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Planners central to economic recovery

21 March 2011

Richard Summers, President of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), used his recent visit to Wales (14-16 March) to highlight planners' vital contribution to economic recovery.

Richard Summers said: \"It's not said often enough or strongly enough that planners will be essential to sustained economic recovery. If they are not involved buildings will be constructed without the necessary infrastructure, development will not be sustainable, our environment and heritage will be put in peril and our communities will risk becoming socially dysfunctional. Far from being the enemies of enterprise, planners are critical to business development and economic growth.\"

The highlight of the visit was RTPI Cymru's Spring Conference (15 March) in Llandudno. Titled Planning for Economic Renewal the conference featured speakers from the Welsh Assembly, the Bank of England, developers, local councils and private consultancies. The conference was generously sponsored by DPP.

 Richard Summers also visited some of Wales' best planned projects including:

  • West Coast Energy in Mold, Flintshire.  This onshore wind company which works across the UK has designed and built a BREEAM Excellent office building as its headquarters.
  • Dolgellau in the Snowdonia National Park.  Local planners have combined the conservation of 48 listed buildings as heritage assets with the promotion of a flourishing local economy.

Speakers at the Spring Conference were: Anna Prescott RTPI Cymru Chair, Neil Ashbridge the Bank of England's Agent for Wales, Gareth Hooper of DPP, Bryn Richards and Neil Hemington from the Welsh Assembly Government, Nicola Gulley from Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, Shelagh McNerney from DPP Shape, Owain Wyn of Burum and Jonathan Cawley of West Coast Energy.