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PR 58 - RTPI black Blears' call for more chief planners in council cabinets

15 October 2008

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Secretary General, Robert Upton, has welcomed comments from the Rt. Hon. Hazel Blears, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, calling for larger numbers of chief planners to be members of local authority cabinets and management teams.

Speaking in front of over 100 local councillors at the second national RTPI Politicians in Planning Network (PIPA) conference, held at the Manchester Business School on Saturday (11th October), Blears stated:

\"I want to see people with planning expertise in Local Authority Cabinets and on management teams prepared to champion planning…because no-one wins when you have planning off on its own, seen as a separate thing.\"

RTPI Secretary General, Robert Upton, also called on more local authorities to take action:

\"Good local authorities understand that spatial planning is essential to deliver all aspects of a community's vision for itself. The RTPI welcomes the Government's backing for more qualified planners to be part of senior management teams.\"

In her keynote speech Hazel Blears spoke further about strengthening public involvement in the planning system, by making it more accessible and understandable and encouraged planners to take positive steps forward to facilitate \"the right development in the right place, at the right time.\"

Speaking after the event, RTPI PIPA Network Manager and conference organiser Andrew Matheson said:

\"The conference attracted a good cross-section of local planning leaders and many delegates found attending the day enormously beneficial. This sentiment echoes the Minister who commented in her speech 'how glad I am that PIPA exists'.\"

ENDS

For further information contact:

Sophie Stapleton                                
Communications Manager                  
Royal Town Planning Institute            
020 7929 9479                         
0787 0672 020                              

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. A full copy of the Rt. Hon. Hazel Blears' speech is available from: http://www.rtpi.org.uk/download/4863/PIPA-Event-SofS.pdf
2. A selection of images is available upon request.
3. Speakers at The Politicians in Planning Network (PIPA) conference also included: Steve Quartermain - CLG Chief Planner; Eamonn Boylan - Deputy Chief Executive Designate at the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA); Tom Bloxham - Chief Executive at Urban Splash; and Councillor Richard Kemp - Deputy Chair Local Government Association (LGA).
4. The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI)
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 members, we constantly seek to create areas and places in which people want to live and work.

As well as promoting spatial planning, RTPI develops and shapes policy affecting the built environment, works to raise professional standards and supports members through continuous education, training and development.

For further general information, visit the RTPI website at: www.rtpi.org.uk
The RTPI, 41 Botolph Lane, London, EC3R 8DL is a registered charity in England 262865 and Scotland SC037841.