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RTPI President visits PINS and IPC

22 November 2011

Richard Summers, RTPI President, visited the Planning Inspectorate and the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) in Bristol on Wednesday 16 November as part of his visit to the RTPI South West Region.  The visit also included the RTPI SW Conference on Development Management and visits to the University of the West of England (UWE) and Weston-Super-Mare (North Somerset Council).

The President met Sir Michael Pitt, Chief Executive of the Planning Inspectorate and Chair of the IPC, and Peter Burley, Chief Planning Inspector (designate) to discuss issues of common interest for the profession arising from the recent Royal Assent for the Localism Act.  They also discussed the process and implications of the merger between the Planning Inspectorate and the IPC including the different functions and origins of the two organisations.  A shared objective was the need to support Local Planning Authorities and professional planners in preparing and updating Local Plans in the context of the Localism Act and the Draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

There is a clear priority for the RTPI and for the Planning Inspectorate to encourage and support Local Planning Authorities and professional planners in preparing and updating Local Plans across the country. 

The President was also briefed on the processing of a typical national infrastructure project by IPC staff and then met 25 professional planners from the Planning Inspectorate and IPC for a wide-ranging discussion of current planning issues.  Much of the discussion focussed on the current reforms of the planning system and the effects they are likely to have on the work of the Planning Inspectorate and the IPC and the preparation and updating of Local Plans.  There was general discussion about the implications of the new system for appeals and legal challenges and the likely effects on the time and cost involved at a time when economic growth is a particular priority

Richard Summers said, "I was delighted to meet Sir Michael Pitt and so many of his colleagues when I visited the Planning Inspectorate and the IPC to learn more about their work in the context of the reforms of the planning system. 

There is a clear priority for the RTPI and for the Planning Inspectorate to encourage and support Local Planning Authorities and professional planners in preparing and updating Local Plans across the country.

We are all aiming to secure a high quality planning system, to deliver sustainable development and to help local communities make better places in neighbourhoods, local areas and wider than local areas." 

Sir Michael Pitt was delighted to welcome Richard to Bristol. He said "we are creating a new Planning Inspectorate and Richard is meeting us at a time of considerable challenge and excitement. The integration of IPC with the Planning Inspectorate by April 2012 will establish a single organisation of over 600 people and one of the highest concentrations of planning expertise in the country".