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PR 33 - RTPI backs Minister's pro-planner stance

05 June 2008

The RTPI has welcomed a declaration from Planning Minister, Caroline Flint, that were she a local authority chief executive she would have a Chief Planner as \"a senior and pivotal member\" of her team. It is urging local authority chief executives from across the country to adopt a similar attitude.

The statement, which came during a speech to launch the updated Planning Policy Statement 12 (PPS12), endorses the RTPI's view that a professionally qualified planner must sit at senior management level of every local authority to ensure that sound planning policy is integrated with all local authority strategies. The RTPI also believes the new PPS12 provides a timely reassertion of the importance of a planning led decision making process.

PPS12 explains how local authorities should go about putting together their spatial planning strategies. These strategies, when approved, will ultimately set out what types of development should be taken forward in which areas of a local authority and, among other things, will describe local priorities for the delivery of housing and transportation, as well as measures to promote economic growth and sustainable environments. The RTPI believes PPS12 also confirms the vital importance of using a robust and consultative planning system as the basis on which local authorities make decisions on development, and that this is particularly important in the placement of major new developments like ecotowns.

RTPI Secretary General, Robert Upton, said: \"In highlighting the importance of a planning led decision making process PPS12 also highlights the need for a professionally qualified planner to sit at the executive level of every local authority. We welcome the Minister's acknowledgement of the importance of that role and would urge local authority chief executives across the country to adopt this approach.\"  

The RTPI believes PPS12 also provides better and more simple guidance on how local authorities should go about integrating their spatial planning strategies and what constitutes soundness in the decision making process. It also provides a clearer definition of what spatial planning is and how local government should go about delivering it. The RTPI is pleased the CLG has listened to the representations of the planning profession and has produced a comprehensive online manual which described the way it believes local authorities should go about delivering their Local Development Framework (LDF), the document which described development priorities. The simplification of the test of soundness is also welcome.

RTPI Secretary General Robert Upton said: \"We are pleased that PPS12 has clearly explained what spatial planning is and how local authorities should set about delivering it. The document also provides much clearer guidance on what constitutes robust strategy and how it should be developed and evaluated. PPS12 is a step in the right direction in terms of clarity of purpose and the quality of the guidance provided.\"

For further information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Dale Atkinson, RTPI Communications Manager, 0207 929 9479 dale.atkinson@rtpi.org.uk

Notes to Editors:

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) is a dynamic organisation leading the way in the creation of places that work now and in the future. We understand that just as people develop places, so places develop people.  We are committed to the enhancement of our natural and human environment, using spatial planning to manage competing pressures on our built environments and the very real effects on our space.  Through our 20,000 members, we constantly seek to create areas and places in which people want to live and work.

For further general information, visit the RTPI website at: www.rtpi.org.uk 14 Botolph Lane, London, EC3R 8DL, charity no. 262865. Charity registered in Scotland: SC 037841