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RTPI rejects Conservative Shadow Minister's attack on planners

16 March 2010

The RTPI has responded robustly to the remarks made in Planning magazine (£) by Shadow Planning Minister Bob Neill MP that planners are "living in an ivory tower" and pledging to "take away a comfort blanket" by introducing wide-ranging reform of the planning system.

Acting Director of Policy and Partnerships, Matt Thomson, this morning told a meeting in Parliament organised by the RTPI of key Conservative politicians, councillors, planners and academics to discuss the Opposition's Planning Green Paper, that such comments were incorrect.

He told attendees that the Institute was very concerned about the proposals for further extensive reform of the planning system, just a few years after recent legislation which planning authorities are busy implementing.

Matt Thomson specifically made the point to the Shadow Planning Minister that the RTPI does not believe that the planning system should be 'overthrown yet again with extensive reforms' as this would 'risk introducing another wasteful and expensive period of confusion and uncertainty that would be to the benefit of no-one.'

Responding directly to the Planning comments from Bob Neill, Head of Communications Tino Hernandez said:

\"We are very surprised by this uncharacteristic attack on the planning profession by Bob Neill MP in response to the results of a 'survey' involving the views of just 20 planners. His comments have unleashed genuine anger across the RTPI membership at a time when the Conservatives ought to be making the positive case for their proposals amongst planners, not resorting to jibes that have no basis in reality.\"