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RTPI in Scotland: Planning is an inclusive activity

07 March 2012

Dear Sir,

Craig McClarenUnfortunately Andrew McKie's article appears to recycle old arguments about new towns and planners which are based on approaches taken more than 60 years ago.

The combined population of the five new towns of Scotland is around 250,000 people and, if taken together, they would equate to the third-largest town in Scotland behind Glasgow and Edinburgh. I suspect that the levels of fondness for home among the majority of residents of these towns is no greater and no less than anywhere else in Scotland. As someone who was brought up in Cumbernauld, I can say that the town was a good place to grow up in. It is not perfect, but it should not be demonised.

And can we please move on from peddling myths that planning continues to work in the same way as in the 1950s and 1960s? You have to think about the time when the new towns were built, where there was pressing demand for post-war new housing, and where a range of professions, not just planning, developed approaches they felt would help to meet these needs.

The system and the people involved have changed markedly since then, with planning now a much more inclusive activity where planners work hand in hand with communities, investors and developers to agree a future for places.

It is a shame that Andrew McKie resorted to cliché and myth. The planning profession is at present debating how best to ensure that we have the right approaches, skills and resources to ensure that we help to create great places for people to live in.

Craig McLaren,

National Director, Royal Town Planning Institute Scotland

The letter was published in today's (07 March) Herald.