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Planning across council boundaries vital to meeting future community needs

30 January 2015



A new report from the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) makes the case for effective strategic planning, based on six general principles, showing how councils can work together across their boundaries, in order to better coordinate the provision of housing,  jobs, infrastructure and other services.

In England the report recommends that local authorities need to be much more strongly incentivised to cooperate to meet housing need across wider areas such as city and county regions. Growth and City Deals need to be targeted to rewarding plans for housing growth.

Strategic Planning: Effective Cooperation for Planning Across Boundaries features a number of planning case studies – operating different models of good practice - which highlight how effective cooperation between local authorities across their boundaries is bringing major benefits to some city and county region areas.

Janet Askew, President of the Royal Town Planning Institute said:

“Collaboration, strong leadership and democratic accountability are key to strategic planning. There are clear advantages to undertaking strategic economic, transport and housing planning in a coordinated manner and across larger areas.”

The current debate on the devolution of powers, the abolition of regional strategies in England, the review of strategic planning in Scotland and a new Planning Bill in Wales have raised important questions around how we plan more effectively for the needs of our wider communities.

The report contains a number of recommendations for fresh approaches to strategic planning in each of the UK’s four nations and the Republic of Ireland. It emphasizes the importance of local buy-in to arrangements for collaboration. It also shows that cooperation between local authorities brings major benefits to all the councils in a given area.

The report includes six key general principles which strategic planning should follow for maximizing the benefits of planning across local authority boundaries in order to generate more economic prosperity and better outcomes for communities, including major infrastructure and housing that is well connected to where people work, go to school, and enjoy their leisure activities.

The research will be used by the RTPI in the run up to the general election and in discussions with the incoming government about the benefits of strategic planning.

Listen to the report's author, Richard Blyth, discuss the paper in the podcast

The report can be found here