you do not have Internet access, please call 0870 787 1176 between the following times: Mon-Fri 8am – 6pm. Closing date: 30 June 2014 Thurrock Council and its Partnership Organisations are committed to equal opportunities and welcome applications from all sections of the community. Disabled people will be offered an interview where they meet all Essential Criteria on the Person Specification. Job share applications are also welcome. Most Departments operate a flexible working hour’s system. We serve a diverse community where people are different yet equal. Diversity underpins everything we do.

With the Įrst Core Strategy in Noƫnghamshire and the Įrst Community Infrastructure Levy in England we have a programme to deliver growth in the context of a fantasƟc historic and natural environment. Having previously been through a re-structure we currently have vacancies for the following posiƟons:

Reach the largest possible talent pool of RTPI candidates by advertising your planning vacancies in The Planner. The new RTPI magazine provides the only way to access all 20,000+ members each month and is the best way to reach the largest targeted and relevant audience.

INFRASTRUCTURE & SECTION 106 OFFICER– DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT (£26,539 to £28,127 p.a.) Full Time, Permanent


The next booking deadline for Recruitment Advertising is: 1.30pm Thursday 19th June

(£28,922 to £30,311 p.a.) Full Time, Permanent


(£28,922 to £30,311 p.a.) Fixed Term Contract, 2 years. For an informal discussion please contact MaƩ Lamb on 01636 655842 or Helen MarrioƩ on 01636 655793. Closing date: Noon Monday 16th June 2014 Interviews: Week commencing 23rd June 2014. Full details of the opportuniƟes above and online applicaƟon can be found at To request applicaƟon pack either e-mail or telephone 01636 655220.


Please contact the recruitment team on 020 7880 7665 or email

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Department of Housing and Regeneration, Planning Division.

CHIEF PLANNER Location - Pan Wales Remuneration – circa £70,000 per annum – this appointment is offered on a permanent basis. We are seeking to appoint a Chief Planner who will be responsible for the overall leadership, management and delivery of the Welsh Government’s responsibilities for town and country planning and building regulations, including policy development and casework. The post holder will also ensure that the legislative framework governing planning in Wales is effective and fit for purpose and that decisions taken by Welsh Ministers comply with statutory and other requirements. Short listed candidates will be invited to interview on Friday 18 July 2014. The closing date for applications is Friday 27 June 2014. For further details and to apply to go to vacancies/senior or for queries contact the SCS Team on 029 2082 5423/6438 or email

The Welsh Government is committed to being a good Equal Opportunities Employer.

A large print, Braille or audio version of this advert can be obtained by request from 029 2082 5454.

Planner, Cardiff Salary: ÂŁAttractive Package Our people make Bruton Knowles the success it is - every member of our team is passionate, committed and exceptionally good at what they do. Our strong reputation is matched by the depth and breadth of our excellent client base. To support the delivery of our growth aspirations in Wales and the South West, we seek a RTPI qualiďŹ ed Planner with up to 3 years PQE, preferably with experience working in the private sector. This role offers you the opportunity to further develop your planning skills and experience. Training support and skill development will be provided to help you realise your full potential. You will have a conďŹ dent approach delivering to deadline planning applications and appeals, enforcement notices and certiďŹ cates of lawfulness. The remit will include planning appraisals and site ďŹ nding, promotion through the planning system of suitable sites on behalf of clients. In return we can offer you an attractive package with a great range of beneďŹ ts. If you have the ability and personality to deliver please contact or for more details visit Bruton Knowles is a leading ďŹ rm of property consultants delivering services with the highest level of professionalism and integrity through thirteen regional ofďŹ ces.


Bruton Knowles is an Equal Opportunity Employer. No agencies.


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Plan B P


BAT SALAD It is a classic case of the biter being bitten. Rocker Ozzy Osbourne’s plans to convert a barn at hiss Buckinghamshire estate into a twobedroom home may y have been dashed because it is home to o some bats. The Black Sabbath h frontman – who famously chomped the head off a live bat during one of the band’s elaborate e gothic stage shows 30 years ago (‘I thoughtt it was a rubber toy… Immediately, though, h, something felt wrong. ng. Very wrong… Then the head in my mouth twitched”) has been refused planning permission unless he provides adequate protection for the bats. Chiltern District Council said measures had to be put in place

tely, y… Immediag… to r e b b u r wron was a ‘I thought it ething felt wrong. Veryched” though, som head in my mouth twit Then the

to protect creatures living at his Jordans estate near Chalfont St Giles (no, not Sharon and Kelly). Councillors rejected the planning application after “considerable evidence” of common and soprano pipistrelles

MOSQUITOS GO HOME Warming climate = droughts = hosepipe bans = water butts = mosquitos = malaria. This is the simple equation that confronts us as a side-effect of climate change, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Reading’s School of Biological Sciences. British Container Breeding Mosquitoes: The Impact Of Urbanisation and Climate Change on Community Composition and Phenology (gotta love that title) found that, just like people, rural and urban mosquito dwellers are rather different in kind. In a reversal of the human


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and “possibly brown long-eared bats” and owls was found there. Chiltern District Council ordered two further surveys, to be carried out this summer, to discover how many bats are in residence and how

scenario, however, it appears that the greater diversity in the mosquito world is in the shires, whereas our towns and cities are a mosquito monoculture. It’s understandable that urban areas offer fewer decent “liveable” locations to the average mosquito. But global warming is provoking change. Recent droughts have inspired an increase in water butts, which are usually positioned next to our houses. Water butts, of course, are good breeding grounds for mosquitos. “The Culex pipiens is a wellknown urban mos squi qu qu uiito, t mosquito, but the Anopheles plumbeus is normally ly y considered to be a tree-dwelling species,” says the

they would be affected by construction work. All species of bat and their roosts are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010.

study report. “But it is changing its habitats from breeding in tree-holes to breeding in manmade water containers. This is concerning considering that it is a vector of malaria.” This migration from trees to water butts, from shire to city, that is disturbing a stable monoculture and threatening our wellbeing may give us pause ffor thought. Sadly, the only thought thoug that enters Plan B’s head is: “What would Nigel Farage ma make of this?” “Those Anopheles plumbeans, coming over here, taking over our ou water butts, moving ng g iin n nex ne n ex e xt door, door, next spreading their diseases…”

Not that Plan B is a language authoritarian but, well, “liveable”. Must we? It’s everywhere nowadays. Why, only today Plan B encountered a campaign to improve urban transport networks that said one of its aims was “ensuring a liveable and pleasant streetscape.” Surely, it’s either “liveable in” or even “live-in-able” or a “pleasant place to live in”, but not – surely, please, not – “liveable”. And what’s wrong with that very useful word “habitable” that we seem to have collectively abandoned? Liveable means nothing. How can a streetscape be liveable? It’s an offence to elegant and accurate language. It’s a jarring excrescence. It’s a wart on your report. Please stop it.

ARE ARCHITECTS ETHICAL? Urban Realm magazine reports a survey by the Association of Accounting Technicians (you what?), which found that architecture was the most ethical profession. The survey of 1,000 micro-, smalland medium-sized business owners asked respondents questions about business ethics and reported their responses. Thus it was a self-reporting survey. Just think about that for a moment. Who do you trust most: the person who insists they are honest all the time? Or the one who selfdeprecatingly admits to the odd lapse in honesty when put on the spot? Ethics, my armpit.


27/05/2014 10:01


} Recruitment Chartered planners are in demand Senior Town Planner Northern Home Counties, £30,000-£35,000 A leading multi-disciplinary real estate firm seeks an MRTPI Senior Planner. The role will incorporate residential, retail and mixed-use schemes. The position will include business development and client management responsibilities. Membership of the RTPI is essential and experience of managing projects is essential. Our client is open to applicants from the public sector and offers an excellent opportunity to professionals seeking a transition into the Town Planning industry. Ref: 262821

Senior Town Planner London, £35,000-£40,000 A nationwide planning consultancy seeks an MRTPI Senior Planner to join its expanding team in London. You will be involved in driving forward residential and regeneration schemes, retail, renewable energy, commercial, rural and heritage related developments. This role requires professionals who can represent their brand and continue to grow the business in the region. Experience in development management and a demonstrable knowledge of managing projects throughout the process is essential. Ref: 262361

Chartered Town Planner Leeds, £30,000 A leading multi-disciplinary firm with a great culture seeks a Chartered Planner to join its team in Leeds. This consultancy has a very strong pipeline of projects and is seeking impressive individuals with strong academics. This is an opportunity to join one of the country’s leading firms, working with a mix of public and private sector clients. Practical experience of both development management and development plan processes is essential. Ref: 262711

Planning Manager Home Counties, £35,000 A growing housebuillder with ambitious plans supported by strong forecasts seeks an in-house planning lead for its team. In the short term, the successful individual will be focused on processing small to medium-sized schemes and managing outsourced consultants. It is expected that in the long term, this function will grow along with the organisation with the introduction of an in-house planning team. Ref: 254511

Offices globally Please apply for any of the above roles by emailing or call 0207 478 2500 to speak with Matt Thomas quoting the relevant reference number.

The power of people

Development Management Team Leader (Major Applications) East Hampshire District Council Up to £41,558 pa – 37 hours per week | Based from Petersfield East Hampshire is an exceptionally attractive part of southern England. It offers beautiful countryside, the South Downs National Park and a rich cultural heritage together with a good mix of sport and entertainment facilities. It has a thriving business community, social life and has excellent transport links to London and the Solent coast, as well as the historic cities of Winchester and Chichester. All of this makes it a great place to live, work and visit. We want an experienced and proactive manager who is a strong communicator, and capable of getting the best out of the team to manage and influence the unprecedented levels of major planning applications and secure successful outcomes. Your knowledge of the industry and legislation will be sound and will have been applied in managing major planning application proposals. Now looking to take your experience on to a greater challenge, we’re delighted to be able to offer you that chance. A relocation and retention package is available for the person we are looking for. For an informal discussion, please contact Chris Murray on 01730 234231 or Julia Mansi on 01730 234236. For an application pack please visit our website, or telephone (023) 9244 6543 Closing date for receipt of applications is Friday 4th July 2014. Interviews are expected to be held week commencing 21st July 2014.

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Celebrate with the RTPI in 2014 To mark the occasion of our Centenary a number of projects and events are taking place throughout the year. Check out the RTPI Centenary 2014 page on our ZHEVLWHWRĂ€QGRXWZKDW\RXUUHJLRQLVGRLQJDQG KRZ\RXFDQJHWLQYROYHG 2XU&HQWHQDU\LVDWUHPHQGRXVRSSRUWXQLW\WRUDLVHWKHSURÂżOHRISODQQLQJ the Institute and its membership and the profession as a whole. It gives us a unique chance to look forward to the future of planning whilst at the same time celebrating our rich history and past experience.

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The Planner - June 2014  
The Planner - June 2014