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Rural housing top of agenda, says President following Wales visit

12 March 2018

FTPi 21

How planners are tackling the housing crisis – particularly in rural areas – was the focus of the RTPI President’s visit to members in Wales.

During the two-day visit, RTPI President, John Acres MRTPI, visited housing related projects in Wales and spoke at the RTPI Cymru Spring Conference – one of the largest planning events in Wales – where the focus was on housing delivery.

John visited Flintshire County Council’s latest housing project known as ‘The Walks’ in Flint (pictured above, right). Planners have been central in the development of the 92 new council and affordable homes built which are amongst the first council homes to be built in Wales in a generation. He was particularly impressed with the way the planners, the contractors (Wates) and the Council delivery team collaborated and shared offices throughout the project to ensure everyone got what they wanted from the project.

John Acres, RTPI President said:
"The local planners have been at the heart of delivering on the Council's affordable housing ambitions. Through their proactive and effective use of a range of planning tools - including site identification and, community and stakeholder engagement - they have ensured the new homes have been delivered on time and with the community's support."

RTPI Training Cardiff Housing 2

John also met with Horizon Nuclear Power and senior figures from Anglesey Council to discuss how 8,500 workers might be housed over a ten year period during the construction of a proposed nuclear power station on Anglesey in North Wales. He saw first hand the existing, but decommissioned, nuclear power station, Wylfa and heard how the Council want to transform Anglesey into an ‘Energy Island’ with nuclear, wind, biomass and tidal power generation facilities.

John said:

“While the proposed nuclear power station is only at an early stage in the development process, its planning will play an important role in its future. Providing new jobs and ensuring adequate housing for a large workforce that is well integrated with the existing community will be critical to the project’s success.”

He also attended – along with senior Welsh Government officials - the sold out RTPI Cymru Spring Conference which focused on housing delivery, particularly in rural Wales. The conference brought together planners from councils and the private sector to discuss the challenges and the opportunities for partnership working to deliver housing, including affordable housing, in the right places across Wales.

John said:

“Getting houses built in rural Wales is a real challenge. The conference was a fantastic opportunity to discuss how councils and the private sector, particularly SME builders, can build homes where they are really needed. I was delighted to see the passion which planners in Wales are tackling the issues.”

John Acres And Holly Hobbs March 2018 V2

Also at the conference, he presented Holly Hobbs with a certificate to officially recognise her as the Institute’s 25,000th member.

RTPI Cymru represents the RTPI in Wales, with 1,100 members and works to deliver services relevant to the Welsh planning system and to work with Government and stakeholders to ensure a positive planning approach in Wales.

John next visits members in the West Midlands.