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Richard Blyth appointed new RTPI Head of Policy and Practice

01 September 2011

Richard BlythRichard Blyth has been appointed the new Head of Policy and Practice for the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).

He joins from Capita Symonds Ltd where he was Associate Director since 2008. He has a long background in planning and takes up his appointment from 12 September 2011. Richard will replace Matt Thomson who is returning to academia.

Dr Peter Geraghty, RTPI Junior Vice President, who was a member of the appointment panel, said:

\"On behalf of the Institute we are extremely pleased to welcome Richard as our new Head of Policy and Practice. He has extensive experience of planning practice in government, including the Department for Communities and Local Government, and has work at a senior level in the private sector. Richard made a particular mark by shaping national planning practice through his authorship of PPS12 on Local Spatial Planning\".

Richard Blyth said:

\"I am very much looking forward to joining the Institute. It is vital that we continue to emphasise that spatial planning is not just a luxury add-on for the good times but is in fact a key part of any framework for rebuilding and investment. 

It is vital that we continue to emphasise that spatial planning is not just a luxury add-on for the good times but is in fact a key part of any framework for rebuilding and investment.

The RTPI has a clear responsibility to speak for its members, many of whom - in the public, private and voluntary sectors - are facing difficult circumstances in what is a prolonged recession. It is one of my priorities to ensure that government and other professional and trade bodies are kept fully in the picture regarding the contribution that planning can make. I also want to help dispel certain recurring planning myths which the RTPI has begun to expose through a major campaign.\"  

Richard will work closely with RTPI Chief Executive Trudi Elliott and Managing Director Sara Drake.

Richard has held a variety of planning roles but a consistent characteristic of his career has been to work as an advocate for planning in a wider context.  Whilst at Capita Symonds he has worked on commissions for local authorities on infrastructure planning to support core strategies, and for a number of private clients on regeneration schemes. He spent over four years in the Civil Service, including being responsible for the streamlining of LDFs work stream, in response to recommendations by Kate Barker in her review of land use planning.

Richard led a small team within the Joint Strategic Planning Unit which produced the last Berkshire Structure Plan and has also worked for district councils on local plans.  He spent two years in the Gambia West Africa as a physical planning officer working on physical development plans and market regeneration.