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RTPI Presidential Visit to the South West

It was my great pleasure to visit Plymouth on my RTPI Presidential Visit to the Southwest region. My visit to the city’s newly opened Market Hall and The Box projects was delightful and inspiring.

From left to right. Top row: John Fox (Plymouth CC), Toby Clayton (Bristol CC), Gareth Pinwell (Ashfords), Louis Dulling (Devon & Cornwall Planning Consultants), Dan Thorning (Plymouth CC) Bottom row: Sarah Lee (RIBA SW Chair, Stride Treglown), Rebecca Miller (Plymouth CC), Wei Yang (RTPI President), Angharad Williams (RTPI SW Chair), Cherry Wren (Plymouth CC/Plymouth Uni)

Plymouth City Council has been the winner of the RTPI’s Silver Jubilee Cup for three times. I was delighted to meet the Council’s Chief Executive Tracey Lee, Councillor Patrick Nicholson, and the council’s excellent City Planning Manager Rebecca Miller, and colleagues Tim Binding, John Fox, and Dan Thorning. I applaud the council’s visionary leadership and their achievement so far. It’s remarkable to hear the progress of The Plymouth Plan (2014-2034) and how the creative use of data has supported the delivery of the Plan.

(From left to right – Wei Yang (RTPI President), Tracey Lee (Plymouth CC CEO), Tim Binding (Plymouth CC), Angharad Williams (RTPI SW Chair)

This year, ‘Plymouth Climate Challenge and the Climate Emergency Bonus’ initiative was the Winner of both Excellence in Planning for Health and Wellbeing, and Excellence in Planning for the Natural Environment for the 2021 RTPI Planning Excellence Awards. The ‘Interactive Plymouth Plan’ was a finalist of Excellence in Tech within Planning Practice, and the council’s Development Management Service team was commended for Planning Authority Team of the Year, and Jessica Vaughan was a Young Planner of the Year finalist. The council is certainly a prime example of innovative and positive planning services in the country.

Tim Binding (Plymouth CC), Jon Shaw (Plymouth Uni), Rebecca Miller (Plymouth CC), Cllr Patrick Nicholson (Plymouth CC), Olivia Wilson (Plymouth Uni), Angharad Williams (RTPI SW Chair) and Wei Yang (RTPI President).

During the visit, I also had the pleasure to meet Professor Jon Shaw, Professor Stephen Essex, and Dr Olivia Wilson from the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Plymouth. We had an insightful discussion about the importance of planning research and how better integrate planning research with planning practice.

Another enjoyable part of the visit was meeting young planners and students from the region, Toby Clayton, Cherry Wren, Jozie Bannister and Keegan Ferreday.  

A special thank you to the RIBA South West Chair  Sarah Lee, Gareth Pinwell of Ashfords, Dr Stephen Essex of Plymouth University and to Louis Dulling of Devon & Cornwall Planning Consultants  for joining part of the visit, and also to RTPI Southwest Regional Chair Angharad Williams for the lovely company, and Regional Coordinator Charlotte Daborn for the thoughtful arrangements.