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Obituary: Professor Graham Ashworth CBE

29 September 2015

Graham AshworthThe former President of the RTPI in 1973/4, Professor Graham Ashworth, has died suddenly at the age of 80. Raised in Plymouth and Bristol he put his interest in buildings and urban development down to seeing wartime destruction and development. He trained as an Architect and studied at Liverpool University to gain his MCD. He was a member of that small elite band of Liverpool graduates who became President of the RTPI.

Having moved to the north-west he stayed to become involved in a wide range of work including Operation Spring clean and the redevelopment of Liverpool Albert Dock. He had also worked in America.

Professor Ashworth was a former President of the Foundation for Environmental Education, and a former member of the UK Round Table on Sustainable Development. Formerly he was Chairman of Going for Green and ENCAMS. As a former Professor of Urban Environmental Studies at the University of Salford he was an expert in urban regeneration/land reclamation and had chaired Ravenhead Renaissance in its successful improvement of parts of St Helens. He was an Honorary Vice Chairman of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health . In 1980 he was awarded the CBE for services to the environment.

He became well known as Director General of the Tidy Britain Group from 1987 to 2000, leading the Tidy Britain Campaign, and even giving evidence in the High Court in support of McDonalds’ efforts to manage litter around their outlets! In 1996 he had an honour bestowed on no other President of the RTPI when Manchester Tram no 1022 was named after him in recognition of his role as an environmental champion as Chief Executive of Going for Green. His focus on the practical end of the environmental improvement process including co-authoring “A Practical Guide to Graffiti Removal”, did not come at the expense of his overriding planning principles. Writing to the Daily Telegraph in 2011 he criticised the government’s proposal to remove the presumption against development saying that it was as important in principle for our environment as the presumption of innocence until proved guilty was for our society.

GrahamashworthHe was a past President of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, a Deputy Lieutenant of Lancashire from 1991, chaired his local Parish Council, and was active in environmental advocacy right up to his death.

[Professor Ashworth is pictured top, above centre in 2013 with past Presidents, Peter Geraghty and Mike Hayes CBE. He is also pictured with fellow Past Presidents Cath Ranson and John Anderson).

Alan Croston

Lancashire Telegraph obituary