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Telegraph and Times feature past Presidents' planning reform concerns

01 September 2011

Sir,

As past Presidents of the Royal Town Planning Institute, this is the first time in over fifty years that so many of us have come together to sign a public letter.

The current debate in the media about planning reform, with claim and counter claim, highlights the importance of planning for economic growth, building communities and the conservation of our cherished spaces and places.

However, this debate has now descended into open hostility on all sides, with each party interpreting the same policy in very different ways.

The government also wants to bring in a new system almost overnight, reflecting the urgency of delivering localism and stimulating both housing and economic growth.

While we recognise this urgency and support the government's overall objectives, the unintended consequences of this haste are greater confusion, uncertainty for the development industry and anxiety for communities.

Good planning is also about the long, as well as the short term.

What we need is a reasoned debate and clear thinking on managing this major change.

As the voice of the professionals, in the public, private and voluntary sectors, who will be charged with making any new system work, the RTPI stands ready to bring the parties together to address the confusion and to resolve the conflict.

Yours faithfully

  • Martin Willey 2009-10
  • Janet O'Neill 2008-09
  • Clive Harridge 2006-07
  • Ron Tate 2005-06
  • Professor Vincent Goodstadt 2003-04
  • Mike Haslam OBE 2002-03
  • Nick Davies 2001- 02
  • Kevin Murray 2000- 01
  • Brian Raggett 1999- 00
  • Trevor Roberts 1998- 99
  • Tony Struthers OBE 1997- 98
  • Jed Griffiths 1995- 96
  • Hazel McKay 1994- 95
  • Martin Bradshaw 1993- 94
  • Professor Peter Fidler MBE 1991-92
  • Robin Thompson CBE 1990- 91
  • Chris Shepley CBE 1989- 90
  • Stephen Byrne OBE 1985- 86
  • John Anderson 1984- 85
  • Andrew Thorburn 1982-83
  • John Collins OBE 1980- 82
  • Ewart Parkinson 1975-76
  • Professor Graham Ashworth CBE 1973- 74