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Speaking up for the powerhouse

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Training courses


Training calendar July - December 2019

July Neighbourhood planning: policy and practice


Understanding developers and development ďŹ nance


The planning system explained


Planning and design: making better places


Viability assessments - advanced level


September Enforcement of planning decisions Challenges of waste management

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Project management for planners


Environmental Impact Assessments

We provide high-quality training for all professionals in the planning environment. Our wide selection of informative masterclasses and briefings are designed and delivered by our team of industry experts who will support your learning and keep you up to date with the latest developments.


The planning system explained


Project management for planners


Understanding developers and development ďŹ nance


An introduction to planning law


Writing skills for planners


October Local plans: policy and practice


Environmental Impact Assessments Leadership for planners

Boost your career with expert training.

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Affordable housing: policy and practice


Planning and design: making better places


Sustainability Appraisal: Current and emerging issues


Project management for planners


Writing skills for planners

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November Understanding developers and development ďŹ nance + 44 (0)20 7929 8400


Current issues in planning


Project management for planners


Environmental Impact Assessments


Communication skills for planners


Giving evidence at inquiries


Planning law update



December Business skills for planners


Sustainable drainage and climate change


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10 NEWS 4 Is the planning system ready for 5G? 6 Viability testing at plan-making stage? Proceed with caution 8 No stone unturned: 5 gems from the Minerals Planning Conference 10 Report proposes public development corporations and planning ‘juries’



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14 Louise BrookeSmith: Home thoughts from abroad 16 Aude BicqueletLock: Gender inequality is still harming planning 16 Martin Herbert: How diversification could help to solve the UK housing crisis 17 Michael Phillips: Government must act on public support for renewables 17 Sarah James: Communities are the key to planning without conflict


24 Are use classes fit for purpose in the 21st century? Huw Morris considers the case for reform

33 33 Nations & Regions: East of England


36 Tech landscape: Is there an ethical dimension to the application of smart city technologies?

19 Jeff Bishop goes in search of the Skeffington Report’s legacy to the modern-day planning landscape and asks what they can teach modern planners

28 Martin Read reports on the launch of RTPI research proposing a spatial framework for the North



38 Cases & decisions: Development decisions, round-up and analysis


42 Legal Landscape: Opinions, blogs and news from the legal side of planning 44 RTPI round-up: News and interviews from the institute 50 Plan B: If planners designed football pitches...

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Is the planning system ready for 5G? A new era is on the horizon as 5G networks are rolled out across the UK – but many councils are not ready for it. Huw Morris reports on a revolution that will not be televised It’s the next stage in mobile technology. It heralds nothing short of a revolution. It paves the way for the smart city by integrating infrastructure to connect buildings with transport and utilities. Driverless cars, remote-controlled heavy machinery and even holographic calls are among the numerous technological advances on the horizon. A new era of super-fast 5G took a giant leap forward in May after the technology was switched on in six UK cities. EE was the first mobile operator to launch a service. Its rivals will shortly follow suit (see How mobile operators are gearing up for 5G). Providing big increases in data capacity and speed, 5G is expected to

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bring major economic benefits to the UK; conservative estimates suggest that it will add up to £164 billion to gross domestic product by 2030. “In the coming years, it is expected that the way people interact with apps, mobile content and online services will change dramatically,” says Gareth Elliott, policy and communications chief at Mobile UK, the trade body for mobile operators. “Connectivity today is focused primarily on the smartphone, but the future will see more and more devices connected to one another. “From the connected smart home to the connected car, or the autonomous factory to remote surgery,

the way people, places and machines communicate will be vastly different. However, for this to happen, mobile operators need to be able to build and deploy their networks.” While currently there are security fears about allowing Chinese firm Huawei to help to build 5G networks, a different question hovers in the background. How ready is the UK planning system for 5G? Not very, in some places. Just 28 per cent of local plans make detailed reference to mobile connectivity. The majority of authorities – 87 per cent – have yet to audit their assets, whether that is land, buildings or other infrastructure, to host digital


Norfolk County Council commissioned a study to gauge mobile signals, using the findings as a springboard for talks with operators on how its buildings and assets could host mobile infrastructure. Signals varied from patchy to non-existent in very scattered communities around the coast, says Tom FitzPatrick, cabinet member for innovation, transformation and performance. “We have a big tourism industry: mobile connectivity is very important for businesses and people simply expect to use their phones,” he adds. “Using this research, we could engage with the mobile


phone industry on where the gaps are and what we could do to help. You get areas of outstanding natural beauty where there is a poor signal but people don’t necessarily want masts. However, we have county council buildings where they can put in infrastructure and we don’t charge them for it, or for putting cables across council property.” Norfolk is now working on making other public assets available to host mobile infrastructure, particularly the police, health services and parish councils. The council sees its preparations for 5G as crucial to supporting the county’s industry specialisms, including agri-tech.

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The percentage of council economic strategies with a clear view of digital technology


The percentage of local plans that make detailed reference to mobile connectivity

kit. Moreover, 74 per cent had not applied for funding to improve connectivity. More than half – 56 per cent – of councils do not have a councillor with specific responsibility for digital issues. Only 10 per cent of council economic strategies offer a clear view of how mobile connectivity is crucial to future economic outcomes. Mobile UK, which compiled the figures, notes with alarm the National Audit Office’s finding last year that local authority spending on planning and development has fallen by more than 50 per cent in real terms since 2010-11, adding that it is crucial that councils have the funding to manage the increasing number of planning applications and additional complexity the technology will bring. Elliott says that although many councils are working towards a connected future “there is still a lag in fully prioritising mobile connectivity”. Mobile UK wants to see all telecommunications equipment assigned as permitted development, a highly controversial proposal in planning circles. Other answers are shown by how some councils are tackling the issue and others are not. Some have audited their estates or applied for economic development funds to improve mobile connectivity, and some have not. Some have digital champions, others do not. Some give clear indications of how mobile connectivity fits into their development plans and economic strategies, some do not. These inconsistencies lead operators to complain that they do not always know where they stand. This adds to the cost and time it takes to deploy mobile infrastructure. They argue that a clear statement of approach to building mobile infrastructure – whether in a local plan, economic strategy or as a stand-alone document – would give operators a better idea of a council’s standpoint and help to ensure that mobile connectivity is considered within every strand of policy thinking.


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The percentage of local authorities without a councillor specifically responsible for digital issues


The percentage of councils that have not audited their assets for hosting digital infrastructure HOW MOBILE OPERATORS ARE GEARING UP FOR 5G

After launching in London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Manchester, Edinburgh and Belfast, EE aims to roll 5G out in more than 100 sites a month. The next tranche of cities comprises Bristol, Coventry, Leicester, Nottingham, Sheffield, Liverpool, Hull, Leeds, Newcastle and Glasgow. Ten more towns and cities announced as initial 5G locations for 2020 include Aberdeen, Cambridge, Derby, Gloucester, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Worcester and Wolverhampton – with more to follow. In July, Vodafone launched

5G services in Glasgow, London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Cardiff and Bristol. It will then target Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Newbury, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington and Wolverhampton. O2 will launch its network later this year, starting with Belfast, London, Cardiff and Edinburgh, before rolling out across the country in 2020 as 5G handsets become widely available. Three is rolling out its 5G network in the second half of 2019 and has committed £2 billion to the move.

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Viability testing at plan-making stage? Proceed with caution By Martin Read

APPG chair Mark Prisk MP (seated centre) spoke of the ultimate need for greater transparency amongst developers in any new approach to viability testing

‘How viable are viability tests?’ was the theme of a recent meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Housing and Planning Chaired by Mark Prisk MP and facilitated by the RTPI, this meeting at Westminster saw much consideration given to the revised NPPF’s aim to bring viability testing forward from application to planmaking stage. The meeting took the form of two primary presentations and further comment from the invited audience. Here are the key points. THE GOVERNMENT PERSPECTIVE

Laurence Martindale, head of local infrastructure at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)

Negotiation slows the system The MHCLG is currently considering the


capacity of the planning system and has been surveying local authorities on the subject. Feedback has been that there is a “real sense” of section 106 planning obligations, and the viability assessments that go with them, “delaying the planning permission and application process”. A process of negotiation and renegotiation of section 106 obligations leads to a lack of accountability to local communities, and their sense that they often do not get from developments what they expected.

Overly complicated “The phrase I heard most is that they [viability assessments] are a dark art. It’s difficult for people to understand what

goes into them, and for local authorities to work with the data they are given.”

Uncertainty for developers Loose phrasing such as “up to 40 per cent affordable housing” gives rise to differing interpretations, affecting developers’ calculations when buying land. “It’s tricky for them, unless they have real clarity upfront, to know how much they should pay for land in order to deliver what’s required.”

Stemming the tide A key MHCLG aim is to shift focus away from having viability negotiations for every planning application of more than 10 units that comes forward, and to put as much of that viability assessment into the plan-making stage as possible. “When authorities make their local plan, we want them to be assessing viability then; to use site and area

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typologies and to get as much information up front about infrastructure and affordable housing requirements, then testing those for viability in the plan-making stage and to use that to set really clear policy requirements.” “The developer then has a much better idea of what’s being asked of them so that they can price that in.”

Digital tool The MHCLG is developing a digital tool so that authorities can put all of their section 106 data online. This will help authorities to benchmark themselves against others. Although not mandatory, there is an expectation that all viability assessments will be published online, together with a top-line executive summary written in plain English. THE DEVELOPER’S VIEW

Matthew Spry, director, Lichfields (having spoken to developer clients about the topic)

Learning from CIL “We’ve had whole plan viability testing in CIL examinations for several years; few think the evidence and testing of that has been of sufficient quality to bear the responsibility of this new approach. Evidence is often weak, typologies don’t work, and there is little genuine engagement with, or indeed by, developers.”

typically have the same kind of information at plan-making stage as they have at application stage. That’s going to be a challenge.”

A lack of embedded knowledge Loose language “Allocations and policies are often expressed quite loosely: ‘This site will accommodate up to X homes’, with the precise quantity based on subjective criteria such as visual impact. Developers should engage with local residents about the design and form of development, but if the plan is being very strict to a precise viability calculus, doesn’t that limit the ability of developers to respond to local comments through the application process?”

Developers want to work with strong local plans “There’s an appetite to work with local plans, but local government has to be positive in presenting a strong vision that developers can come in behind to implement. Most in the development sector would be only too happy if that vision was being set for them by strong local authorities.” THE VIEWS OF OTHER ATTENDEES

Concerning spatial relationships, “Local authority planning officers increasingly have little professional relationship to the place. Authorities without embedded institutional knowledge of what’s gone before, and the way the place has changed over time – the community and politics of the place – will struggle.”

A need for consistency “We don’t talk enough about the assumptions that feed into viability assessments. Assumptions about land value, build costs, specification of buildings, infrastructure costs – that’s where the artistry and gaming of the viability process is. You can’t have policy made on the basis of who can pay the cleverest advisers to do their viability assessments. So, what is the approach to ensuring a consistent, publicly accountable basis for the assumptions that underpin the viability assessments on which basis policy will be written?” OTHER PARTICIPANTS

Helen Hayes MP

Resourcing concerns

“A plan-led approach only works if you have plans. Only 44 per cent of local authorities are covered by a plan adopted less than five years ago. By definition, the rest are so old that in viability terms they’re from another era.”

“I see the rationale [of viability testing at plan-making stage]; it adds more certainty and better scrutiny at that earlier stage; but it effectively injects a whole new work stream into the planmaking process that isn’t there at the moment. It raises questions of resourcing, capacity and expertise, particularly around the political scrutiny of that part of the plan-making process.”

Information shortfall

Political risk

“The plan-making process makes it difficult to have an open and transparent conversation about viability. You rarely have much information on the infrastructure and viability costs at local plan-making stage, and developers generally loathe financing this work until they have confidence that a site will be allocated. The result is that they don’t

There is also an issue of member capacity, “and member engagement is critical. If you look at the way some development-related politics play out over time, you have members making a decision they didn’t properly understand but thought reasonable at the time, only to then be caught in the community backlash about what is actually delivered

Plans first, viability later

on the ground. So you’re loading quite a lot more political risk into the local planmaking process”.

n Planners often do not have the time on the ground to deal with large-scale applications requiring viability tests. A senior planner can often have more experience than his or her entire team of younger planners combined. n ‘Hot-desking’ in planning departments has meant less face-to-face interaction; there is less “support, nourishment and knowledge” from other team members in the office. n Standardised assumptions for local plan viability requirements would help speed up the system n Determining what constitutes proportionate viability testing at planmaking stage will be key to its success. n The RTPI acts as secretariat for the Housing and Planning APPG and has produced its own summary of the event. The next meeting, focused on neighbourhood planning, was scheduled for 25 June.

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No stone unturned: 5 gems from the Minerals Planning Conference By Laura Edgar On a sunny spring day in Manchester, more than 150 people attended the RTPI and the Minerals Products Association’s (MPA) conference. They converged to consider the many large infrastructure projects in the pipeline and the target to build 300,000 homes a year in England alone – and the steady supply of minerals that are needed to deliver them. Here are The Planner’s key takeaways: 1. The importance of the industrial strategy The scale of the minerals industry is “vitally important” to the local and rural economy, according to Dai Larner, executive director, regeneration, at High Peak Borough Council and Staffordshire Moorlands District Council. In terms of mineral product and growth, Larner said the link to the industrial strategy is “critical because it needs to feed into the local industrial strategies and how quarrying and mineral products are seen as a sector that’s important not just in its own right, particularly in rural areas, but in underpinning the infrastructure requirements of the country as a whole”. Nigel Jackson, chief executive at the MPA, stressed the importance of having a good relationship between the mineral extraction industry and the construction sector. “We’re fortunate that we have developed a UK mineral strategy [produced by the MPA] which talks to the industrial strategy.” 2. We need a statement of need MPA evidence suggests that the 10 year average replenishment rate of minerals is falling: sand and gravel stocks hover


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Conference delegates heard that at least five billion tonnes of construction materials will be needed in the UK over the next 25 years

at around 50 per cent and extraction application numbers are low but approval rates are high (at about 90 per cent). Jackson emphasised how important it is to not assume supply, but rather to plan, monitor and manage it. The MPA has identified that five billion tonnes of mainly construction materials will be needed over the next 25 years. The collective view of the industry is that a national statement of need is required. “It is in the national interest to ensure that the UK economy is supplied with the minerals that it needs,” something stronger than the NPPF, Jackson explained. “I think we deserve that high-level strategic recognition.”

3. Temporary gains are still gains David Lowe, ecology, historic environment and landscape team leader at Warwickshire County Council, said minerals would be supported when their extraction helped to support biodiversity net gain in the county. He advised front-loading biodiversity improvements in schemes because it could save money. For Lowe, mineral sites are exciting, as he considers them to be “temporal land uses”. Biodiversity enhancement can be done in the last five years [or] last 10 years of a phase. “I won’t penalise you for taking it back out again.” He urged the minerals industry to draw out as many gains as possible, use


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the site as a nature reserve – even if it is going to go back to agricultural use, “at least you have done some good”. 4. Railway versus roads David Young, business network manager, freight, at Network Rail, made the case for transporting minerals by rail. “This is the area where town planners can help us bring new terminals in so we get some congestion off the road.” Simon Emery, senior economic development & spatial planning manager at Highways England, argued for Network Rail and Highways England to work more closely together through more sharing of growth forecasts, more sharing of freight project and business case information, and more sharing of details relating to the potential impact on the road network of proposed rail freight enhancements.


5. The environmental balance The climate crisis was a key theme at the conference, as speakers discussed extracting minerals here in the UK. Rob Murfin, director of planning at Northumberland County Council, noted that between 10 and 12 million tonnes of coal is used here – but just two-anda-half-tonnes is extracted here. “Clearly, if you look at the complete climate change impact of importing coal from South America to the UK, just the transport elements outweigh the total carbon impact of extracting and using coal in this country.” Speakers emphasised the need to protect the environment. Victoria Fletcher, environment and heritage manager at Oxfordshire County Council, spoke about the OxCam Expressway. “There is an awful lot of product that is going to be needed in this area in the future” and we have to protect AONBs, SACS and SSSIs, she said. Chris France, director of planning at North York Moors National Park, said that these are tensions the planning system is there to resolve: “the need to protect the environment – and the high level of landscape protection we have in this country – and the need to provide jobs and resources for the country to thrive.”

News in brief Environment secretary Michael Gove has committed £10 million to planting 130,000 trees in England’s urban areas. Grants will be made through the Urban Tree Challenge Fund over the next two years as the government looks to plan for one million urban trees by 2022. The Forestry Commission will administer the fund. Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust (BMHT) has published plans to build 2,708 new homes by 2029. The 10-year programme includes a mix of housing styles. Larger family-style homes will be built using traditional construction methods while modular homes will allow Birmingham City Council to unlock previously unused, smaller sites. Homes will be built for both sale and affordable rent. The Planning Inspectorate has accepted two Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects for examination. Highways England is looking to improve three existing roundabout junctions on the A38 in the Midlands. The three junctions are: the A5111 Derby Kingsway Junction, the A38/A52 Markeaton Junction, and A38/A61 Little Eaton Junction. Norfolk County Council’s proposed scheme for a new dual carriageway highway crossing of the River Yare in Great Yarmouth would connect the A47 at Harfrey’s Roundabout to the west of the River Yare with the A1234 South Denes Road on the eastern side. Homes England has agreed funding deals worth £55 million to deliver 4,000 homes across England. The funding for 12 local authorities has been awarded through the government’s £450 million Local Authority Accelerated Construction Programme. The money is expected to support infrastructure-enabling works, planning and technical expertise, and site remediation.

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Report proposes public development corporations and planning ‘juries’ By Laura Edgar Seven people have come together to write a report, commissioned by the Labour Party, that aims to put land at the heart of the political debate. Land for the Many makes a number of recommendations for how land in the UK is used and governed, including: n Public development corporations with the power to buy and develop land in the public interest to create new towns. These would not replace private developers altogether but instead would act as the ‘prime mover’ in the land market, working with planning ning authorities, Homess England and

landowners to prepare sites for housing, new towns, garden cities and urban regeneration. n Reform of the Land Compensation Act 1973 so that development corporations and other public authorities can acquire prices closer to its current use value, instead of its potential future residential value. n Allowing locak loc authorities to fees, set and vary planning p for increasing them t applications raised more applicatio once or when than on advice or policy has been ignored. n The creation of Community Land Trusts and Community Led Housing. H

n A Community Right to Buy based on the Scottish model introduced in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. n The convening of planning ‘juries’ comprising members of the public who would be called up at random to help inform local and neighbourhood plans “at the earliest possible stage”. The authors of Land for the Many have contributed in a personal capacity and in their own time. The report does not necessarily reflect the positions of the organisations for which they work. The authors are: George Monbiot (editor), Robin Grey, Tom Kenny, Laurie Macfarlane, Ann Powell-Smith, Guy Shrubsole, and Beth Stratford. n More detail on Land for the Many can be found on The Planner’s website: bit. ly/planner0719-Labour

Masterplan approved for expansion of St Andrews Fife Council has ratified the masterplan for a significant expansion of the historic university town of St Andrews with hundreds of new homes and land for university and employment use. Proposals also include a care home, a secondary school, a hotel and a local centre with shops. The 90 hectares of farmland involved has already been identified as part of a strategic development area (SDA) allocated in both the local development plan and the sub-regional Tayplan. Overall, 1,470 new houses and flats are due to be provided in the SDA, which will


be developed in phases over the next 20 years. A total of 370 homes were approved last year. Now the council has approved planning in principle for a further 900 – 30 per cent of which would be affordable. Planning officers said the submitted development framework “proposed a development which would have a strong

relationship with the existing settlement and would create a strong sense of place. A high-quality development is proposed within individual character areas and a high degree of landscaping and open space”. Officials accepted that there would be a detrimental impact in terms of landscape and visual amenity but said that this was reasonable given the scale of the proposals outlined by the developer, St Andrews West LLP consortium.

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Major housing scheme on County Down peninsula gains approval

Red light for M4 relief road at Newport Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford (above) has ruled out construction of a stretch of new M4 motorway around Newport, citing economic and environmental issues. The plan would have seen a 14-mile motorway built to relieve traffic congestion around Newport. It would have involved building across the protected wetlands south of the city known as the Gwent Levels. The £1.6 billion relief road had been proposed by the administration’s predecessor and was recommended for approval by Bill Wadrup, the planning inspector who held a public inquiry into the proposals. He has since died. He contended that there was “a compelling case for the scheme to be implemented to relieve an acute problem on the strategic motorway network”. “It is accordingly my view that the scheme is in the public interest and should be allowed to proceed despite the sensitive landscape and environment through which it would pass,” said Wadrup in his report. Originally proposed in 1991 as a solution to congestion at the Brynglas Tunnels, the new six-lane motorway would have stretched from Castleton, west of Newport, to Magor, east of the city. It would have replaced the existing M4, which would have been downgraded. Ministers acknowledge that there is a traffic problem at Newport and are setting up a commission of transport experts to advise on measures to counter the congestion.

I M AG E S | G E T T Y / A L A M Y / I STO C K

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A large residential development of nearly 160 homes has been approved for the County Down seaside village of Millisle, on the outer Ards peninsula. Ards and North Down Borough Council told The Planner that it has agreed reserved matters for the proposals. The scheme has a long and somewhat convoluted planning history partly because of uncertainty

over the original outline permission, which dates back decades. The site comprises two different areas within the settlement limit of the village separated by the existing Seaview Caravan Park, which has many mobile homes. The scheme will see 122 houses (a mix of semi-detached and detached properties and townhouses) built on the waterfront location alongside 36 flats.

Cork tower appeal dismisal dismays conservationists An Bórd Pleanála has dismissed an appeal by An Taisce, Ireland’s National Trust, against proposals for a 15-storey office tower in central Cork. Called The Prism, the tower was originally approved by city councillors against the advice of senior planners. The conservation body said it was “extremely disappointed” by An Bord Pleanála’s decision to approve it. The 6,000 square metre tower, inspired by New York’s Flatiron building, was designed by Reddy Architects + Urbanism and is earmarked for a site next to the bus station and bounded by Clontarf Street, Deane Street and Lower Oliver Plunkett Street. An Taisce said: “This building will have a major adverse impact on the historic city centre, which we feel can be redeveloped with quality contemporary architecture without

resorting to tall buildings more appropriate to the downriver docklands setting.” The body said the government’s revised building height guidelines introduced last year “mandated” the planning agency board to approve a tall building “regardless of the location and the many adverse impacts that were highlighted during the planning and appeal stages”. “Clearly, these guidelines are a major backward step in proper and sustainable planning in our cities and towns and need to be amended without delay by the minister to be more site-specific.”

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Opinion onn Planning power to the people? – When I was 19 I broke my wrist playing five-a-side. It happened on the day before I was due at the Old Bailey on jury service, during which I ended up serving on what became a month-long fraud case. Two weeks in, my doctors wanted to remove the cast. I approached the usher and explained how I’d been invited into hospital first thing the following day. Right, he asked, when do you think you’ll get here? Around 11.00am, I casually replied. OK, he said, see you then. I still remember the shock I felt when I arrived; a naive teenager fully realising for the first time the impact of his absence. The judge, lawyers, witnesses and fellow jurors – the entire machinery of justice – had been sitting around twiddling its thumbs, unable to perform its crucial social function for two hours because a couple of weeks back I’d fumbled a shot and landed awkwardly.

Martin Read The unique sense and weight of responsibility associated with jury service still resonates with me today. So naturally, the idea of the public being compelled to serve on a form of planning ‘jury service’ – as expounded in the Labour-commissioned report Land for the Many – got my attention. The report’s authors believe that by obliging participation in the planning process they can broaden the range of voices participating. They make the reasonable

argument that it is too easy for interested parties and other ‘loud voices’ to dominate proceedings; that by calling up other local people they can introduce greater balance to local and neighbourhood planmaking, adding valuable and unique local character to the conversation. (“Any attempts to increase community participation in planning must also recognise that there is seldom, if ever, a homogenous local community”.) To my mind, the idea hits rough ground with the inevitable requirement that such ‘jurors’ be randomly selected. Choosing from a local pool is fine, but random selection does not, by definition, guarantee the


wider social participation being sought. Then there’s the idea that people, however theoretically interested in the result, will take seriously their new plan-making responsibilities. It is laudable to seek involvement of “those who lack social power” but it does not follow that they will, if selected, have the necessary commitment. And what of the time required of these planning jurors? How might that be compensated? Still, the idea of planning juries does have merit. Perhaps some keyboard warriors, all righteousness and bluster on their local forums, will take a more considered line when called to serve on planmaking duty. And perhaps when a randomly selected participant provides feedback to the wider community about their experience, more will relish the prospect of taking part. Best, then, not to be guilty of dismissing this particular case for change.

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£120 – UK £175 – Overseas Average net circulation 18,373 (January-December 2016) (A further 5,700 members receive the magazine in digital form) © The Planner is published on behalf of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) by Redactive Publishing Ltd (RPL), 78 Chamber Street, London E1 8BL This magazine aims to include a broad range of opinion about planning issues and articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the RTPI nor should such opinions be relied upon as statements of fact. All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced, transmitted or stored in any print or electronic format, including but not limited to any online service, any database or any part of the internet, or in any other format in whole or in part in any media whatsoever, without the prior written permission of the publisher. While all due care is taken in writing and producing this magazine, neither RTPI nor RPL accept any liability for the accuracy of the contents or any opinions expressed herein. Printed by PCP Ltd.

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LO U I S E B R O O K E ­ S M I T H O B E

O Opinion

Home thoughts from abroad Fresh from a trip to East Africa, Louise BrookeSmith wonders whether it’s a formal planning system or the social and political forces that influence planning that actually create places I am a travel junkie and, given an opportunity, I am off – boarding pass in one hand, suitcase in the other. This time it has been to Tanzania and Malawi. These are nations that saw a post-colonial independence euphoria in the 1960s, new flags waving and promises of riches beyond dreams. Inevitably, this was followed by the realisation that the vision was more difficult to achieve than they expected. I could wax lyrical on the influence of the British Empire (or the French, Belgian or Portuguese) but I’ll leave the history lessons to another day. But I’ve been more interested in how different governance and political controls have influenced the shape of where and how people live. Thirty years ago I had the opportunity to study first-hand how urbanisation and planning regimes in East Africa had been affected by tribal and colonial land rights, and then how independence had taken Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania respectively forward. I arrived in the 1980s at the British High Commission in Nairobi to ‘register’ and explain where I would be working, only to be told that they couldn’t confirm my safety. So I gamely ventured by rail, VW Kombi* and hitching, and had the experience of my life. In addition to seeing civil war up close in Uganda, I saw the


return of the many East African Asians chucked out by Idi Amin a few years earlier. Kenya was also seeing continued tribal unrest mixed with land rights disputes and clashes with white farmers over land ownership all coming to a head – a pattern to be repeated later in Zimbabwe. So what of the cityscape and urban form 30 years on? It’s clear that Kenya and Tanzania have seen some impressive investment, be it new Chinesefunded railways or wellplanned public bus services. But beyond the shiny lights of big cities, the poor are still poor and, while the impact of 4G might mean that everyone has a smartphone or two, drainage, power supplies and the roads are as bad as ever. Village life is still tough. Land rights remain the cause of unrest and tension. And ‘town planning’ hasn’t really moved

“MOST COMMONWEALTH NATIONS RETAIN SOME SEMBLANCE OF THE MOTHER SHIP THAT WAS THE 1947 ACT” on since the adaptation of the UK’s 1947 Town and Country Planning Act into Swahili in each of these countries. The publication Why Planning Does Not Work by Tumsifi Jonas Nnkya caught my eye in the airport bookshop at Dar Es Salam. It looks at land rights, land use planning, community involvement and housing programmes in northern Tanzania. Countless scholarly hours have been given to writing up every theory under the sun to explain land use strategy and how to make it work for all elements of any community.

But, in the end, people respond to basic human needs: a roof over our heads, access to clean water and services, and proximity to transport, schooling and local markets. Everything else develops with affluence or investment: the bigger house on bigger, smarter plots with elaborate gardens in the right part of town; space for private cars; shopping and leisure malls. A ‘Milton Keynes’ for every part of sub-Saharan Africa – or so some would like. As for planning? Most Commonwealth nations retain some semblance of the mother ship that was the 1947 act. Many have spent time and money on top-down strategic development plans that are waved through at a regional or local level but rarely enforced. Instead, a mix of market forces, common sense, clever legal argument and political influence rule the day. Not so different from the UK. *Kombis: a widely used form of public transport in East Africa

Dr Louise Brooke-Smith OBE is a development and strategic planning consultant and a built environment non-executive director The team here at The Planner congratulates Louise on being awarded the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list ‘in recognition of her work in the built environment and diversity and inclusion’.

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12/06/2019 09:35

Quote unquote I M AG E S | I S T O C K / G E T T Y / RO L L S ROYC E


“I propose a Northern Citizens’ assembly. Proper devolution is always going to be secondary until we’ve mobilised citizens around a very good vision.” ED COX, DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC SERVICES AND COMMUNITIES AT THE RSA, ON HOW A NEW FORM OF GOVERNANCE COULD BENEFIT THE NORTH OF ENGLAND

“It might not seem like it, but most developers want to work with the grain of a plan-led system” MATTHEW SPRY OF LICHFIELDS ON VIABILITY TESTING AT THE PLANMAKING STAGE


15 Quote Unquote_July 2019_The Planner 15

“At times the exercise of identifying the degree of harm within the category of less than substantial harm can appear like trying to count how many angels can dance on the head of a pin” INSPECTOR S R G BAIRD, CASE REF 3189592, WAXES LYRICAL MORE OF THIS PLEASE, INSPECTORS

“ “We should be looking at the spaces between our buildings and asking: is this the best se this space?” space? way to use LUCY SAUNDERS,, CONSULTANT IN PUBLIC LTHY STREETS,, AT THE HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVERING HEALTHY TCPA’S ‘DELIVERING S WITH GARDEN PLACES Y PRINCIPLES’ CITY


12/06/2019 11:31


O Opinion


Aude Bicquelet-Lock is the RTPI’s deputy head of policy & research and visiting professor in the WHO Collaborating Centre for Healthy Urban Environments at UWE Bristol

Gender inequality is still harming planning

The case for gender equality in planning has been made by two plannin generations of women who in the 1960s and 1970s battled hard to have their ideas heard, their work respected and – at the basic level – to pursue a career in a profession notoriously dominated by men. These women paved the way for equal pay, equal recognition and equal opportunities for women and other minorities to progress ain the planning profession. Today, we know that a diverse workforce is competitive. We know that a diverse workforce delivers outcomes that have greater impact. We know that gender equality is crucial to planning because planning is about caring for communities of men and women. Yet despite 60 years of feminism, evidence and discourses about equality, inclusion and diversity, sexism (with racism and other forms of discrimination) persists. A recent study conducted by the Women in Planning network shows that men in private planning consultancies fill 80 per cent of leadership positions. A series of qualitative interviews recently undertaken by the RTPI with female planners working across private, public and academic sectors suggest that women must still deal with sexist comments and behaviour – from being shushed and patted on the head to being withheld from responsibilities upon return from maternity leave.

Martin Herbert is director, planning, for WYG

How diversification could help to solve the UK housing crisis

Women are less likely to be put forward for senior promotions. In taking the lion’s share of caring responsibilities at home, they are more likely to suffer from lack of their employer’s family-friendly policies. In these interviews, women said that rampant sexism sometimes had disastrous effects not only on their career progression but also on their family life, mental health and well-being. This is simply unacceptable. While the 1990s and 2000s had seen progress and more women joining the profession, austerity means that recent years have seen a rollback from progress. Gender inequality and sexism are still alive and well in planning. There is a real need, then, to move beyond normative discourses and recommendations to action plans and policy implementation. This could include: carefully monitoring office cultures; setting up safe, confidential, and professional systems for reporting sexist behaviour; defining key performance indicators and publishing progress towards gender equality across organisations. Actions taken will need to be underpinned by transparency, leadership and a genuine commitment to address gender and other discriminatory practices. Aude presented the survey ‘Women in Planning: Past, Present and Future’ at Leeds Planning School in May:





By now, a clear consensus persists on the importance of diverse housing to address different community needs. But we must remember that housing diversification needs to expand beyond the scope of affordability if we’re going to create truly healthy, inclusive and safe spaces. Although it’s good to see the NPPF calling for at least 10 per cent of homes in major development sites to be available for affordable home ownership, housing must also cater to many other groups: Build to Rent, the elderly, students, self-build, and so on. While it is a bit hackneyed to say it, there is no ‘one-sizefits-all’ solution. Varying types, tenures and designs of homes are needed to meet these groups’ needs in new towns and extensions. The g o ve r n m e n t’ s independent review of housing build-out rates, led by Sir Oliver Letwin, confirmed as much, finding that varied housing on large sites would increase market absorption rates of new homes. The main challenge is that there is no definitive mechanism in policy for delivering these needs outside of affordable housing. There’s good reason for this given justifiable opposition from developers to overly prescriptive requirements that may stifle viability and build-out rates. And because developers and local authorities often disagree over the calculation of a viable

percentage of affordable housing, strict requirements for varying proportions of housing would only exacerbate friction, especially on large sites part of decades-long programmes. The MHCLG is likely to issue more planning guidance on diversification so large sites can support a wide range of homes and faster build-out. For the reasons above, however, we shouldn’t expect more than a general call for diverse housing. That diversification is on the g o ve r n m e n t’ s agenda at all deserves applause because of its potential to speed up build-out on big sites. The Letwin Review notes the likely added benefit of improving design quality and creating more attractive places. Taking small steps towards this goal is preferable to an overly prescriptive approach that could present a minefield of practical complications. It is hard to predict what the detailed mix of thousands of homes will look like in a development of over 10 years. Disagreements between councils and developers over flexibility versus fixing day-one details would hamper efforts to deliver vital housing to the government’s ambitious timescales. There is a great eagerness to ensure that developments are meeting every group’s needs, but it must be tempered by the need to overcome delays to delivery.


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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


Michael Phillips is principal planning consultant for Dulas

Government must act on public support for renewables

are increasingly concerned People ar change, and, as the about climate c recent public attitude survey from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy shows, support for renewable energy is at 84 per cent. But the regulatory and policy vacuum around onshore renewables means that project deployment is at its slowest for a decade. Onshore renewables remain excluded from auctions for new power generation contracts, subsidy support has been withdrawn, and local councils can refuse both new and the repowering of onshore projects, despite nods from planning officers. The government must acknowledge public opinion and increase policy and planning support to deliver the renewables capacity that will keep the UK on a meaningful carbon reduction trajectory. Life extension and repowering of existing renewable energy projects is critical to support the country’s energy ambitions. More than 60 onshore wind farms will pass the 20-year operations mark within the next five years, and repowering could increase existing capacity threefold with new, more efficient technology. But repowering an existing renewable energy project is not as simple as returning to the original, approved application. The absence of subsidy support has made it necessary for developers



to increase scale and capacity to harness more power – but rises in efficiency and capacity are proportional to increases in turbine size and changes in farm layout. For planners, these changes can usually be mitigated by supplementary environmental assessments, yet the disconnect between supportive planning offices and the councils that have the final say is holding onshore renewables hostage. Developer appetite for repowering remains, but there is much uncertainty over the response of local councils to applications. Their support is essential in planning for new projects and extending existing ones. Wales is tackling this by shifting the weight of decision-making for wind farms of 10 megawatts or more from councils to ministers. But England remains at a standstill in its support for onshore wind. To address this, planning authorities must add greater weight to the merits of low carbon proposals and work with applicants to make the effects of renewable energy developments acceptable, as advised under section 154b of the NPPF. Although the country has a strong appetite for onshore renewable energy, the current lack of policy support from the UK government means that the prospects for addressing climate change are under threat.


Sarah James MRTPI is policy and membership officer for Civic Voice

Communities are the key to planning without conflict

In early May, I was invited to speak to the All-Party Parliamentary P li Group (APPG) for Civic Societies, where I presented Civic Voice’s recent research that responds to the government’s ‘Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission’. I explained that 71 per cent of respondents to the research believe that we are not building enough homes in England. Civic Voice’s members recognise and accept that we have a housing crisis. This may surprise some who regard civic societies as part of a Nimby movement and one of the reasons why we aren’t building enough homes. This is far from the case. Over two months, we received 750 responses and had face-to-face discussions with more than 250 people, so it is clear that communities care about the design of new homes and the places that we, as planners, are creating. Speaking to the housing minister, among others, at the APPG, I also explained that 98 per cent of our members scrutinise planning applications each month. In the main they support, or accept without comment, about 80 per cent of all applications. It is the 20 per cent of applications that they do respond to that might give the impression that civic societies as Nimbys. This is because we want better quality and our members are not afraid to call out poor-quality development.

But it is in this 20 per cent where we see battle lines drawn. For too many, planning is about confrontation rather than a process of collaboration to achieve the best development. The current system does not facilitate meaningful participation with communities, who are having to engage with increasingly complex applications. This must change if we are to get anywhere near the government’s annual target of 300,000 homes, as Kit Malthouse MP has repeatedly confirmed. Our members accept that more housing is required. But how we achieve this must change. Developers, LPAs and communities must work together in a collaborative manner to remove confrontation and increase certainty in the process. How? Through introducing a preapplication consultation stage into the planning system, requiring developers to engage much earlier with communities, prior to submission – the earlier in the process, the better. This could be brought forward through secondary legislation. Central government has a vital role too, in valuing planners, and ensuring that the resources, skills and expertise are in place locally to bring forward high-quality development in partnership with communities. Greater collaboration will ensure that communities feel part of the solution to the nation’s housing crisis.


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12/06/2019 09:21

Interpreting the NPPF The New National Planning Policy Framework

Interpreting the NPPF The New National Planning Policy Framework Alistair Mills

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11/06/2019 12:08

In search of Skeffington

On the 50th anniversary of the landmark People and Planning report, Je Bishop goes in search of SkeďŹƒngton in the modern-day planning landscape

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50 yea 50 ears rs of Sk Skeffi effi e ffing ngto ton

On the 50th anniversary of the landmark P e o p l e a n d P l a n n i n g re p o r t , J e ff B i s h o p g o e s i n s e a rc h o f S k e ffi n g t o n i n t h e m o d e r n - d a y planning landscape

The Th e ye y ar a is 19 1969 69 9, 50 yea ears rs ago go.. Co Conc n orrde hass jus ust ha had d i s ma it m id den n fli ligh ght, t, ‘Th The e Tr Trou ou ubl bles ess’ in Nor orth ther ern n Ir Irel elan and d ar are e star st arrting tiing n , th the e vo oti ting n age has bee ng een n lo lowe were re ed fr from om 21 to 18, and a go ove vern rn nme m nt com mmi m tttee led by Ar A th thur ur Ske keff ffin ingt gton on MP ha hass ju ust pro odu duce c d Pe ce P op ple and d Pla lann n in nn ing g, a re repo port rt on ‘p ‘pub ubli lic c pa p art rtic icip ic ipat ip atio at ion’ io n in pllan n’ an-m -mak akin ak in ng. g Whatt we no Wh ow ca call ll the h Ske k ff ffin ingt g on gt o Rep epor ortt is som omet ethi h ng hi toda to d y’ y’ss pl plan anni an ning ni ng g stu t de dent ntss arre sttil nt illl ta aug ught ht abo b ut u as a ma mark rk ker e o the ‘Lo on Long and Win Lo ndi ding n Roa ng oad’ d’ (on one e of the h las astt so song ng gs by T e Be Th B at atle l s, als le lso o fr from om 196 969) 9 tha 9) hatt pa part rtic i ip ic pat a io ion n ha hass ta take ken n ssiinc ce th hos ose e he ead ady da days y. ys Th T The he repo re epo p rt r was as in pa part rtt an es e ta tabl blis i hm is h en entt re r sp s on onse se to th the e ra adi d ca cali liism lism m of th the e 19 1 60 60s, s off s, fe errin ing g pe peop op ple e a voi oice c in pl ce plan an-maki ma king ki n yett cap ng appi p ng pi g the heir ir inf ir n lu uen ence c on fi ce fina n l de na eci cisi sion si ons, on s, stil st iilll se seen as be ettterr taken ak ken by pr prof ofes of essi es siion nal alss an and d co coun unci ncill llor ll ors. or s And An d th hiiss te en nssiion n wass hig i hllig ight hted ht ed aga gain in n, al also so o in 19 1969 69,, in 69 S er Sh erry ry Arn nst s ei ein’ n s ar arti ticl ti c e iin ntr to od duc ucin ing in g he h r tto ote emi mic c ‘llad adde de er of o part pa rrttiic cip pat a io on’ n . Wh What at the e Ske keff f in ff ingt g on gt n Rep e or ortt wa as prrop p o ound ou und n in ing g sa s t ba bare rely ly hal ly a fw f ay up he herr la ladd dder e , as wha at sh she e te erm me ed d ‘tto ok ke en niism m’. ’ Pe Peop eop ple le and Pla ann nnin ng did nott, ho howe weve we v r, ve r, eme merg rge e ou ut of the h blue bl ue or so sole l ly y as a re resu s lt su lt of sh shif ifti ting n soc ng ocia iall tr tren ends d . It ds I buiilt on tth he work work wo k of th he ea arl r ie er Pl Pa an nni ning ng Ad dv vis i orry Gr Grou ou up th hat set e out

princi prin cipl p es of pllan an-m -mak akin ing g st stil illl un unde d rl de rlyi y ng yi g muc uch h of o tod oday ay’s ay ’ss prac pr acti t ce e. Pa Part rtic icip ipat atio ion n ha had d allso had at le leas a t a mi as m no norr me ment n io nt ion n in leg egis isla lati tion on a yea earr or two bef efor ore. or e e. Yet, Ye t, desspi pite te the sta tatu tuss off Ske eff ffin in ngt gton on n’s rep epor ort, or t, few w of to toda da ay’ ys stud st uden ents ts or prrac acti titi tion oner erss co coul ulld qu quot ote ot e an any y of its t key ey pri rinc ncip nc i le ip less of par a ti tici cipa pati pa tion on n; it i is se een as a ma ark kerr, no ot a so sour urrce of ever ev eryd yday ay y gui uida da anc ce.. Thi h s iss unf nfor orrtu una nate te bec ecau a se au se,, e ev ven if wh ven hat a Skef Sk effi fing ngto ng ton n pr prop opou o nd ou nded ed d mig ight h (if wro ht rong ngly ng ly)) be ly b con onsi side si d re de red d toke to keni nist sttic ic,, pr prac ac cti t ce e bettwe w en n 196 969 9 an and d 20 2 19 9 hass too oft ften en n hard ha rd dly rea ach ched ed eve ven n th that a min at nim imal all lev evel ell. Befo Be fore fo re tak akin i g a le in leap ap to 2 20 019 019 19 – to wh what at we mi m ght ght stil gh sttil illl le ear a n from fr om Ske keff ffin ingt gton on,, as wel on elll as som ome e mo m re rec e en nt le ess sson onss – on wher wh erre ha hass th hat lon ng an and d wiind ndin in ng ro road ad tak ken n us siinc nce e 19 1969 6 ? 69

Hiig H gh hwa w ys and n byw yway ays ay ays In ter erms rms m of ma m in nst stre eam pla ann n in ing pr prac ac cti t ce c , Sk kef effi effi fing ng gtto on was al wa was almo mo most ost ig gn nor ored e . Th ed Ther her e e we erre e int nter e es er esti tiing n ini niti tiat a iiv at ves and d ‘exp ‘e xp per erim im men nttss’ in par a ttiici ici c pa pati tiion on in th t e 119 970 0s, mainl aiinl nly y ai aime m ed me att tac a ackl klin ng pr p ob oble lem le m isssues su uess, arrea as an a d co omm m un unit itie ies. ie s. Th ho oug u h show sh owin ow i g th in he be bene ne n efi fits ts of gi givi viing g ‘th the e pu ubl b ic’ ic c’ (n now o ad aday ayss w ay we e say ay

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50 years ea ars s of S Sk keffing gto ton n

‘c com ommu mu muni uniitty y’)) morre of of a voi oice ce,, th hes ese e ha ad al a mo m stt no in nfl flue uen ue nc ce on o n gen ener eral er all prra act c ice. ice. ic e Perh Pe rh hap ps su urp pri r siin ng gly l , so ome me initi nitiiat ni ativ iv ves e wer e e fu und nded ed by go ove ern nm me ent n , no n tta abl b y tth he wo w rk k of To ony y Gib i so on, whi hich ch h ev ven nttu ually ally al l bec e am a ew wh h hat a we st at stil illl kn il know ow tod day y as ‘P Pla ann nnin ing g ffo or R Re eal a ’. Bu utt tha at wa w s sse een n (ag agai a n wrron ai o gl gly) y) as so sole l ly for le o de d eprrived iv ved d com mmu muni n ti ni t es e , so s bar arel e y re el ele leva vant va nt to ‘o ‘ord rdin rd inar nar a y’ y pla lace ces. s s. IItt was a in fa fact ctt 25 ye year a s be ar befo f re re any nyth thin th in ng st s ar arte ted te d to cha hang n e ng att alll sig a igni nifi ni fica fi cant ca ntly nt l , wi ly with tth h two w sid ide e ro road ad ds. The e fir irst stt wass som ome e rese re sear se arrch th ha at I le led d ffo or th he th then en n Con onse serv se rvat rv ativ at iv ve go g ve ern rnme ment n in nt th he ea earl rly y 1990 19 990 0s in into t ‘in to invo volv vo lv vem men ent’ t’’ (th t e te term rm m ‘pa part rttic icip ipat ip atio at i n’ io n ha ad di disa sapp sa ppea pp ea are ed by y the hen) n .T n) Th he re ese sear a ch was ar a pub bli lish sh hed d as Co omm mmun u itty In un I vo volv l em lv emen e t in en in Pla ann n in ing g an nd De Deve v lo ve l pm pmen en nt bu b ut, t, de esspi pite te sho owi wing ng g the ben e ef efit itss – fo it or al all, l, inc n lu ludi ding di ng the deve de v lo ve lopm pm men nt in ndust du usttry y – of we ell ll-d -des -d e ig es gne n d an nd ma mana na age ged d invo in v lv vo lvem emen em en nt,, the gov over e nm er men entt ch c os ose e no nott to telll an anyb ybod yb ody y i ha it ad d pub ubliish shed ed it. I was It a the h n 110 0 or so o yea ears rs lat ater e bef er efor ore or e th that at sid de ro road ad joi oine ned d th he ma main in n roa o d wh w en the New Lab bou ourr go gove vern r me rn ment nt dus uste ted of offf th he re ese earrch h and use ed it it,, al a on ng wi with th muc uch h ot othe h r ma he mate teri rial al, to pote po tent te nttia all lly y sh shif ifft in invo v lv vo vem emen e t up en p the lad adde derr th thro roug ugh h th he 20 2004 04 pllan p nni ning ng act ct.. Th This i int is ntro r du ro uce ced d ‘s ‘sta tate t me te ment n s of com nt ommu muni nity y in nv vo olv lvem emen em e t’’ (SC en SCIs Iss) an nd a wh w ol ole e se s ri ries es of ne new w re requ quir irem emen nts a ou ab o t in invo volv lvem em men e t – no n t ju just st abo bout ut pla lann-ma m ki ma king ng but als l o (iif mini mi n ma ni m ll lly) y) abo b ut pre r -a -app ppli lica cati tion on com ommu muni nity ty inv nvol olve veme ment n. nt Th hat a leg egis isla is lati la tion ti on was sup uppo port rted ed by a wh w ol ole e ra raft ft of of ofte ten n ve very ry de eta tail iled ed d gui uida d nc da n e. Afte Af te er th the e in i it itia iall ex ia exci ciite eme ment n , ho nt howe weve ver, r thi hiss to too o al also so fai aile led d to gen e ui uine nely ly aff f ec ectt ma ain inst stre ream re am m pra ract ctic ic ce. Desspi pite te the hug uge prrom omot otio ion n gi give ven n th thro roug ugh h th the e 20 2004 04 act to th the id idea ea of ‘front ntload lo adin ing’ g inv vol olve veme ment nt,, re nt rese s ar a ch h has sho hown tha hat pl p an a ne ners sttil illl sa satt (a (and nd d stiill sit it)) in loc o ke ked d ro oom ms, s pro odu duci c ng g isssue uess an and d op pti t on onss pa pape pers pe r , pu rs p bl blis ishi h ng hi g the hem m fo forr ‘c ‘con onsu sult ltatio on’ n and d tak a in ing g co ove er wa ait itin ing in g fo forr th the e in nev vittab able le fla l k. The sup uppo pose sed d pu push sh towa to wa ard ds pr p e--ap a pl p ic icat atio io on in involv lv vem emen nt di died d an al almo most st tot otal al deat de ath, h, whi hile l mos le ostt SC SCIs I sat on n sh shel elve vess ga gath ther e in er ing g du d st st. The Th e se eco c n nd d sid i e ro road ad als lso o st star arte te ed of offf in the mid d-1 -199 990s 0s and ag gai a n th hro roug ug gh wo w rk by my y col olle leag ag gue uess an and d me me.. Wo W rk r in ing g on an in niittia i ti tive ve e com mmiiss s io ione n d by the ne h Cou unt ntry ry ysi side de Com mmi miss s io ss ion, n we n, inve in v nt ve n ed d ‘viill llag age e de d si sign gn n sta tate teme m nt me nts’ s – per s’ e ha haps ps the e fir irst st tim me in n the h wor o ld d tha at lo loca ca al co omm m un nittie iess co coul ulld pr prod o uc od u e st stat a ut at utor ory y pllan a n niing n doc cum umen en nts t. T iss farr mor Th ore e ra adi dica c l se ca sett off ide eas diid get ent nthu husi hu sias si assti tic c su up pp porrt fr f om om the gov over errnmen e nm men e t an and d to t ok off f spe eed edil ily; il y; mor oe th than h n 2,0 ,000 00 0 0 sta tate te teme eme entts ar a e no n w in pla ace ce.. That Th att sid de ro road ad too ad o k 17 1 yea e rs to jo join in the h mai a n ro r ad ad,, wh when en v ll vi l ag ge de d siign g sta ate eme m nt n s le led d on o to pa pari rish s and tow sh wn pl p an ns an nd then then th e bot o h to t ge g th ther e bec er e am a e tth he ba assiis fo or ‘n ‘nei eigh ei gh hbo our urho hood ho od d pllans p ans’ an s’ as in intr trrod oduc uc ced d in Th he Lo oca c li lism sm m Act of 20 011 1 . H re we re He r tu turn rn to S rn Sk keffi efffi f ng n to on be b ca aus use e ne neig ighb h ou hb o rh rhoo ood d plan pl an ns of offe fer pe perh perh r ap apss th he be b st s exa xamp mple ple of wh hatt wou ould ld hav ld ve happ ha pp pen e ed e had d hiiss spe peciifi fic re ec co omm men e da d tiion ns be been en n tak aken en n on. n

Fo ou urr ste tep ps s to S Sk keffi ffing ngto on Bu B ut fiirs rst a di dive ers r iio on ba b ck c to Sh S e errry ry Arn r stei sttei e n be b ca c us use e ne n eig ighb gh hb bou o rh r oo ood d pl p an anss ar a e ((a at tth he eiir be best best s an nd d des espi p te cau auti tiion nss)) a ra rare re e exa x mp ple l of pr p ac cti tice c on ce ne e ru un n ng g fr f om the he top op of he h r

ladder. They are ‘delegation’ and a form of ‘citizen power’, though some prefer the term ‘bounded delegation’, given the legal requirement for these plans to be in ‘general conformity’ with higher-level plans. Nevertheless, a number of neighbourhood plans have successfully used that word ‘general’ to introduce policies that stretch and even occasionally break the stranglehold of authority-wide, and therefore rarely locally sensitive, local plans. There are then several of Skeffington’s recommendations that good neighbourhood planning uses. First, that there should be some form of ‘community forum’ to help oversee plan-making, ensuring that the outcomes from involvement are mediated collaboratively, not accepted or rejected by planners alone in a darkened room. For neighbourhood plans, this is managed by some form of ongoing steering group or, in urban areas, a forum.

The more it changes… A glance through People and Planning quickly reveals that Skeffington, in 1969, was articulating weaknesses in the planning system that are still prevalent today, writes Simon Wicks, The Planner’s deputy editor. Fifty years on, we routinely hear the same anxieties and aspirations expressed in almost identical words. These two paragraphs illustrate that planners and policymakers today have still not resolved conundrums identified half a century ago. In light of our current political, social and economic challenges, we might wish to be able to turn the clock back and listen a little harder to what Skeffington had to say. “It may be argued that the public as a whole will never be sufficiently interested in planning to justify the effort required to involve them. One answer to this is the general point that educating people to participate in the making of development plans is part of the wider problem of educating them to participate in local government affairs as a whole. It is a point of entry to civic matters as a whole… There is an active and willing audience waiting for authorities who encourage participation, and a particularly vigorous response may be expected when local plans are being prepared.” – People and Planning Chapter IV: Participation: general considerations “The methods of participation that we have described above are ones designed mainly to assist in the involvement of organisations. These contain the active minority, the yeast of the community, but it is also important to seek out the views of those who do not join societies or attend meetings… We consider that this can best be achieved by someone working with the people concerned in the areas where they live.” – People and Planning Chapter V: Techniques of participation and publicity

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50 yea 50 ears rs of Sk Skeffi effi e ffing ngto ton

Seco Se co ond n , Pe Peop ople op le and Pla ann nnin i g arg in rgue uess fo ue f r wh what at we no n w thin th in nk off as fr fron o ton t-lo lo oad adin i g. The in h rep epor orrt’ t s prref e er erre red re d pr p oc cesss star st tar a ts ts, s, ass doe o s wo work rk on mo most stt nei eigh g bo gh our urho ho ood d pla anss, wi w th a m dl me d ey y of ac acti tivi ti viti vi ties ti es to se s ek inf nfor orrma mati tion ti o and on d evi vide denc de nc ce, and it is on it only y wel elll in nto the e planla ann-ma m ki ma k ng pro roce cess ce s tha ss hatt a dr d af a t pl pa an n sh shou hou ould ld d eme m rg rge. e. Th hir i d, d Ske eff ffin ingt in g on arg gt gue u s fo forr us u in i g a va vari riiet e y of met etho ho ods to see to e k th that at evi vide de enc ce. e. Thi hiss is somet om met ethi hing hi ng n g tru r e to oda day y off muc uch h neig ne ighb ig h ou hb ourh rhoo rh oo od pl p an a wor ork, k, whe ere we ca an se ee so some me hig ighl hy hl crea cr eati ea tiive v and n inn n ov ovat attiv ive e ap appr proa pr oa ach ches es bei eing ng use sed. d d. F urrth Fo th,, on one e co c mmon mm mon cri riti t ci ti cism sm of Pe Peop o le and Pla op lann nn nin ng

Climbing the ladder Sherry Arnstein’s A Ladder of Citizen Participation was published in the Journal of the American Planning Association in July 1969. Arnstein developed the ideas explored in the paper while working as special assistant to the assistant secretary at the US Department of Housing, Education and Welfare. She visualised the ladder itself thus:


Citizen Control


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Citizen Power



ad ddr d es esse sess it se i s su upp pos osed ed ove vere remp re mpha mp hasi ha s s on si o ‘pu publ publ blic ic edu duca ca c atiion ati o ’ – tth he id dea a tha hat go good od d prra a act ctic ct ic ce on nly y eme merg rges rg ess whe e hen n tth here erre iss an in nfo f rm med and kno nowl w ed wl dge geab able ble e pub ubli lliic re r ad dy to o par a tiici c pa p te t . In fac act, t, Ske eff f in ingt gtton on was a key e triigg g err to th he en enor o m or mo ouss and an d hi high gh g hly ly eff ffec ecti ec tive ti ve e gro owt w h off env vir iron onme m ntta me all edu uca ati t on n and an d ur u ba ban n st stud udie ud iess in the ie e 197 970s 0s and 198 980s 0ss, so 0 ome meth thin ing in g we w lll supp su pp por o te ed by b the RTPI. TP PI. Thi h s ssttra and d of w wo ork met up ev ven entu tu ual a ly with wi th eme erg rgin ing in g th theo eo ory y on co oll llab ab bor o at a iv i e pl p an nni ning ng and d the h impo im po ort rtan an nt no oti tion on of co comm mm mun u it ity y an a d prof prrof o es essi siion nal a cap a ac acit ity it y b il bu ildi ding di ng g. On O ce c aga gain in n, be est s pra r cttic ice e in nei e gh hbo b urrho h od plan pl a ni an ning ng del e iv i er erss on o all l of th t es ese. e. Th hou ough gh tou uch c ed d on on only ly min inim imal ally ly by Sk kefffiing n to on in n ter e ms m of fee edb d ac ack k to t sho ow th t e efffe fect ct (o orr nott) of par arti t ci ti cipa p tiion pa n, ther th e e is als er lso o th the e isssu sue e of val a id i at a io i n of par a ti tici c pa ci ati t on n (or or,, to oda d y, ‘en enga g ge ga g me m nt nt’) ’).. Ne Neig ighb hb bou o rh rhoo ood d pl p an a s mu m st s by la law w be b a ‘ssha are ed vi visi sion o ’ an on a d th herre ar are e al alre re ead dy a fe few w ex exam am mpl p ess of pl plan anss an fa aillin i g at exa ami mina nati tion on bec ecau ause e the hey y ha have ve bee een n do d ne alm mos o t sole so lely ly by th he ‘p ‘pla lann nn ner ers’ s’ – i.e e. th the e sttee ering gro oup p. And An d al alll of thi hiss de d ta tail il fro rom m Sk Skef effi fing ng gto on, n pic icke ked d up by go g od d neig ne ighb h ou hb ourh rh hoo ood d pl plan ans, s,, oug ught h to ht o ha have ve fou ound nd, but ha hass yet ye et to fin ind, d, a bas a e wi with thin in loc ocal al pla lan nw wo ork or pr p e-ap ppl p ic cat atio ion n i vo in volv lv vem emen en nt. To bal alan ance ce thi his, the here re is a ke key y an and, d, for tod day ay’s ’s wor o ld d, ba basi sic c crit cr itic icis ism m of Ske keff ffin ington on. Hi His wo w rld d wa wass on one e of jus ustt pe peop o le op and an d pl plan anne ners rs (an and d oc o ca c si sion onal ally ly cou o nc cil illo lors r ), ) whe ere eas the here re e is now a hug ugel ely powe werf rful ul and inf n luen enti tial al thi hird rd par arty ty – the h deve de velo lopm pmentt in indu d st du stry ry. Ther Th ere e ha have ve alsso be been en fun unda dame ment ntal all cha hang ng ges e in me meth thod th od ds and an d in soc ocia al at atti titu tude des. s Des espi pite te bri ring ngin ing g be b ne nefi fiits ts,, smar sm artp tpho hone nes, s, the int n er erne nett an and d so soci c al med ci edia ia hav ave e cr crea eate ted te d a wh whol ole e wo worlld of com ommu muni nica cati tion on tha hatt is not ot,, no norr ca c n itt be, medi me diat ated ed d sollel e y by pla lann nner erss tr tryi ying ng to ch choo oose se th hei e r mettho h dss and d th thei eirr eng ngag agem emen e t ac acti tivi viti t es es. Furthe Fu herm morre, e muc uch h th that at wor orks ks thrrou ough gh h tha hatt te tech chno ch nolo no lo ogy is abo bout ut imm mmed edia iate t , ti tick ck-b -box ox,, li like ke/d /dis isli liike res e po p ns nses es – a to ota tall co c nt ntra rast s to th st the e sh shar ared ed,, we well ll inf nfor orme m d an me and d de eli libe bera be rati ra tive ti ve d sc di scou oursse th thro roug ugh h wh whic ich h so soun u d pl un plan anss ca an em emer e ge er g . To T whic wh ich h ca can n be add dded ed a gro rowi w ng wi g sen ense se of pu ubl blic ic c dis i trrus ustt of o prof pr ofes essi sion o al on als, s, a gro r wi wing ng g unw nwil illi ling ngne ng ness ss to find find agr gree ee e eme m nt and, an d, eve ven n wi with t som th ome e ne neiig ighb hbou o rh ou rhoo oo od pl plan anni an n ng ni n wor ork, k, a wis k, i h forr qu fo q ic ick k an and d ce c rt r ai a n fi f xe xes. s s. Whil Wh i e it il i is no n w no orm rmal al to lo look ok bac ack k do own w tha hatt lo l ng and an d wi wind ndin i g ro in road ad d fro rom m 19 1 69 to 20 2 19 9 and see Pe eop o le and d P an Pl anni n ng ni n as ju ustt as an ico c niic la and ndma mark ma rk rk, k, th his art r ic icle le has a show sh ow wn th hatt it sttil illl ha hass – if wit i h so some m imp me m o orrtta ant cau auti tion ti on ns – much mu ch to te ell us ab bou outt ho ow go good od par arti tici ti cipa ci pa pati attiion n or en enga g ge ga eme m nt n ough ou ghtt to hap appe pe en. n We now hav ave, e, if st stil illl po il poor o ly rec or cor orde ded, de d, exa amp ple aft fter e er exam ex ampl am p e th pl that a sho at h ws cle ear arly ly y how goo ood d pa p rt rtic icip ic ip pat a io ion n ha hass sav aved ed ed time ti me,, ha me as sav ved mon ney ey,, ha as led d to be bett tter tt er pla lans nss an nd d pro roje j ct cs an and nd ha h s rai a se ed pe eop o le le’s ’ co ’s on nfi f de denc nce nc e in the e pla l nn nin ng sy syst sttem m a d th an hei eirr ca capa paci pa c ty ci ty to en enga gag ga ge. ge Will it ta Wi ake ano noth ther th e 50 y er ye ear a s for fo or main main ma nst s re ream a plla am an nn nin ng prac pr acti ac t ce to ta ake on bo b ar a d all alll tth hat a exp x e errie enc ce?? Je eff Bis isho ho h op is i an ex exec ecut ec utiv i e as iv a so s ci ciat atte wiith Pla ace e Sttu udi d io a an nd a th au t o orr of Th T eC Crraf a t off Col o la labo bo ora ati tive ve Pla annin nn niin ng

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There are times Jennifer Ross ponders which they require either fundamental reform use class might cover a planning application. or abolition. Then she feels like reaching for a pearlThe order’s last proper update in 1987 handled revolver. confined such archaic uses as blood boiling, “I spend an endless amount of time and bone burning and maggot breeding to the energy thinking and arguing about whether a scrap heap, alongside tripe shops and proposal falls into one class or another, fellmongers. Since then, the order has been wading through the nitty-gritty and legal tweaked more than a dozen times but not specifics when it is not really fully reviewed. something we necessarily need “A planning system that only anymore,” says the Tibbalds regulates the construction of “IT IS NOW Urban Design director. “That’s buildings and not what they are SLUGGISH when you feel like taking a gun used for misses a few tricks as we AND IN NEED to your head.” have seen recently with the OF EITHER She is not alone in her disgraceful situation where offices A COMPLETE frustration with the Town and have been converted into homes REBOOT OR Country Planning (Use Classes) REPLACEMENT” without requiring planning Order 1987. Indeed, there is an permission,” says RTPI policy chief increasing clamour that use Richard Blyth. classes are not fit for purpose “A lot of people would agree it’s in the 21st century and that not just about erecting buildings and the kind of physical structure we need development control for, but also what happens in them if you erect a building for one purpose and try to turn it willynilly into another purpose. The fact that controlling uses is a legitimate thing for society to want to do seems to me incontestable.

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“The solution is to keep ahead of the curve over what is happening in the development industry and society and make sure the use classes order is what we need for any given period of time. That there hasn’t been a brand new use class order since 1987 doesn’t mean you can’t change it. It’s just that the changes are changes on changes.” However, others call for radical action. Periodic updates may have worked well in the past, they argue, but a more fundamental response is needed to reflect wider changes in society. “The current pace of change in the use of land and spaces is such that not to reform the order will almost certainly lead to it not providing the best platform possible for the right level of flexibility and control needed to make the best of economic opportunity while providing the right level of environmental protection and safeguarding of amenity,” says Maddox Planning Manchester director Stephen Morgan-Hyland. He compares the use classes order to “a computer operating system that has received periodic updates over an extended time frame”. But this has dire consequences. “It is now sluggish and in need of either a complete reboot or replacement. It is a simple principle that when something is added to systematically, layer upon layer, it becomes increasingly cumbersome to operate. In the case of the order, read complicated and convoluted. “The order works, yes, as does a computer labouring under the effects of update upon update. The solution to a computer slowing down is either new hardware or a complete format of the existing system. There is no doubt that the currently functional order would benefit from the same treatment.”

Wholesale change? The sorrows affecting use classes come not as single spies, but in battalions. Pick most days on the Planning Portal and there will be appeals over change of use. In England, the debate surrounding residential schemes and C2/C3 classes is a story on its own (see box Take care). B8, and with it retail and distribution, is under huge pressure to deliver economic benefits, consumer services and sustainability. Co-working, including living


What’s the use? England and Wales have near-identical use classes, both established in 1987. Those in Northern Ireland were created in 2015 and have some differences – notably the classification of class D1 (non-residential institutions in England/Wales) as ‘Community and cultural uses’. Scotland’s use classes come from a 1997 order and are numbered 1-11. Where significant differences occur, they tend to be concerned with permitted development rules. And in Scotland, pubs are also sui generis.


accommodation, poses questions over whether this is C1, C3 or B1 with ancillary living or sui generis as a class of itself. Ross also cites warehouses where people live, work and create, which she says is “not quite C3, not quite B1, and might even be a new concept of warehouse living – a sui generis use”. In turn, Morgan-Hyland points out that his company’s two offices are “office spaces first and foremost, but also a cultural hub and place of leisure and entertainment for the community of businesses that adopt it as home”. Use classes are under the cosh from changes in permitted development rights, with homes falling under C3 the latest reforms in May. Other commentators point to


In February 2019, a reporter upheld a Glasgow City Council enforcement notice against the unauthorised change of use of a restaurant to a pub, citing its dance floor, dartboards and “extensive programme of live music” ( planner0719-Pub). Traders Bar was authorised for Class 3 under the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) (Scotland) Order 1997, defined as “use for sale of food or drink for

consumption on the premises”. The council alleged an unauthorised change of use from a restaurant (class 3) to a pub (sui generis [itals] ). Reporter Stephen Hall said the order is designed to establish that changes of use for different purposes falling within the same use class do not require planning permission. However the order also specified that “nothing in any use class shall include any use as a public house”.

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the challenge of Airbnb and short-term lettings. This issue is particularly controversial in Scotland – Edinburgh has one Airbnb for every 48 residents – where Green MSP Andy Wightman’s amendment to the Planning (Scotland) Bill requires planning permission in all cases where a property is being changed from a main dwelling to a commercial let. Much to Wightman’s chagrin, the SNP and Scottish Conservatives are proposing this should be confined to designated “control areas” approved by ministers. Then there is the changing nature of retail and the food and beverage industry with their inevitable impact on the fortunes of town centres. “There is an increasing number of shops that sell a significant proportion of goods online, and so the primary activity might be storage and/or distribution,” says Morgan-Hyland. “The same principle applies to restaurants that sell a significant proportion of food through online ordering, orders which are then delivered without the customer visiting the premises. The solution is not to create new sub-sets of Class A1/Class A3 in an attempt to differentiate between different types of retail stores or restaurants. The solution is to recognise a wholesale change in the relationship between businesses and consumer.”

A class of its own How to solve a problem like use classes? Flexibility is one principle often cited for any future reform. Space and its use are part of this. “If you want to talk about offices, let’s talk about offices, if you want to talk about employment, let’s talk about employment and the same for town centres,” says Ross. “More and more things will not fit so will be shoved into sui generis – that’s how hybrid applications are invented.” Similarly, Morgan-Hyland argues that the way space is used is undergoing significant change. “What is supposed to happen becomes more difficult to achieve efficiently and eventually leads to a failure to operate properly or at all. The order is not quite in that critical update stage at the moment, but there is a need for reform or else the future planning system will not provide the most responsive environment possible in offering


Should retirement housing fall within the definition of a normal ‘dwellinghouse’ (C3), or within the definition of a C2 use, as a ‘residential institution’ where care is provided to residents? “There is little dispute that a traditional residential care home where residents benefit from meals and other facilities being provided communally would fall within a C2 use,” says Harrison Clark Rickerby’s planning and highways partner Rosalind Andrews. “Extra care housing, however, where residents have selfcontained accommodation, but which is combined with communal facilities and the availability of personal care, is not as clear-cut.” Two appeals offer contrasting rulings. In January 2018, Pegasus Life successfully argued that a scheme for 113 self-contained extra care units for over-60s, along with staff accommodation and ancillary facilities in Sidmouth, Devon, was a C2 use (see If it had been judged C3 (dwellinghouse), the appellant would have been compelled to


provide affordable housing. Inspector Michael Boniface decided that the scheme offered “much more than a dwelling house”, citing a range of specialised features and adaptations in each apartment. In February 2019, however, inspector Rory Cridland ruled that ADPAD’s plans for 30 retirement bungalows in Launceston should be considered a C3 use ( planner0719-Bungalows). This was despite the scheme being aimed at over-55s needing a minimum of two hours’ care a week. Two characteristics that distinguish a C2 use from a C3 use are “provision of personal care” and that “residents and staff do not form a single household”, added Cridland. Many services and facilities the scheme offered, such as an on-site hairdresser, did not “fall within the definition of personal care”. Those that did, he added, were better described as “extra care services” and “would be little different from many other forms of support available” to older people living in regular housing.

encouragement and support for new economic development. “There is no quick fix, as the solution is a component of changes in the wider planning system that are needed to keep pace with the way our lives are changing and the use of land in responding to this. “The order should have at its heart the principles of a presumption in favour of development, promoting economic growth, encouraging investment and achieving sustainability through sensible, but flexible patterns of land use.”

n Huw Morris is consultant editor of The Planner

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The North, say the authors of the Ambitions for the North, needs more joined-up planning. This, they propose, will ensure growth and prosperity both in the North’s metropolitan areas and, significantly, its “neglected” towns and communities. This “fragmented and under-resourced planning of the North”, they say, “must be addressed head-on”. The solution to these ills is a pan-Northern approach to planning in the North that treats it as an intact, interdependent region that is greater than the sum of its parts. It is a view shared by others. Former environment secretary Lord Heseltine, speaking at the launch of Ambitions for the North in Leeds in June, championed “the contribution that joined-up planning can

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make to creating a more productive, inclusive and resilient North.” So what does this new addition to the discussion on the Northern Powerhouse actually offer? In short, Ambitions for the North outlines a spatial framework for a single interconnected metro-region comprising the former government regions of the North East, North West and Yorkshire & The Humber (the government’s own definition of the Northern Powerhouse extends to include North Wales). More specifically, it is designed as the ‘population and place’ component of the putative Great North Plan, launched by the RTPI and think-tank IPPR North in 2016. In addition to ‘population and place’, other organisations took responsibility for developing regional plans for transport, energy and economy. A key driver of the RTPI report’s narrative is the existing economic scale of the region. The North, as defined above, has a population of 15.4 million producing a gross value added (GVA) of £343 billion. For a sense of scale, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland combined have 10.3 million people and a GVA of £240 billion. Government departments, Transport for the North, NP11, and combined authorities – among others – have made “significant” progress in driving forward the Northern Powerhouse, the report acknowledges. But what’s required is for individual plans “to be knitted together to direct development and regeneration strategically”. Doing so would “break with unsustainable patterns of land use, road-based housing development and city-oriented investment and help to rebalance the North”. It is a document designed to “start the


Transport for the North: The UK’s first statutory sub-national transport body, formed to make the case for strategic transport improvements across the North of England. NP11: Instigated in July 2018, this is the coming together of 11 local enterprise partnerships in the North of England in a government-funded board to support its ambitions for the Northern Powerhouse. One Powerhouse: This consortium is now refreshing the Great North Plan and developing regional plans for the other three mega-regions in England within a national spatial plan. The four spatial plans were due to be published as this issue of The Planner went to press.

conversation,” said co-author Simin Davoudi FRTPI, professor of environmental policy and planning at Newcastle University. “Because its focus is on places rather than individual policy sectors, it is capable of identifying and tackling the cumulative impacts of various policy sectors on the future of our towns and cities. So that’s how we see the role of planning,” she explained. But the strategic and transformative planning envisaged by Ambitions for the North has been stymied by a number of barriers. The first is a fragmented governance structure – an institutional landscape that stops planning looking beyond the administrative boundaries of small local authorities to cover the wider functional areas. The second is an unfinished and limited devolution arrangement that has left many areas sitting outside of the collaborative governance frameworks that can support ‘joined-up’ planning. Speaking at the report launch, David Levene, policy officer at Transport for the North, said: “The transformation of the North has to be more than just a quest for productivity, and more than just our cities and city regions.” He continued: “It has to be inclusive across the North, about place-making, good growth and quality of life, and avoiding the brain drain; people from the North are leaving and we want to attract them to stay instead.” However, he cautioned against becoming preoccupied with the task of getting administrative and governance systems into some kind of hypothetically ideal arrangement. “We should be careful not to get stuck in a never-ending debate about structures. What’s more important is vision and approach; structures will flow from that,” he stressed.

Powering through time March 2014 Transport for the North (TfN) is first proposed.


June 2014 Chancellor George Osborne sets out his vision for a Northern Powerhouse. “Let’s bring our Northern cities together, so they’re bigger and better than anyone can be alone.”

Match 2015 Launch of the report One Agenda, One Economy, One North for a transport strategy on which to base a Northern Powerhouse.

May 2015 James Wharton appointed the first minister for the Northern Powerhouse. (Succeeded by Jake Berry in June 2017.)

July 2015 Chancellor Osborne announces plans to devolve greater powers to the 10 councils of Greater Manchester and his ultimate intention to extend these deals towards authorities in Sheffield, Liverpool and Leeds.

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H E S E LT I N E : M A K E T H E N O R T H M A T T E R

A raft of ambitions

Michael Heseltine, who launched the original Blueprint for a Great North Plan with IPPR North and the RTPI in 2016, launched the Ambitions report, too – and turned his attention to the lack of devolved powers in the area (Leeds) where the report launch was held. “I have a dilemma,” he admitted. “This is a nice report, it says interesting things and has good ideas. But it is secondary to the issue we need to discuss. “Planning is a tool; I’m a great fan. But it comes when you’ve got the people, and the structure and the powers in place. “If you want this area to be as articulate, powerful and successful as London, why not recognise that the model of London is a mayoral authority? And that there, everybody knows who it is who has the ultimate responsibility for driving the economy? “London has great advantages that cannot be replicated elsewhere, but no one has the slightest doubt that there is a mayor of London. And now, no one has much doubt about who is the mayor of Greater Manchester, Liverpool or Bristol. “This area simply has not taken advantage of this huge opportunity to make the area matter. Having decisions that they can influence themselves, plans that they create themselves, energy released locally in conformity with the strengths and opportunities that local people know about. “In my view, you need one person who is identifiable, accountable and responsible. Then you can do your planning, make cooperative arrangements with larger regions – whatever you want. “But until you get that structure, and you bend the will of Whitehall to give you the powers that they have consistently taken away from you for a century or more, you will be fighting the world competitiveness battle with your hands tied behind your back.”

Ambitions for the North recommends: • A plan to deliver people and place-based spatial strategies for all functional areas in the North, similar to the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework. These should emerge from collaborative strategic planning across sub-regional areas. • Local connectivity plans to ensure that strategic transport infrastructure links communities with growth opportunities. • A Northern model for opportunity areas to encourage development around station hubs, harnessed through simplified planning, land acquisition powers and investment incentives. • A Northern spatial planning observatory, providing an open-source platform for spatial data, innovation and collaboration. This could be based on a hub-and-spoke model that covers each of the functional areas. • Alignment of strategic opportunities for housing, economic development and environmental enhancement with investment and infrastructure proposals. This will require “a compelling Northern spatial vision built around high-quality rail connections and next-generation infrastructure”. • For more coordinated planning of rural and coastal communities, the report suggests creating spatial plans for national parks and AONBs “to capitalise on and improve the extraordinary natural assets of the North, and to support equitable and sustainable economic growth”.

August 2015 Connecting the Northern Powerhouse blueprint unveiled, detailing a potential £13 billion government investment in transport in the North.

March 2016 National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) recommends bringing forward HS3 proposals. High Speed 3 is rebranded as Northern Powerhouse Rail.

August 2016 The first Blueprint for a Great North Plan, produced by the Institute of Public Policy Research North and the RTPI, is published. A call to prioritise HS3 over HS2 is made.

December 2017 TfN’s draft Strategic Transport Plan published, including a proposal for Northern Powerhouse Rail.

June 2019 Business leaders across the North demand government delivery of Northern Powerhouse Rail in full.

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Visualisations for a positive outcome



Contact Chris Hale to discuss the preparation of high quality visualisations, including YHULͤHGYLHZVDQGSKRWRPRQWDJHVWRVXSSRUW\RXUGHYHORSPHQWSURSRVDOV • Architecture • Landscapes

01225 876990

p32_PLN.JULY19.indd 32

• Planning and appeals • Urban spaces

• Design • Promotion

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You’ll always be able to find the latest information on your region at the Nations and regions gateway:

Your new gateway to the nations and regions We’ve made some changes to our monthly ‘Nations and regions’ feature. In addition to what you read in print, you’ll be able to access local information from our new ‘Nations and regions gateway’ on The Planner website. This gives you... ALL of The Planner’s news, appeals and features that are relevant to the region. A regional overview, incorporating a description of the region, regional data and links to local plans.

Our annual Nations N ti and d regions feature, focusing on projects and events. This also appears in print.

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You’ll always be able to find the latest information on your region at the Nations and regions gateway:

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East of England

Fletton Quays


Alconbury Weald One of Britain’s largest residential developments, the Alconbury Weald project will deliver 6,500 homes on 1,425 acres of former RAF land over the next 15 years. The site, which is designated as an enterprise zone, will deliver 290,000 square metres of employment space, and land has been set aside for a new train station with direct links to London.

Sproughton Road A former sugar beet factory near Ipswich, bought by the local council for redevelopment in 2014, is now the site of one of the area’s four enterprise zones. Permission was granted in April 2018 to build a £40 millon, 24,000 square metre distribution centre on the site, which is expected to provide 100 new jobs.



Fletton Quays

Sproughton Road

Food enterprise park, Norfolk

Draft local plans for Bedford and Central Bedfordshire

The Norfolk food enterprise park is an example of a proactive local development order, intended to support the area’s food industry with an agri-tech and agribusiness focused business park. Permission was recently granted for a new Colman’s mustard factory at the site, securing the continued presence of a business with 160 years of history in the area.

Public examinations of two draft local plans are taking place in the west of the region. In Bedford, the council has taken the unusual decision to shorten its plan period by five years, as well as delegating plans for up to 500 homes to neighbourhood plan level. The Central Bedfordshire plan is also attracting attention, given the area’s position within the east-west arc between Cambridge and Oxford, where there is a government focus on growth.

The Fletton Quays project will see the comprehensive redevelopment of riverside brownfield land in Peterborough. As well as 350 new flats, the scheme will see the refurbishment of a listed railway shed and dedicated wildlife areas. It was highly commended at the RTPI East of England Planning Awards.

Essex coast RAMS The Essex coast recreational disturbance avoidance and mitigation strategy (RAMS) is designed to protect the area’s sensitive ecological sites from the impacts of new housing planned in Essex. The strategy will be funded in part by a per-household tariff of £122.

Brightwell Lakes, Suffolk The Brightwell Lakes project near Ipswich will deliver 2,000 homes, including affordable housing and elderly accommodation, as well as a “comprehensive package of highway improvements” to the A12 road between London and Suffolk. The project won the RTPI East of England Planning Excellence Award in 2018 for its high level of community engagement.

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Regional contact details:

See more on the East of England at the Nations and regions gateway


“We’ve purposely stepped away from adopting a typical local authority approach as a housing provider. We felt we had a choice: go for safe standard housing or be bold and ambitious – we chose the latter." So says Andrew Turnbull, senior housing development officer at Norwich City Council, of the Goldsmith Street development in west Norwich. The largest development of Passivhausstandard housing in the UK, it contains 105 homes, all councilowned and let for social rent. Each is timber-framed, with triple-glazed windows and mechanical ventilation systems.


No r w i c h

and low massing sought by the council, Mikhail CAMBS Riches Architects worked with the city’s planners SUFFOLK BEDS to ensure a separation C a m b r i d ge Ip sw i c h B e d fo rd distance of 14 metres between properties. HERTS To prevent ESSEX overlooking, the homes He r t fo rd were designed so that C h e l m s fo rd habitable rooms are only overlooked by non-habitable rooms. All 105 houses exceed national space standards, and are designed to achieve the lifetime homes standard. The windows are designed to shield the homes from direct sunlight in the summer, while allowing light and heat in COMING UP

Viability in the East of England – 18 July, Harlow This one-day conference will explore how viability studies can inform policy writing, as well as when and how site specific appraisals can ensure that a scheme comes to fruition.

East of England football tournament – 19 July, Ipswich

This ‘fabric first’ approach has resulted in homes so efficient that residents’ energy bills are roughly 70 per cent cheaper than average – a priority for the council in response to high levels of fuel poverty in Norwich. The houses are laid out as a series of east/west-oriented terraced streets, bookended by flats. To achieve the high-density


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during the winter months. The project was joint-winner of the 2019 RIBA East Award, and the council was named client of the year. “As a council housing provider, we’re taking bold steps to provide energy efficient, highquality homes for the people of Norwich and surrounding areas,” says Turnbull. “That’s something we’re deeply proud of.”

This five-a-side football tournament is open to anyone working, studying or seeking work in planning or a related built environment profession. You’ll need a team of up to seven players.

Planning law update – 8 November, Cambridge This annual event will keep you up to date with the latest planning legislation. Barristers will present on new and emerging policy, as well as recent case law.

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Tech { L A N D S C A P E

WHO OWNS THE SMART CITY? IS THERE AN ETHICAL DIMENSION TO THE APPLICATION OF SMART CITY TECHNOLOGIES? SIMON WICKS CONSIDERS NEW WORK BY A PAST CONTRIBUTOR TO THE PLANNER THAT RAISES UNCOMFORTABLE QUESTIONS In May we ran the first of two pieces that consider the ethics of technology use in planning. ‘The data dilemma’ concentrated on the use of data within planning processes ( But this narrow application of technology is just a small part of a much bigger story about how ‘smart’ technology is shaping the spaces in which we live, work, shop, play and socialise – and, more to the point, whose interests take precedence in these highly digitalised spaces. Indeed, the opening chapter of the newly published The Right to the Smart City paints a dystopian picture of city life being subsumed, through


technology, to the interests of private companies and property investors. Written by Rob Kitchin, director of the national institute for regional and spatial analysis at Ireland’s Maynooth University, along with fellow researchers Paolo Cardullo and Cesare Di Feliciantonio, the book traces the spread of smart technologies in urban areas and the challenges – and opportunities – they present to citizens, city leaders and managers. The opening chapter, Citizenship, Justice and the Right to the Smart City, observes neutrally enough that “In simple terms, the smart city seeks to improve city life through the application of digital technologies to

the management and delivery of city services and infrastructures and solving urban issues”. But it goes on to stress that this agenda is skewed by two forces: private companies seeking new markets for their technologies, and public authorities seeking to reduce the cost of service delivery in an age of austerity. Such technology covers the gamut of city-based services, from integrated ticketing systems to automated waste management, pollution sensors, mobility apps, traffic management, city dashboards, and so on. Although these may provide advantages over traditional ways of doing things, Kitchin and colleagues caution that smart technologies promote a vision of the city as a ‘system’ rather than a ‘place’, where it is easy to enact “technocratic” forms of governance and promote the “corporatisation and privatisation of city services”. They also create an always-on surveillance network that can infiltrate almost every aspect of our lives. “Smart city technologies potentially

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Who profits? ‘Smart’ technology is shaping the places in which we live, work, shop, play and socialise

create a number of other privacy harms through the sharing and analysis of data trails,” the authors write. “A key product of data brokers are predictive profiles of individuals as to their likely tastes and what goods and services they are likely to buy, their likely value or worth to a business, and their credit risk and how likely they are to pay a certain price or be able to meet repayments. Such profiles can produce ‘predictive privacy harms’, used to socially sort and redline populations, selecting out certain categories to receive a preferential status and marginalising and excluding others. In addition, such profiles can be used to socially sort places to receive certain policy interventions or marketing as practised by the geodemographics industry.” In terms of governance, smart technologies can become tools for behavioural control (China offers an extreme example of this); in commercial terms, they can turn citizens into consumers who are always connected and always reachable. Data is currency, and the decisions that private companies make on the


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basis of the data they collect from citizens have ramifications for the way P51 ACTIVITY we plan, use and police public spaces, the argument goes. Kitchin et al use the example of new developments embedded with technology that are charter for the communal ownership marketed to investors and potential and application of smart technology. residents as ‘smart neighbourhoods’. This blends a strong emphasis on public There is a cachet to this that ramps up ownership of data and use of openthe price and functions as a “gateway source technologies with regulatory to gentrification”. Smart technology oversight, ethical procurement is a handmaiden to “entrepreneurial processes, cooperative models of urbanism” that is inherently service provision, greater use of digital discriminatory because it makes engagement tools and support for decisions on the basis of financial, “innovation with public value”. rather than social, returns. Kitchin’s case is predicated on an As Kitchin told The Planner: “There understanding that the private delivery is a potential danger in … letting the of public services is intrinsically market decide where problematic, not least because investment goes. Money it lacks effective oversight – follows money, and but also because the rapid [you end up with] “A KEY PRODUCT emergence of digital services a concentration of has outstripped the ability of OF DATA resources in some parts public authorities to make BROKERS ARE of the city.” well-informed and far-sighted PREDICTIVE decisions about it. PROFILES OF The authors’ thrust is Citizen sovereignty INDIVIDUALS AS Smart technologies have TO THEIR LIKELY towards clarity about who ‘owns’ the digital space and the potential to support TASTES AND the creation of urban WHAT GOODS AND therefore who has the right to make decisions about its environments that serve SERVICES THEY use. Even if you don’t agree citizens more effectively ARE LIKELY that the solutions outlined and sustainably. But, TO BUY" above are desirable or even if Kitchin and his achievable, Kitchin has some co-authors are to be sensible advice. believed, this potential “My message,” he tells is being skewed towards The Planner, “is to take a the benefit of private step back, have a look at the capital, rather than the technology and what it’s doing, what benefit of all citizens. it is being employed for, how it affects In reply, The Right to the Smart people in the area and [think about] City posits a vision of “technological what measures are needed to mitigate sovereignty” returned to citizens against any potential pernicious effects.” through community-led interventions He suggests that an “ethical audit” that limit “the worst excesses of of new proposals may be required, capitalism, redistributing resources particularly when procuring services. across society” and “embrace the “That’s difficult if you don’t have the more socially democratic ideals of knowledge, but there’s potential to sort the public good and shared public that out by someone creating a set of assets”. Inevitably, these intersect with guidelines. Part of it is procurement, the functions and responsibilities of part of it is implementation and part of planning – particularly if planners are it is this civic paternalism that is a core viewed as guardians of public space. part of a planner’s job.” There are already digital platforms that exhibit these principles, Kitchin notes, such as “not-for-profit, peer-toThe Right to The Smart City is published by peer and communal platforms”. But Emerald Publishing he goes on to cite what is effectively a

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C&D { C


A N A LY S E D B Y M A T T M O O D Y / A P P E A L S @ T H E P L A N N E R . C O . U K

836 new student beds turned down at the University of Reading An inspector has refused plans for new student accommodation at the University of Reading, despite the scheme’s ‘significant gestation period’ and resulting support from council officers. The appeal concerned part of a residential campus belonging to the University of Reading in Berkshire. The university sought permission to demolish several of the existing buildings on the site and replace them with a number of blocks to provide accommodation for 836 students, as part of its £100 million scheme to build a total of 1,500 new student bedrooms. The university had cited an urgent need for the accommodation, explaining that its waiting list for firstyear accommodation had grown from 300 to more than 750 between 2014 and 2018, leaving some students with no choice but to live in hotels during the first months of their courses. An earlier application to develop the site had proposed the demolition of Pearson’s Court, a ‘red-brick’ building dating to 1913. But opposition to the demolition of the building led to it being locally listed, and the university was forced to withdraw its application. The present scheme, which did not include the demolition of Pearson’s Court, won the support of the council’s officers after a “significant


ANALYSIS Matt Moody looks at the background to the appeal case: ( The university's original plan to demolish Pearson’s Court was opposed by local MP Rob Wilson, who called it “an act of vandalism”, writing to Historic England in support of an application to have the building listed. ( It forms part of the larger St Patrick’s Hall, once the home of the No. 1 School of Military Aeronautics, a training school for pilots founded during the First World War. ( The school taught map­reading,

LOCATION: Reading AUTHORITY: Reading Borough Council

INSPECTOR: John Wilde PROCEDURE: Inquiry DECISION: Dismissed REFERENCE: APP/ E0345/W/18/3209702

gestation period”. But it was still unanimously rejected by the council’s planning committee – leading to a oneday inquiry.

Inspector John Wilde agreed that the latest scheme would preserve the setting of the now-protected heritage asset. He also agreed that the need for new accommodation was “relatively urgent”, and that the appeal site was “the only immediately deliverable site” available. He acknowledged that the university would “suffer financially” if he rejected the appeal, and also noted that “good-quality accommodation can help student mental health”. He also rejected two of the council’s three reasons for refusal, finding no harm arising from the loss of mature trees, or from the proposed density of the development.

gunnery and mechanics. One room was used to train artillery observers and had a light­studded map painted on the floor and a mock fuselage hung from the ceiling. Douglas Bader, the decorated amputee pilot, was trained at the school, as was William Earl Johns, who created the fictional pilot Biggles.

( A spokesperson said Reading University was “disappointed with the decision to reject the appeal”, adding: “We are studying the decision of the planning inspector in detail before considering our options.”

Although he found that the scheme would “incorporate positive design elements” such as a central boulevard and a “graduated approach”, Wilde nevertheless ruled that the development would “harm the sense of openness” at the site. On this basis, he refused permission.

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These are just a few of the 40 or so appeal reports that we post each month on our website:

Distinctive building would be visually swamped by care home A reporter has blocked plans to turn an attractive house in St Andrews into a 40-bed care home by building two large extensions in its gardens, citing unacceptable harm to the existing building and the wider conservation area.

‘Very special circumstances’ allow Wakefield scouts’ bid for new hut An inspector has approved plans for a new scout hut in Wakefield despite deeming it inappropriate green belt development, deciding that the scheme’s social benefits constituted very special circumstances. The appeal was submitted by the 45th Wakefield/Durkar Scout Group, based in Durkar, a village near Wakefield. The group proposed a prefabricated, flat-roofed structure next to a special needs college south of the village, to be used as a replacement scout hut. However, the site formed part of the green belt. Although scouting groups “do partake in many outdoor sport and recreational activities”, inspector Rachel Bartlett noted, the hut would not be an “appropriate facility” for outdoor sport under the terms of NPPF paragraph 145. It would be modest in scale and height, she added, but would introduce development into the countryside, harming openness. She noted that the scout group’s existing home was “in a poor state of repair and unfit for purpose”, with no parking and access along a badly surfaced footpath that was unsuitable for wheelchair users. The appeal site, on the other hand, had an existing car park and plenty of outdoor space. The appellant’s plans to encourage social interaction between scouts and those attending the nearby LOCATION: Durkar, Wakefield special needs college would be beneficial, Bartlett AUTHORITY: Wakefield Council noted, as would the ability to accommodate more INSPECTOR: Rachel Bartlett children, given the group’s waiting list of 20 children. PROCEDURE: Written submissions Bartlett noted that the scout group was “strongly DECISION: Allowed supported by local people and local councillors”. The REFERENCE: APP/ plan would provide a fitX4725/W/18/3219434 for-purpose building that would be “inclusive and accessible to all”. This, she concluded, amounted to very special circumstances. I M AG E S | S H U T T E RSTO C K / A L A M Y

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The appeal concerned a large detached house set in an extensive garden in St Andrews, within the Hepburn Gardens conservation area. The house dated from 1904 and featured a “distinctive and attractive” Arts and Crafts Movement-style design, but was not listed. The appellant sought permission to create a care home facility in the form of two new buildings to the rear of the existing house, with 40 bedrooms. Short glazed links would connect these to the existing building, which would be converted to provide ancillary care facilities. Reporter Mike Shiel said that while “the retention of the existing attractive building is to be welcomed”, the scale and proximity of the proposed extensions would be “overbearing, and would effectively overwhelm it”. Before and after visualisations demonstrated that the existing house would be “visually swamped” by the new development, he added. He also commented on the scheme’s impact on living

LOCATION: St Andrews AUTHORITY: Fife Council INSPECTOR: Mike Shiel PROCEDURE: Written submissions DECISION: Dismissed REFERENCE: PPA­250­2320

conditions, considering that the increased number of vehicle movements associated with the care home would disrupt neighbours. Shiel noted that the proposal had attracted five representations in its favour, which cited the need for additional care home facilities in St Andrews, and 43 representations against it. He decided to refuse permission, concluding that the scheme’s harms outweighed its benefits.



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C&D { C 500-capacity bar allowed despite Leeds crime concerns

LOCATION: Headingley, Leeds AUTHORITY: Leeds City Council INSPECTOR: P Eggleton PROCEDURE: Written submissions DECISION: Allowed REFERENCE: APP/ N4720/W/19/3221994

The appeal concerned a vacant three-storey building in Headingley, an area of Leeds with a large student population. The appellant, who had owned the building since 2002, sought permission to turn the building into a drinking establishment under use class A4. He explained that for many years before its closure, the property was used as a restaurant on its ground floor, with two separate bars on its first floor and in its basement, and was licensed to

Green belt motocross track must be removed An inspector has upheld enforcement action against a motocross track in Oxford’s green belt, considering it highly unlikely that the track’s intricate form came about by ‘the random deposition of material’. The appeal concerned a farm near Beckley, a village in the Oxford green belt. In March 2019, inspector Debbie Moore led a hearing concerned with the alleged creation of a motocross track at the site. The council had issued two notices – the first against alleged engineering works to create the track, and the other against its unauthorised use. The appellant said the works targeted by the first notice were not development because no import of material had occurred. He suggested that material that had come from the levelling of another


parcel of land nearby was “spread around to create a more interesting motocross track”. The track’s earth banks and jumps were “formed by bikes throwing up soil”.

accommodate a total of 500 people. Inspector P Eggleton accepted the “considerable weight of evidence” linking antisocial behaviour and drinking establishments, along with the area’s very specific issues relating to its student population. While noting that “the proposal would represent a retrograde step that would conflict with the amenity and crime prevention policies of the development plan”, the inspector said there

was considerable support from the development plan for the planned use to be accommodated at the site, given its town centre location. Eggleton said that although antisocial behaviour and crime had persisted in the area for years, this “type of activity will continue, in close proximity to this property, with or without [the venue proposed]”. In conclusion, he noted that the economic benefits of reusing the building weighed heavily in favour of granting permission.

On her site visit, Moore observed an “intricate series of loops and turns”. She considered it highly unlikely that the course had come about by the “random deposition of material” as suggested by the appellant. The extent of the track led her to believe that the works were clearly carried out using machinery. It therefore constituted an engineering operation for which planning permission was required.

Turning to the application for retrospective permission, Moore considered that the mounds, jumps and banks of the track had an urbanising effect, harming both the openness of the green belt and the area’s rural character. Finding no circumstances to justify granting permission, she dismissed the appeal.


In a ‘finely balanced’ ruling, an inspector has approved plans for a 500-capacity bar in Headingley, despite accepting that the scheme would be a ‘retrograde step’ in bids to control alcohol-related disorder in the area.

LOCATION: Beckley AUTHORITY: South Oxfordshire District Council

INSPECTOR: Debbie Moore PROCEDURE: Hearing DECISION: Notice upheld REFERENCE: APP/ Q3115/C/18/3201871

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SUBSCRIBE to our appeals digest:


Plans for 50 flats at struggling football club rejected Molesey FC’s plans to clear its debts by building 50 flats on land next to its ground have been blocked, after an inspector found that the three-storey units would be out of character with the surrounding houses.

Design panel support justifies ‘exceptional’ home permission

Waitrose rear entrance must stay open despite crime concerns An application by a North London branch of Waitrose to combat shoplifting by permanently closing its rear entrance has been rejected by an inspector, who found the scheme would harm the street’s designated shopping frontage. Waitrose

In approving plans for a detached home and artisanal metalworks in Shropshire, an inspector gave “great weight” to comments from the Midland Architecture and the Designed Environment (MADE) review panel, which called the scheme “exceptional”.

Landlord criticises ‘crude’’ Oxford HMO policyy A homeowner in Oxford hass been refused retrospective e permission to convert hiss property into an HMO, despite hiss claims that local HMO policy wass aimed at students, and “working g professional housing” such as hiss should be treated differently. y. d

66­home scheme is ‘the wrong development in the wrong place’ An inspector has blocked plans for 66 homes near Northampton despite the council’s “clear and significant” housing supply shortfall, referring to the appeal site’s “very limited functional links” with the town. hampton

Invalid action against Dagenham Inva shisha lounge quashed

Inspector overrules town own centre policy to allow coffee shop

An inspector has quashed an enforcement notice against an alleged sui generis shisha lounge al use in Dagenham, after finding that the premises were actually in a mixed use as a shisha lounge and billiards hall.

Plans to convert a vacant listed shop unit in Christchurch church into a coffee shop would improve improve the vitality of the town’s h high igh street, an inspector has decided, overruling local policy to grant permission.

Cul­de­sac gates would harm community cohesiveness

Notic upheld against blue­ Notice painted terraced house paint


































An in inspector has upheld enforcement action against a enfor homeowner who painted her home North London terraced home blue, ruling that the paintwork “individualised the dwelling” and “indiv harmed the uniform character of harm conservation area. the co











An inspector has refused plans to install a gate across the entrance to a cul-de-sac of eight detached houses in Liverpool despite residents’ crime concerns, ruling that ‘segregating’ the area would harm community cohesion.

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LLegal landscape OPINION

A case of unintended consequences? The draft Environment (Principles and Governance) Bill’s approach to biodiversity net gain could have unintended consequences, says Paul Wakefield

The environment bill is due to be published later this year, following pre-legislative scrutiny and consultation. Its draft version envisages that developers will be required to pay for biodiversity offsetting at sites where habitats could be damaged. While any attempt to protect the environment is worthwhile, the changes will inevitably increase the cost of new developments and could, if administered poorly, actually lead to a net habitat loss. So how significant will the new rules be and what do UK planners need to be aware of? As the UK is due to leave the EU on 31 October, the bill will aim to address the environmental governance gap posed by Brexit. A key part of the proposed bill relates to planning policies encouraging “biodiversity net gain” – an approach to development that leaves biodiversity in a better state than it was before. This builds on recent revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework, which emphasise that planning should “identify and secure opportunities for securing measurable net gains for biodiversity”. The approach outlined by government for achieving


assess applications and devise suitable mitigation strategies. One potential risk of the draft legislation is the opportunity for unscrupulous developers simply to bypass the mitigation hierarchy by claiming that they have exhausted options to minimise or remediate negative impacts a net gain to biodiversity on biodiversity. This could is based on a ‘mitigation see them pushing for the hierarchy’, which requires compensation route instead, developers to avoid, minimise, which would then rely on remediate and, as a last resort, local authorities scoping out compensate for adverse and investing in replacement effects on biodiversity. Where habitat to balance the area developers are unable to do affected by the development. this, they would be required If local authorities are to pay a cash tariff, covering unable to keep up with the costs of replacing and demand and this maintaining money is therefore lost habitats, “THE BILL not translated calculated using WILL AIM TO into replacement a newly created ADDRESS THE habitat, the biodiversity metric. ENVIRONMENTAL measures could, As the success GOVERNANCE ironically, result in of the Extinction GAP POSED BY a net biodiversity Rebellion BREXIT” loss. If so, it will campaign be essential for has shown in government to recent months, consider how to the public’s ensure that compensation is environmental conscience used only as a last resort, rather is greater than ever before. than allowing it to become a In this sense, the proposals default option for developers. are certainly a positive step, Before the environment aiming for better-designed bill comes into force, there schemes that work harder to are also a number of political enhance the environment. and legislative hurdles that However, from a planning will need to be cleared. In perspective, the requirements the event that Brexit never will introduce new costs actually comes to pass, EU for developers, which will environment law will still inevitably be passed on to apply and there’s also the consumers by way of higher potential for the Conservative property prices. They may also leadership contest to cause lead to additional costs for disruption within Parliament. local authorities, which will As more changes to the need to employ ecologists to

legislation are also likely before it is enacted, it is important for planners and developers to keep up to date with the rules and prepare environmental procedures accordingly. As environmental pressures increase on all areas of business, more legislation in this area is to be expected. If the UK is to meet its ambitious sustainability targets, it is essential for developers to adopt a thorough approach to assessing environmental impact and considering mitigation strategies. This will require additional investments from developers, in terms of time and cost, and will likely push up prices for homebuyers. However, when compared with the world’s climate change crisis, this is arguably a small price to pay. Paul Wakefield is an associate partner and planning specialist at law firm Shakespeare Martineau

In brief The proposed environment bill sees developers compensating for biodiversity loss caused by development There is a risk that it will lead to developers simply paying local authorities to deal with environmental harm This could inadvertently increase biodiversity loss while pushing up house prices Developers must adopt a responsible approach to mitigation to prevent environmental damage

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NEWS Ealing serves solicitor with £500k seizure order Ealing Council has won £500,000 under a Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) order against a Southall solicitor who used his home as an office for his legal practice. In 2011, Dr Akbar Ali Malik made two planning applications to use the residential property on Herbert Road in Southall as his office. The applications and subsequent appeals were rejected. Despite this, Malik continued to operate his practice from the premises. The council issued an enforcement notice to stop the use of the home as an office in October 2013, against which Malik appealed. He then applied for a certificate of lawfulness to use the property as a solicitor’s office. The council refused this application, Malik again appealed. Both appeals were dismissed. The new deadline for compliance with the enforcement notice was set as October 2015. This was ignored. In August 2017, Malik was charged with failing to comply with the enforcement notice. He pleaded guilty to the planning enforcement offence at Ealing Magistrates’ Court in November 2017. After seven hearings, the case was wrapped up in May. Under the terms of POCA 2002, Malik was given a confiscation order of £500,000. Unless this is paid within three months, Malik will receive an automatic five-year prison sentence. He was also fined £10,000 and ordered to pay the council’s costs of £13,747.

London landlord fined for unsafe HMO Islington Council has successfully prosecuted a rogue landlord for failing to comply with fire safety regulations and carry out repairs to his property. Following a complaint from a tenant living at Flat C, 98 Petherton Road a council environmental health officer inspected the property, which had four unrelated occupants sharing kitchen and bathroom facilities. The house in multiple occupation (HMO) did not have a mains wired smoke alarm system, or a fire door to the kitchen as required by HMO licensing. There was also a bedroom window in a poor state of repair. The officer issued an improvement notice under section 12 of The Housing Act 2004 on the owner, David Simons, requiring him to remedy these defects and provide an electrical installation condition report. The council officer returned to the property on two more occasions to find that the notice had not been complied with. Simons was found guilty of failing to complying with the notice at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court on 11 April. He was sentenced on 16 May and fined £12,400. Costs of £600 were awarded, along with a victim’s surcharge of £175.

Welsh villagers plan challenge to waste plant A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to help villagers in Abermule to wage a legal fight against plans for a rubbish processing plant. Powys County Council’s cabinet approved the building of the £4 million bulk recycling facility on the outskirts of the village. This was despite a full council meeting voting against the plan on 3 May. The point of the facility is to help the authority hit the Welsh Government’s target for all councils to recycle 70 per cent of their waste by 2024-25. Villagers are trying to raise £5,000 for a legal challenge, saying they are concerned about potential noise, traffic and pollution. The council’s planning committee passed initial plans by one vote in August 2018. Abermule was chosen for the facility as it was “ideally located” between north Powys’ two main population centres, Welshpool and Newtown.

LEGAL BRIEFS Judge rejects council claims of nun skulduggery A High Court judge has rejected claims made by Chalfont St Peter Parish Council that an international congregation of nuns conspired to provide false information to Chiltern District Council to obtain planning permission for a former school site, Local Government Lawyer reports.

Planning Law Update 2019 This popular event, to be held on Thursday 18 July at the Pinsent Mason offices in central London, will cover the most popular topics in planning law.

Information Commissioner calls £325 environmental information charge ‘unreasonable’ A charge imposed by Folkestone and Hythe District Council for accessing information about meetings held by the Kent Planning Officers Group was unreasonable, according to the Information Commissioner’s Office, Local Government Lawyer reports.

Law Briefing: s106 Obligations On Tuesday 9 July in Leicester, RTPI East Midlands will run this session covering the legislative and policy context of planning obligations.

Call-in blitz offers black hole for London delivery Planning lawyer Roy Pinnock considers the ways London’s political landscape and planning objectives intersect – using an interstellar metaphor.

Tenant Fees Act This act, which bans most letting fees and caps tenancy deposits, took force on 1 June.

New unitary council takes two enforcement cases to High Court The newly formed East Suffolk Council has taken two planning enforcement cases to the High Court, where it sought to imprison landowners who failed to comply with injunctions relating to their properties, Local Government Lawyer reports.

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RTPI news pages are edited by Will Finch at the RTPI, 41 Botolph Lane, London EC3R 8DL

RTPI builds on work to increase diversity of planning profession The RTPI has announced that it is to become one of 10 official partners of BAME in Property. BAME in Property is the leading ethnic diversity network for the built environment sector and a forum for BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) and nonBAME professionals who aspire to make the industry more attractive to talented professionals from diverse backgrounds. Through discussions, round tables, workshops and networking events, the RTPI has committed to helping BAME in Property to support and promote this important cause. The RTPI’s Chief Executive Victoria Hills MRTPI said: “At a time when the Royal Town Planning Institute moves forward to increase the diversity of the planning profession to ensure that planners reflect the communities they represent, I’m delighted that the RTPI will be a founding Partner to BAME in Property. “We look forward to promoting our shared agendas and priorities to deliver and protect quality places that communities want.” BAME in Property founder Priya Shah said: “Some of the biggest issues and

DIVERSITY AND INCLUSIVITY STATEMENT “The RTPI will seek to be and promote the planning profession to be as diverse as the communities it represents. We will act inclusively, treat everyone fairly, and seek to provide a culture which delivers the best outcomes for the diverse society in which and for whom we work.” The RTPI believes that a planning profession more representative of society is crucial to bring about more inclusive and accessible design, housing and public environments. Our Diversity and Inclusivity statement (above), launched last year, sets the ambition for our activities, including work in membership growth, diversification of routes into the profession, staff recruitment and governance, and the broadening of our volunteer base.


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Priya Shah, founder of BAME in Property

opportunities facing the built environment sector are recruitment and retention of diverse talent, emerging technologies, the housing crisis and Brexit. “What diversity within companies and around the boardroom table brings is diversity in thought and ultimately, more informed outputs. “I am delighted to welcome the RTPI as one of BAME in Property’s first 10 partners – our partners will help to promote our work

and advocacy and the partnerships will allow us the opportunity to support them in their work too. “I look forward to developing these over the coming months and establishing BAME in Property’s mark as a membership organisation for the industry.” n To find more information about BAME in Property, please visit



Population of England and Wales from Asian, Black, Mixed/ Multiple or Other ethnic groups, according to the 2011 Census.


*RTPI members from BAME backgrounds



RTPI Student members from BAME backgrounds

* Figures correct at end of 2018

I M A G E S | R T P I / R E B E C C A H I L D R E T H / PA U L C A R S TA I R S /A R U P

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Editorial E:

RTPI (switchboard) T: 020 7929 9494

Registered charity no. 262865 Registered charity in Scotland SCO37841

MY VIEW ON… TRANSPORT PLANNING Stephen Bennett wants your nomination for the People’s Award at this year’s edition of Transport Planning Day Transport Planning Day, organised each year by the Transport Planning Society (TPS), showcases the role of transport planners in improving everyday life across the UK. I believe that transport planners should always engage with communities from the beginning of the planning process, listening carefully to communities and finding solutions that balance everyone’s needs. The People’s Award is an important part of Transport Planning Day, rewarding the UK’s best community-focused transport initiatives that have made a real difference to people’s access to services, quality of life and wellbeing. We’re asking communities to showcase what they think successful transport planning looks like and to highlight the projects that have made a genuine contribution to improving quality of life and well-being from a community perspective. Transport Planning Day takes place on 20 November. Make your nomination for the People’s Award by 2 August. n Stephen is a Director in Arup’s Transport Consulting Team based in

London. He was appointed TPS Chair in March 2019 and previously headed up the Board’s Policy team. For more information on the People’s Award and to make your nomination, visit


SCOTTISH INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING CRAIG MCLAREN, DIRECTOR OF RTPI SCOTLAND AND IRELAND In a written response to a call for evidence from the Infrastructure Commission for Scotland (ICS), RTPI Scotland has said that decisions on funding infrastructure in Scotland should be based on long-term factors beyond the economy as part of a ‘transformational shift’ in how Scotland delivers current and future projects. If Scotland is to achieve its new zero-carbon targets, we need to ensure that decisions on funding infrastructure consider social and environmental needs as well as economic growth. We need to make sure that we look to the longer-term challenges rather than quick fixes. And we have to use infrastructure to stimulate regeneration and development. Planning holds the key to delivering and coordinating this and should be seen as essential preventative spend, allowing us to unlock maximum value for communities and the environment while optimising economic investment. To read our full response, visit

WOMEN IN THE PLANNING PROFESSION SUE MANNS, RTPI VICEPRESIDENT AND DIVERSITY AND INCLUSIVITY CHAMPION I was delighted to give the keynote speech at the recent ‘Women and Planning in the UK’ conference hosted by the Leeds Planning School at Leeds Beckett University. At the event, I cited research from 1994 by Prof Clara Greed, which found that women suffer disadvantage within a built environment that is developed primarily for men. I said that while progress had been made in terms of the numbers of women in the profession, all too often decisions on the built environment continue to be largely taken by men. I believe that new housing areas, streets, public places and transport infrastructure would look and feel very different if more women were in charge. We need our spaces and places to work for everyone and that means a balanced profession and a balanced top table where diverse voices are heard. As the next president of the RTPI, for me the cause of improving the diversity and balance of the planning profession is a key priority – as it should be a key priority for everyone.

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Updated guidance for membership candidates The RTPI has launched revised membership guidance for Chartered APC, Associate and Legal Associate candidates. The new guidance builds on the success of new routes to RTPI membership, which were introduced in 2017.

Head of Membership Martine Koch said: “The RTPI’s Membership Assessment Advisory Panel and a dedicated member-led working group worked hard to fine-tune the guidance. “We think they’ve done a

great job – this revised guidance is an excellence resource for candidates.” Martine explained that candidates could expect to see a range of improvements in the revised guidance. New resources have also been produced, including an outline to help candidates select and structure case studies for their applications. The revised guidance was published in June 2019 and is applicable to new candidates applying from January 2020.

It will not affect resubmitting candidates. n The revised guidance can be downloaded at,, and n Apprentices in England can also expect to see a new Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) route launched by the start of next year:

HOW HAS THE NEW GUIDANCE BEEN IMPROVED? n Introduction of competency ‘criteria’ to make the assessment process even more transparent. n Retitling of competencies to provide added clarity. n Rebranding of the Log

Book as a ‘Reflective Journal’ to encourage further critical reflection (only applicable to Licentiate and Associate Assessment of Professional Competence candidates).

New Chair of Board of Trustees announced The RTPI is pleased to announce that current ViceChair Sue Bridge FRTPI has been elected as the new Chair of RTPI’s Board of Trustees. Sue, who will serve for a term of 18 months starting from 1 June, will help the RTPI to create a new corporate strategy to ensure a sustainable, modern and growing organisation. Sue has a wealth of planning experience, having worked as a senior local government officer and as the Director of independent planning consultancy Sue Bridge Consulting. She has been a member of the RTPI’s General Assembly since 2015 and a


chartered Member of the Board of Trustees since 2017. She is also a previous Chair of the Policy, Practice and Research Committee and has acted as a


judge for both the Awards for Planning Excellence and for the Awards for Research Excellence. The electorate for this important election was from the RTPI’s General Assembly

members – there was an 81.4 per cent turnout. The RTPI would like to thank everyone who voted and is also grateful to Tony Crook FRTPI and Tom Venables MRTPI, who stood for this role. Previous Chair Graham Stallwood announced in March that he would be standing down from the role to take up the position of Director of Operations at the Planning Inspectorate. The RTPI would like to thank Graham for his many years of outstanding service to the Institute and for steering the Board through a time of great challenge and change.

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Key dates for 2019 The three-day Biennial of European Towns and Town Planners offers planners a unique opportunity to get together with practitioners from across Europe to discuss planning for SEPT coastal sustainable development. Held at the University of Plymouth from 11 to 13 September, the 13th edition of this prestigious event, entitled ‘Planning on the Edge’, will investigate planning in places that are defined by their peripherality or location between two or more boundaries. The challenges of planning and regeneration of coastal settlements provides an obvious focus, but the event will also look at the planning of places at the edge of their territories, in a ‘frontier zone’, on a migration route or at a transition between different physical environments. Confirmed keynote speakers include former Head of the Home Civil Service Lord Kerslake (pictured), international coastal development and land reclamation specialist Ronald Waterman, and Professor Carola Hein from Delft University of Technology. The event is organised by the European Council of Spatial Planners in association with the RTPI, Plymouth City Council, Destination Plymouth and University of Plymouth’s Planning School.


n Tickets for this event are £150, and there are also student tickets available at £50. Bookings and payments can be made via the University of Plymouth website: SAVE THE DATE! The RTPI’s prestigious Annual Lecture is named after the late Professor Nathaniel Lichfield, who played a key role in developing influential approaches to planning that crossed boundaries and integrated different fields of thinking and research. Last year’s lecture, entitled ‘Are Planners Really the Problem?’, was given by Professor Christine Whitehead HonMRTPI (pictured), Emeritus Professor of Housing Economics at LSE, who gave an economist’s view of the housing crisis, examining the current planning reforms, whether they work to boost the supply of homes, and the role of the planning profession. Don’t miss out on this year’s edition on 18 November – it is sure to attract a large and diverse audience.

18 NOV

n Register your interest for the Nathaniel Lichfield Lecture 2019 by emailing

NEW CHARTERED MEMBERS North West Richard Agnew Alanzon Yin Lam Chan Laura Eastwood Lynsay Ewart Belinda Fettis Amy Kennedy Jamie Lynch Darren Muir Rhian Stratton James Warrington Yorkshire Michael Bamford George Breed Fraser O M Dann Abigail Rhodes East Midlands James Beverley Charlotte Cook Jessica Ann Herritty South East Matthew Black Hong Chen Adam Davies Helen French William Hanna Katrina Hordern Anna Houghton Laura Howard Bethany HowlandSmith Ben Kelly Robert Love Isobel McGeever Adem Mehmet Clara Millar Richard Moore Christian Morrone Charlotte RyanElliott Robert Sims Jessica Walters Guy Wilson London Sean Breslin Christopher Elliott Charlotte Everard Tom Eyres

Hannah Fawdon Sally Furminger Ewan Grunwald Melanie Gurney Rebecca Hampson Sophie Hardy Steven Heywood Katie Hodson Jonathan Michael Hogan Sophie Innes Vanessa Jones Laura Joseph Elizabeth Le Mare Daniella Marrocco Neil McKenna Raakhee Vasant Patel Alex Philpott Olivia Russell Elizabeth Smith Scotland Katy Clark Richard Lewington East England Edward Durrant Jenny Robinson Grant Heal Samantha Stephenson North East Libby Gibson Peter Gillan Alastair Welch South West John Pingstone Kieran Reeves Thomas Wilkinson Thomas Wright West Midlands Victoria Edge Joseph Salt Overseas Stacia Bryan Huda Shaka

Congratulations to Past President and International Committee Chair Janet Askew, who has been elected vice-president of the European Council of Spatial Planners for 2019-21.

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Recruitment { If a job role’s worth filling… Don’t just take our word for it - here’s what our customers are saying about Planner Jobs, the official planning recruitment service of the RTPI “We got a good number of applications for the planning of·cer posts and, having a brief look through the submissions, the candidates are from various necks of the woods. Placing the advert with you has certainlyy helped us to reach a wider audience.” MAY 2018 – MATTHEW PARRYDAVIES, DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT MANAGER, WIRRAL COUNCIL

“I have to say that the calibre of planners we have had apply through The Planner has really improved over the last three months.”

“I’m pleased to say we were able to appoint to this role (senior planner) and had a good calibre of applications. an Many of them, including the successful Ma candidate, were from yourselves, so ca thank you.” th AU AUGUST 2018 – ALEXANDRA KELLY, RECRUITMENT CONSULTANT, KINGSTON BOROUGH COUNCIL CO


“I am pleased to say that following our advertisement with The Plannerr we have successfully recruited high calibre candidates to each of the three vacant posts. There was also signi·cant response to the advertisement from which we were able to shortlist suitable candidates. This is due in no small way to the quality of the advertisement itself and its circulation. I would like to place on record my thanks for your support and assistance, and the professional manner in which dealt with our requests.” OCTOBER 2018  ALAN N COLEMAN, HEAD OF DEVELOPMENT PLANNING & ENFORCEMENT DEVELOPMENT SERVICES, WORCESTER CITY COUNCIL

“As a startup practice, we had a very limited budget to recruit new graduate level planners. We also wanted to make sure that our job advert was exposed to the greatest amount of RTPI members. After shopping we decided that The Planner offered us the best possible value and reach among the planning community. As a result we were inundated with applications, and have been able to select some very high calibre candidates.” OCTOBER 2018 – TOM VENABLES, PLANNING DIRECTOR, PRIOR + PARTNERS

“We have had really positive results with the adverts we have placed in The Planner. Our two new principals started with us this week, and we have had a series of interviews off the back of the advert.” JULY 2018  KEVIN JAMES, SUPPORT TEAM MANAGER, AYLESBURY VALE DISTRICT COUNCIL

“The Planner worked fantastically well for our client’s senior planner role and massively exceeded expected applications! We would heartily recommend them to any client or business for their planning roles.” NOVEMBER 2018 – DEAN TRANTER, ACCOUNT MANAGER, JUPITER ADVERTISING

Make sure your job role is seen by the largest possible audience of planners: contact Gill Rock on 020 7880 6232 Find the right candidates for your planning roles by visiting: 48

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Plan B


we wish the best of luck to all teams competing at the women's world cup, but especially England and Scotland. 50

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n Shoot and score … Tweet us - @ThePlanner_RTPI 12/06/2019 13:36


THE MONTH IN PLANNING The best and most interesting reads, websites, films and events that we’ve encountered this month WHAT WE'RE WATCHING 1... Vishaan Chakrabarti on avoiding ‘physical homogeneity’

The 3D-printed house that runs off-grid A house designed to be installed in less than a day, and so well insulated that it only requires solar power to heat or cool it? Apparently so. In this short video, the BBC asks: is this what the pre-built homes of the future will look like?

Architect Vishaan Chakrabarti – featured in our June edition – is speaking at this year’s RTPI Planning Convention. This 13-minute TED talk is a useful primer; in it, he considers how to avoid the ‘physical homogeneity’ of so much contemporary built environment design. Chakrabarti calls for a return to designing ‘magnetic, lyrical cities’ that embody their local cultures and adapt to the needs of our changing world and climate.

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING 3... Mara Mintzer on children’s role in city design Here, urban planner Mara Mintzer considers how children – 25 per cent of the typical population – should be involved in designing the cities they’ll be living in long after we’re gone.


WHERE WE'RE GOING... Each month the RTPI runs a range of free or low-cost events up and down the UK. Here’s our pick for the next few weeks. See the full calendar here: Understanding developers and development finance 4 July, The Pitt Building, Cambridge

learn how to write design guidance and design codes and take part in a site visit to explore the design appraisal process.

A perspective on the life of a developer, how the development industry works, and how to value development land. It uses a mix of techniques and exercises to help you think like a land buyer.

Planning and design: making better places 10 July, Etc Venues, London E1 An insight into national and local frameworks and their implications for design. You’ll

WHAT WE’RE PLANNING In Augu August we will be running our annual review of RTPI Planning Convention with its theme, ‘What the RTP next fo for planning?’ while our September edition has comprehensive focus on environmental concerns. a comp Please feel f free to contact editorial@theplanner. with your thoughts on stories or themes you kw believe we should be addressing in future features.

Planning for infrastructure, energy and waste in a lowcarbon world 18 July, Plymouth University Explore the operation of the major infrastructure planning regime and see the results of research undertaken for RTPI SW on the planning implications of the transformation to a lowcarbon energy future.

NAPE Annual Conference 6 November, Allia Future Business Centre, London Road, Peterborough The annual conference of the National Association of Planning Enforcement (NAPE) is free to attend for members. The NAPE network exists to promote and enhance the role of planning enforcement within planning.

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If undelivered please return to: The Royal Town Planning Institute 41 Botolph Lane, London EC3R 8DL

n Planne Tow rs

iennial th B of 13


ean Towns rop a Eu

13th European Biennial of Towns and Town Planners 2019 | Planning on the Edge

PLYMOUTH 11–13 September 2019

Book now: whats-on/european-council-oftown-planners-biennialconference-2019

Key Note Speakers: Lord Kerslake Ronald Waterman Lord Matthew Taylor

Supported by RTPI p52_PLN.JULY19.indd 52

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Profile for The Planner

The Planner - July 2019  

The Planner - July 2019