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President pleased with planners’ focus on housing delivery during Yorkshire visit

02 August 2016

RTPI President Phil Williams’ visit to Yorkshire bought together RTPI members, planners and a wide range of stakeholders involved in housing delivery to explore the impact of the Housing and Planning Act and devolution in a post-Brexit world.

RTPI Yorkshire Annual Lecture

Phil Williams Michael Lyons Phil Crabtree

The RTPI Yorkshire Annual Lecture - "2040: Where shall we all live?”, the centrepiece of the two day visit, delivered by Sir Michael Lyons, focused on why the housing challenge is a national challenge and one that we must rise to, on behalf of our children and grandchildren. The lecture demonstrated the complexity of housing delivery, especially in the North of England, the risks of depending wholly on market forces, and the impact of the new Planning and Housing Act 2016.

Phil said:

“Sir Michael delivered a tour de force on housing delivery and reminded us of the central part that planners and planning plays in the delivery of safe and secure communities. His message, that we owe it to our children and grandchildren, is one that cannot be ignored. Sir Michael called for planners to be front and centre in our response to the housing crisis.”

Phil presented engineering firm Ove Arup and the Environment Agency the RTPI Yorkshire Planning Excellence Award 2016 for the Skipton Flood Alleviation Scheme at the same event. View the photos from the evening


Phil Crabtree , Emma Lancaster , Phil Williams At Barton Willmore 28 July

In Leeds, Phil met with house builders, legal firms and developers at Barton Willmore’s offices, to discuss the state of planning and housing delivery in Yorkshire. Rountable pictured below, image courtesy of 

It began with a general overview of local planning covering the shortage of housing in the region, and a comparison of delivery amongst local authorities within the region.

“Despite a shortage, there are still huge opportunities within these areas, as highlighted in recent research undertaken by Barton Willmore, but what are the barriers, how can we improve delivery and increase regeneration?,” said Claire Kent, Director at Barton Willmore. 

Following a general discussion about issues in the private sector, Phil presented the RTPI’s views on the Housing and Planning Act and an overview of the RTPI’s Location of Development research. The research, released earlier this year, presents  the relationship between housing, employment and infrastructure across 12 city-regions in the UK for the first time. He is pictured (right) with RTPI Yorkshire Chair Phil Crabtree and RTPI Yorkshire Vice Chair Emma Lancaster at Barton Willmore's office.

Phil Williams RTPI Yorkshire Visit To Barton Willmore 2016

Phil went on a series of site visits from officers of Leeds City Council (including a briefing from Leeds Director of City Development Martin Farrington, pictured below far right) who demonstrated the innovative ways in which the housing challenge in Leeds is being tackled. These include 70,000 homes to be provided by 2028, quality community development through the Leeds Standard, Neighbourhoods for Living and the Brownfield Land Programme. Chris Thompson, Managing Director at deveolper Citu, briefed Phil at Low Fold Leeds on their passive house development (pictured below centre with Tim Hill, Leeds Chief Planning Officer and RTPI Yorkshire Chair Phil Crabtree).

Phil Williams Yorkshire Visit Leeds

Phil said:

“Leeds has developed a coherent yet challenging strategy which moves the debate from simply numbers of homes to be delivered to a series of proposals for delivering this ambitious programme. It includes comprehensive community engagement, quality partnerships, meeting brownfield challenges and the direct commissioning of affordable homes. I commend these initiatives and Leeds’ responsive approach to other local authorities and those in the house building industry.”


President And Phil Crabtree With Co YC Project Officers At York CentralIn York, Phil was briefed on the local planning issues, the challenges in the city and its Local Plan. He spoke with senior members of the planning team, including the Director of City and Environmental Services.

While on a tour of York Central Phil said:

“Seeing the working happening at York Central first hand reinforced the complexity of housing delivery here and the value planning adds to this process. The planners here are working with communities to deliver high quality homes”.

York Central is the city’s largest brownfield site and was given Housing Zone status to help accelerate site delivery. Once built, the 35 hectare site will have 1,100 homes delivered in collaboration between Network Rail and the City of York Council. Phil is picutred with Phil Crabtree and York Council project officers at York Central.


Phil next visits members in the South East of England in October. 

Read: President: “Planners playing a valuable role in South West of England”

Images: courtesy of Bob Wolfe, RTPI Yorkshire Honorary Regional Secretary