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Highlights of 2012

21 December 2012

Colin HaylockDecember: Planning Guidance review published, Resources and Performance in Scotland

The Government published Lord Taylor's review of planning guidance. Colin Haylock, RTPI President, welcomed the announcement. In Scotland, the Government made a number of announcements addressed in RTPI Scotland's paper Resources and Peformance - both of which are significant steps towards one of Colin's main aims for his year as President of getting a workable planning system in place in England and Scotland.

Pictured right: Colin Haylock, RTPI President.

November: Sweeping changes, sweeping responses: the value of planning in the 21st century

Mitchell Silver, President of the American Planning Association, gave an inspirational RTPI Annual Nathaniel Lichfield Lecture in November. Entitled 'Sweeping changes, sweeping responses: the value of planning in the 21st century', Mitchell drew on a wealth of fascinating, and at times surprising, evidence from the U.S., Mitchell showed that good strategic planning can add significant value to investment, and argued that communities need planners to "fall in love with planning again".

October: Launch of the Map for England pilot

The RTPI, in conjunction with software specialists Idox, launched a pilot website for the Map for England in October. Despite the generally recognised and accepted need to ensure a joined up approach to planning infrastructure and services, there is remarkably still no single place or data source within government that makes all of these maps available to view - the Map for England project seeks to address these issues. In addition to being discussed on Radio 4's flagship consumer programme You & Yours, evidence from the Map for England was drawn on by BIS Minister the Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP and Shadow Planning Minister Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods MP in debate on the Growth and Infrastructure Bill demonstrating its worth to policy-makers.

September: Nick Boles MP, Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP & Rt Hon Don Foster MP at our Party Conference events

Kindly sponsored by Savills and Local Dialogue, the RTPI ran six well-attended events over a three week period in late September and early October featuring one of the first public appearances of Planning Minister Nick Boles MP, a bravura performance by the Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP, and a speech by the then newly appointed LibDem CLG Minister the Rt Hon Don Foster MP. 

August: RTPI tells BIS Select Committee evidence-based approach to regeneration is essential

The Olympics and Paralympics dominated the headlines in July and August but the RTPI continued to influence policy-makers throughout the year.  In August the RTPI's written evidence to the BIS Select Committee was published, emphasisng the need for an evidence-based approach to regeneration. Throughout the year the Institute has sought to influence Government and policy-makers through written and oral evidence to Select Committees, written briefings to politicians, and responses to consultations.

July: Government confirms Planning Aid England funding

The then Decentralisation and Cities Minister, Greg Clark MP, announced that further funding will be available to enable four organisations and their partners, including Planning Aid England, to continue to offer practical and bespoke advice and assistance to communities undertaking neighbourhood planning.

June: Planning Convention, Parliamentary reception, new website launched

Supported by headline sponsor Bircham Dyson Bell, the Planning Convention's innovative one day format was a sell out, bringing together big picture plenaries and special interests sessions focusing onmembers' professional training and development needs. The highlight of the Parliamentary reception at the House of Commons, kindly hosted by the Rt Hon Nick Raynsford MP and sponsored by British Land, was a speech by the Secretary of State for DCLG, the Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP who thanked the Institute for its constructive approach to the National Planning Policy Framework and for suggestions the RTPI made which the Government adopted. Earlier in the month, the RTPI launched its new website-a major project for staff across the Institute.

May: Presidential visit to East London

Colin Haylock, President of the RTPI,  visited every region and devolved nation this year, visiting East London in May. Organised by RTPI London, the visit focused on some of the large scale infrastructure development that has taken place in the area.

April: Defending and explaining the planning system in the media

The RTPI regularly defends planners and the planning system in the media, and plays an important role explaining how good planning improves lives. Just in April, the RTPI Cymru appeared in the the Western Mail, on You & Yours, and on local radio-but this is just a fraction of what we do. The RTPI regularly appears on national TV such as Sky news, specialist publications such as the Times Educational Supplement, international TV, on the Guardian's online debates and in the national papers.

March: NPPF in England, Planning Modernisation in Scotland

In England the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was published, and addressed many of our concerns. RTPI President Colin Haylock said: "Overall, the Government has listened to the RTPI and others and the NPPF is a significant improvement on the draft." The Scottish Government also published its proposals for modernising the planning system.

February: Tayplan scoops Planning Awards

Original and visionary in scope and style, TAYplan's Proposed Strategic Development Plan scooped the top prize in the Royal Town Planning Institute's (RTPI) National Planning Awards.

January: Colin Haylock becomes RTPI President

Colin set himself a demanding set of priorities for the year including getting a workable planning system in place in England and influencing planned reforms in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; making sure planners are fully equipped with the right skills, training and resources; demonstrating the immense contribution planners and planning can make to help get us out of recession;  securing the future of Planning Aid England (PAE); continuing to shape attractive and successful places and environments.