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Pete Lloyd: A genuinely social network

The RTPI’s networks are both professional tools and communities. There is, perhaps, no better example than the Independent Consultants Network (ICN), and volunteers play a crucial role in bringing it together. Pete Lloyd is an independent consultant and Chair of the ICN Steering Group. He also participates in the RTPI Volunteer Advisory Group. 


The Institute supports a network of 901 independent consultants at the latest count. Business owners as well as Chartered Town Planners, we work all over the UK, a bewildering array of generalists and specialists advising on every imaginable planning matter, small or large, including filling gaps in LPA and PINS resource.  

ICN members value the sense of community gained through the network, as very often they are working flexibly and from home as micro-businesses. Being only a single or a few planners, many have no or limited other professional day to day support.  

The Network Steering Group, consisting of 6 volunteers, supports ICN events by preparing a programme, securing sponsorship through business and commercial contacts, and contributes to countless other little helps throughout the year, including providing specialist input to RTPI consultation responses. Volunteering offers a different kind of relaxed team working and is highly appealing for that reason, bringing different skills and experiences together– the whole much stronger than the individual.   

A key activity of the Steering Group is organising the annual conference which took place in Brighton this May. The Conference delivers network objectives and is the main opportunity to meet, spit ball, put faces to names, share a social drink and of course praise fellow colleagues. It breaks a potentially lonely existence and expands delegates’ knowledge of planning and business matters.

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Delegates take a look around Brighton's famous Lanes

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The ICN conference at Brighton

A particularly useful session this year was the ‘running your own business’ plenary which highlighted the importance of accurate contemporaneous records in the working life of the consultant town planner. 

ICN is growing, which means new members are usually new business owners. I have survived as a business since 2006. I knew I could offer some time, shared experience (of good and bad), a willingness to step up and be just a little vocal in support of colleagues and to learn from others too.   

As Chairman I am the Network’s voice with the RTPI on issues that affect members. The Network wants people to succeed as planners and in business. I sprinkle that with a little north Walian fairy dust.  

A reward of enthusiastic engaged colleagues already asking when and where 2025 will be (and offering to assist) makes the demands of a National Conference worthwhile.  


As a member-led organisation, there are lots of ways to get involved in the RTPI. Find out more about volunteering here. Nominations are now open for elected roles on the General Assembly, Board of Trustees and for the Vice President role. Find out more about these here

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