RTPI President Phil Williams ended up in prison this week -but only as part of his visit to members in Wales, when he went to see the new "super-prison" under construction in Wrexham. HMP Berwyn (pictured, left), is a £250m Category C closed prison, due to open in 2017 and will house 2,000 adult men.
Phil, RTPI Director for Wales, Roisin Willmott, and RTPI Chair, Peter Lloyd were briefed (pictured below) on the project by Wrexham Council and Lendlease, the site contractors.
Phil Williams said:
"This is an extremely impressive project that has had critical planning input and I congratulate our members for the part they have played in bringing this ambitious initiative to fruition. I was particularly impressed by the very significant community and economic benefits associated with the development."
It has been estimated by the Ministry of Justice, that the new prison, being built on the site of the former Firestone tyre factory, will bring £23m a year to the local economy and 1,000 jobs.
Next stop for Phil was the RTPI Cymru Spring Conference, held in Llandudno, on the theme of The Value of Planning.
In his contribution, Phil spoke about the challenges that Belfast is currently facing, where he is Director of Planning and Place. Delegates were keen to learn how the approach to planning had changed since Belfast City Council had taken on new planning powers.
At the conference, Phil also helped to launch Wales Best Places competition, which is designed to celebrate some of our most attractive and inspiring places.
Phil ended his trip with a working dinner with a number of North Wales chief planning officers and RTPI Cymru Management Board members.
Phil said: "I really appreciated the opportunity of meeting so many of our members during my short visit. They are doing outstanding work, often in challenging circumstances, and making a real impact in the communities they serve."
Wales Best Places: Find out more about how to nominate.
Read more about HMP Berwyn.