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PR 17 - Community input key to success of SNR

31 March 2008

Making sure communities can influence the final outcome of major planning decisions is vital if Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) are to successfully oversee spatial planning strategy, according to the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).

The Government has announced a consultation, setting out how the sub national review will be taken forward. It seeks views on how RDAs should be held to account once they assume the planning powers currently held by regional assemblies.

The RTPI, which will be seeking the views of its members before responding to the consultation, believes it is essential that the public has a powerful and influential voice in the decision making process.

RTPI Policy Director Rynd Smith said: \"The sub national review is a massive overhaul of the regional planning system and it is vital that whatever structure is introduced gives the public both a direct say in planning decisions through appropriate community engagement and an indirect one through the oversight of plans by elected representatives.

\"The government must make sure the economic, social and environmental effects of development are all properly considered in the policy-making process for new Single Regional Strategies. This will require a significant change in the culture and skills of the RDAs, which will need to broaden their existing economic remit. Regional planners will also need to adapt to these changes.\"

The RTPI is also calling on the government to provide certainty to the small workforce currently delivering regional planning. It warns that a vital resource of highly qualified and experienced planners could be attracted away from regional planning unless the Government works with Regional Assemblies and RDAs to set out a roadmap outlining the role regional planners will play in the new regime.

Mr Smith said: \"There is a danger that England's small cohort of regional planners will hunt for jobs elsewhere in the planning and development sector if their future is left unclear for too long. The new Single Regional Strategy teams will need their considerable skills and the Government must provide them with a strong indication of their future role as quickly as possible.\"

For further information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Dale Atkinson, RTPI Communications Manager, 0207 929 9479

Notes to Editors:

A copy of the Sub National Review consultation document can be found here

The RTPI will be responding to the consultation process. Prior to responding it will be seeking the views of its members. Members wishing to respond can do so from here

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI)

The 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

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