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Party conferences reveal planning still high on political agendas

12 October 2015

Clive BettsPlanning remains high on the political agenda was the very clear message from the Liberal Democrats, Labour and Conservative party conferences held over the past two weeks. A small RTPI team led by President Janet Askew and immediate Past President Cath Ranson attended and spoke at events held in Bournemouth, Brighton and Manchester. Speakers at RTPI events, which were put on in partnership with the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) included: Roberta Blackman-Woods MP (pictured below, Labour Shadow Housing and Planning minister); Clive Betts MP (pictured above, Chair of the Communities and Local Government Select Committee); Bob Neil MP (pictured below, former Planning Minister and Chair of the Justice Select Committee).

The RTPI events are normally some of the best attended on the fringe. Over 70 came to our lunch time session in Manchester on the theme of infrastructure, the numbers boosted by a very timely announcement that morning by the Chancellor. Another 50 took part in the event at the Labour party conference. 

Bobneill MPRTPI Head of Communications and Public Affairs, Tino Hernandez, said: "The party conferences are an important opportunity to engage very directly with politicians both at the events that we put on ourselves and also around the conference itself. It is a lot easier to speak directly to a minister or shadow minister when they are not surrounded by their entourage of advisors. That is the sort of access you get at the party conferences. A really big message we picked up at events, from a range of partners, was that cuts to planning services had alreadRoberta Blackman Woods _1y been very significant and needed to be halted. It is very evident that planning is seen as part of the solution to many of the challenges facing the country. Not everyone agrees with the exact role that planning and planners should play, which is why we need to keep making the case." 

RTPI staff, Janet and Cath attended over 30 individual events to make the case for planning.

RSVP for the Politicians in Planning Association’s Annual Conference in Birmingham on 28 November