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RTPI president says planning reforms haven’t delivered better growth

Published: Thursday, 30th June 2016

Williams urges the government to take a fundamentally different approach to the role of planning, “one that recognises, supports and invests in the benefits that planning can deliver”…

Phil Williams, president of the Royal Town Planning Institute, this week urged politicians to take planning more seriously after concluding that: “endless reform has not produced better growth, better housing, or better communities”

Delivering a keynote speech at the institute’s annual convention on 28 June, Williams argued that the issues which prompted Brexit required planning solutions.

“The issues that many people expressed during the EU debate relating to migration and population growth, unaffordable housing, the pressure on health and educational services, the need for economic growth….require planned solutions.

“In addition, the referendum results highlight the great divisions between the different nations of the UK and the regions of England in terms of their needs and unfulfilled aspirations”.

He added: “It is time for us to say, as an institute and as a profession, in a stronger voice than we have before, that successive governments have been taking us in the wrong direction.

“Thirty or so years of planning reform, especially in England, have undermined the ability of planners to deliver [the economic and social benefits the country needs].

“Endless reform has not produced better places, better growth, better housing, better communities and more reform along the old familiar lines will not change this.

 “What we need a fundamentally different approach that recognises, supports and invests in the benefits that planning can deliver.

“A national planning debate in my view is imperative. It’s time to value planning, after all, there is no better solution” insisted the former chief planner at Cardiff City Council, now heading up Belfast City Council’s planning department.

View the press release

Roger Milne