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Wales Planning Research Agenda

The Value of Planning in Wales

The invitation to tender for this project has now closed, and the selected research team will be announced soon.

At the RTPI Cymru Wales Planning Conference in June 2016, Lesley Griffiths AM, Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, set out five 'asks' of the planning system and those involved in delivering it, including the need to recognise the value of planning and the economic value that creates.

This research project is intended to take forward this challenge by developing and testing a model or framework for capturing the economic, social and environmental value delivered by local authority planning. This is especially important given reduced resourcing for local authorities and the increasing pressures on local authority planning departments in particular, and also the context of the Well-being of Future Generations Acton 2015.

This project is kindly supported by Welsh Government.

Further details about the RTPI's Value of Planning programme can be viewed here.

The Process for Developing Robust Housing Evidence for LDPs in Wales

RTPI Cymru commissioned a research study by the School of Planning and Geography Cardiff University to consider the process for developing robust housing projections for Local Development Plans in Wales. The research was carried out in response to some local planning authorities' uncertainty and concerns about how much flexibility they have to interpret household projections. The published report and details of the key findings are available to view.

Manual of integrated demographic forecasting for local planning in Wales

A key recommendation of the research was to provide Local Planning Authorities with the skills for investigating housing projection data. RTPI Cymru, with support from Welsh Government  delivered this training for LPAs in March 2017, with very positive feedback. The majority of Welsh LPAs attended the training.  A Manual of integrated demograhic forecasting for local planning in Wales was produced following the training in April 2017.  Many thanks to Professor Ludi Simpson for providing the training and writting the Manual.

A Map for Wales

Following on from the success of the Map for England study, RTPI Cymru commissioned students (Clare Beaney, Lara Lawrie, Owen Rees, Gemma Bufton and Karen Bolton) at Cardiff University's School of Planning and Geography to consider a Map for Wales, through the Live project, by analysing Welsh Government policy and map spatial themes representing policy approaches and cross-sector activity.

The Study appraised over 150 documents to review examples of spatial planning in policy. The project demonstrated opportunities for the visual representation of policy direction and highlighted where policies deviated between Government Departments.

Questions asked:

  • Do Welsh Government policies create explicit spatial implications?
  • Do these create spatial conflicts or synergies?
  • Can visual representation of these spatial implications benefit decision makers?

Key findings:

  • From over 150 policy documents, only 37% had any form of mapping and very few had 'predictive' policy maps;
  • by topic areas, there were significant variations in the acknowledgement of spatial issues, only 5% of social policies compared to 50% and 75% for environmental and economic respectively;
  • Welsh Government acknowledges the importance of spatial planning and cross sector working
  • However, there is limited application of the approach, very little mapping undertaken and spatial content of policy documents was nominal
  • Wales Spatial Plan (WSP) was referred to in older documents but limited acknowledgement in newer policies, it does not appear to have directly influenced policy direction. Time for a new WSP?
  • Welsh Government policy guides aims and objectives but many documents are unclear about how this will be implemented;
  • A strong emphasis from Welsh Government that spatial planning decisions are cascaded down to Local Authority level. Potential for Regional level Spatial Plan to increase co-ordination?
  • Very little cross-sector mapping, especially in strategic documents.

The full report is available to download.

Brian Webb's presentation on a Map for Wales at the RTPI Cymru Spring Conference April 2017, provides further detail on the project.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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