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President visits Corby

02 September 2010

The President of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), Ann Skippers, will visit Corby today (2nd September) to understand more about North Northamptonshire's ground-breaking approach to the future planning of the area and see firsthand the outstanding progress being made in the sustainable development and regeneration of Corby.

In the course of her visit, to be hosted by Corby Borough Council, the North Northants Joint Planning Unit (NNJPU) and the North Northants Development Company (NNDC), Ann Skippers will meet with councillors, planning officers and local developers and representatives from the Homes and Communities Agency.

Ann Skippers, President of the RTPI, said:

\"I'm genuinely excited about visiting Corby. The town has been through some hard times but has bounced back over the past few years and a large part of that can be attributed to the improved transport links and the investment that has been brought into the area. It will be great to see first hand some the improvements and learn more about what still needs to be done.\"

Positive perceptions

As part of a comprehensive tour of the area, Ann Skippers and James Carpenter, Chairman of the East Midlands RTPI, will visit a number of development projects, which have improved day to day life for residents in Corby and increased positive perceptions of the town amongst investors. These include the Corby Train Station, the Corby East Midlands International Swimming Pool and soon to be completed Corby Cube civic centre.

The visit will also include a look at the progress being made at Priors Hall Park, the major urban extension located to the north east of Corby. Will Cousins, Deputy Chairman of David Lock Associates, the company which developed the Priors Hall Park master plan on behalf of Bee Bee Developments, will explain the thinking behind the design of the scheme and the process through which it is being delivered. The visit will conclude with a tour of the neighbouring Corby Business Academy and talks on school design from Opun (the Architecture Centre in the East Midlands) and Matthew Hayhurst from the architecture practice Foster Partners, which designed the Corby Business Academy.

Andrew Longley, Planning Manager, North Northants Joint Planning Unit, said:

\"RTPI Awards for the Core Spatial Strategy and more recently Kettering's Market Place have recognised planning achievements in North Northamptonshire but I am extremely pleased that the President should choose to come to Corby for a closer look at progress on the ground. We will be talking about the challenges of delivering high quality developments that meet the needs and aspirations of our local communities.\"

James Carpenter, the Chair of the East Midlands RTPI and Head of Design Support Services with Opun said:

\"We wanted to invite our President to Corby as it is a place that demonstrates how a positive local approach to regeneration and the planning of new development can result in the creation of great local places and some truly landmark buildings.

Embracing opportunity

The resident population of Corby and its leaders have embraced the opportunity of inward regeneration investment. It is clearly evident that developments such as the Corby Cube, the swimming pool and the railway station, all delivered through the often maligned planning system, have served to raise both the regional and national profile of Corby and the local identity of the town.

North Northants is an area that has engaged positively with planning and design initiatives such as the East Midlands Design Review Panel. Design review has been used as an effective part of the planning process to help raise local design aspiration, and to create places that people want to use and enjoy. Corby now has many examples, some of which we will be visiting today, that have demonstrably benefitted from the CABE affiliated design review process in terms of the delivery of improved urban design quality within local built environments.\"

Corby Borough Council's Lead Member for Regeneration, Cllr Jimmy Noble, said:
\"Corby has changed dramatically for the better over the past few years and it is satisfying that the progress made is being highlighted as an example of successful sustainable development and regeneration.The community is very proud of what is being delivered throughout the Borough and we look forward to welcoming the president of the RTPI to the town to see firsthand what we are achieving.\"