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The RTPI welcomes Farrell Review recommendations

31 March 2014

cath in scotlandCath Ranson, President of the RTPI, said: “The Farrell Review is a vital contribution to fresh thinking around the concept of ‘PLACE’. There are 60 recommendations which the government and the built environment professions should study carefully. The RTPI particularly values the Farrell Review’s recognition of the need to properly fund planning and the call for genuine joined up working across government departments. We welcome the opportunity to work with the government and other stakeholders in taking forward the Farrell Review’s recommendations.”

Pictured: Cath Ranson, President of the RTPI, speaking at a recent event at the Scottish Parliament.

RTPI reaction to the recommendations

The numbering reflects the Farrell Review recommendations.

Education, Outreach and Skills

01 We are pleased to see the recognition of the RTPI’s work on Future Planners. We agree that it is important to show how PLACE disciplines are connected to many subjects across the curriculum and we are working with subject associations which include geography and citizenship to show how planning is integral to what students are learning about.

It is also important that the PLACE disciplines are explicitly recognized as rewarding career choices given they are not subjects taught at school so are not high on students’ agendas when they come to choose university courses.

02 The RTPI welcomes the proposal to establish a Task Force to coordinate activities. In order to embed PLACE topics in the curriculum we would look towards working with other agencies to create online resources to support teachers address the curriculum.

03 The RTPI welcomes the proposal. This chimes with our Future Planners initiative in which we include a critical assessment of an environment the students would know locally. In our Phase 2 this is an area we will develop and again are in discussion with teaching associations how to make this work. We would welcome working with other PLACE agencies to identify areas cooperation, while ensuring the distinct nature of Planning is clear to students through these projects.

04 The idea of a national competition fits in with our goals. We believe it would be important for the different PLACE topics to have separate awards.

05 We welcome this proposal, which synchronises with current RTPI developments to introduce online CPD monitoring.

06 Whilst we welcome the proposal, we note that expert volunteers themselves need support, training, advice and organisation. Planning Aid England has a track record of empowering communities to have greater ownership of their built environment and we know from our experience that whilst hugely rewarding for the individual and the community, it can be a lengthy and resource intensive process.

07 We welcome all opportunities to advance education and outreach, promoting lifelong learning , and engagement and decision-making within the built environment.

08 We welcome this expansion, particularly if coordinated with universities and schools to broaden impact and it could build on the established Heritage Open Doors and London’s Open House initiatives to provide more contemporary design development

09 We welcome the proposal as a positive example of holistic planning and design in the built environment.

10 The RTPI supports this.

11  This is an interesting suggesting which should ideally be developed as a strengthening of the offer of the built environment centres around the country rather than in competition to them.

12 We welcome this initiative to strengthen the knowledge and skills of all involved in decision-making in the built environment.

14 The RTPI supports this and looks forward to working with partners to develop this.

15 and 16 The RTPI is supportive of these proposals.

Design Quality

19 Development management is an important element of the planning system, and is much valued by the public. The RTPI supports and encourages positive and proactive planning: this does not have to be at the expense of the appropriate level of development management.

20 We support the ambition of LPAs to secure and retain appropriately qualified individuals. MRTPI is the “kitemark” of professionalism in planning, and we would encourage all employers to hire chartered planners when employing planners. MRTPI status means that the individual is committed to continuous professional development and can be held to account by a rigorous code of conduct.

21 The Farrell Review is right to encourage the take up of technology to facilitate discussion and debate but there are a variety of methods to achieve these and not all will necessarily be appropriate in every case.

22 and 24 The RTPI welcomes the recommendations.

25 The RTPI has long been concerned that the public sector’s own capital spending on schools and hospitals has not been the subject to sufficient discipline as regards their location and integration into the proper planning of areas, the minimisation of car travel, the ensuring equal access to facilities to all not just car users and the contribution of investment to regeneration of town centres. We welcome the proposal to extend PLACE thinking to hospitals.

28 The RTPI welcomse this recommendation. We expressed our concern that the Davies Commission was tasked with considering far reaching conclusions on airport capacity in the south east without a professional strategic planner on its group.

Cultural heritage

34 The RTPI is supportive of initiatives that facilitate enhanced public engagement with decision making in the built environment.

35 The RTPI welcomes this approach to streamlining provision of consultation responses to local authority decision makers, as a means of reducing uncertainty. It will be essential to work within a timeframe that does not delay determination of planning applications.

36 Enhanced support provided by built environment professional to local planning authorities is to be welcomed in the current context of budget austerity. Consultation by English Heritage of the PLACE Review Panels is supported.

37 and 38 These are not in the gift of local government. Whilst reasonable, the recommendations must be addressed by central government which has been keen to remove these types of considerations from the planning application process.

39 It is hard to see why a difference in VAT rates is justifiable.

Economic benefits 

41 and 42 The RTPI notes that DfID and its predecessors have placed a strong emphasis on rural development and the economics of development (rather than supporting the process of urbanisation).

We should be proud of the achievements of the built environment professions as demonstrated by the Olympics, Crossrail and the redevelopment of Kings Cross for example, and Government should praise and support planners who export their skills. We note the excellent work of UKTI in this respect.

45 The RTPI supports this recommendation. In practice, work overseas is multidisciplinary and the approach adopted by UKTI and ministers should much more strongly reflect this. 

53 and 54 The RTPI notes with interest the recommendations that business and finance should be taught in architecture schools, and business schools should learn about good design.

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