150 of the North’s leaders of business, commerce, planning, politics and academia gathered in Leeds on Thursday to attend the RTPI - IPPR North Northern Summit event to make the case for a great North plan in order to fully embrace the opportunities of the Northern Powerhouse agenda.
Lord Heseltine (pictured left), the former Deputy Prime Minister, gave a powerful speech outlining the 'once in a life time' chance that existed to shape the North in a new way through the government's Northern Powerhouse initiative and urged the summit to be bold in its aspiration. Ed Cox, Director, IPPR North and RTPI Chief Executive, Trudi Elliott, also made presentations on taking the Great North Plan forward (available below).
Janet Askew, President of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) said:
"The North deserves a plan which promotes its vast, untapped potential. There was widespread agreement at the Northern Summit today that we have a unique opportunity, as well as a strong desire, to bring this about. The region is ripe for investment and a plan will help address the growing disparity between London and the North."
Ed Cox, Director, IPPR North said:
“The real energy behind the Great North Plan has been generated from the bottom up. The Northern Powerhouse agenda has been galvanised by a series of ‘devolution deals’ between government and the big cities but many in the North feel they have been brokered with very little consultation or engagement with business or the wider general public. One of the reasons that the Great North Plan process has garnered so much enthusiasm is that it has adopted a very inclusive approach – giving business leaders, universities and people from outside the big cities the opportunity to debate issues they feel passionately about.”
Delegates were asked to discuss and debate what a plan for the North of England would look like, its scope and how it should be delivered? A series of round table discussions during the day led to the summit concluding that the country needs a Great North Plan and that it should be about more than improved transport. A plan also needs to be based on collaboration between cities, towns and rural places, with strong engagement with the public and include a range of voices from all sectors.
The North deserves a plan which promotes its vast, untapped potential. There was widespread agreement at the Northern Summit today that we have a unique opportunity, as well as a strong desire, to bring this about. The region is ripe for investment and a plan will help address the growing disparity between London and the North
The event began by asking the question: do we need a Great North Plan? with Ed Cox, setting out some of the initial findings from the organisation’s Great North Plan project as well as looking to strengthen and debate proposals for a Great North Plan blueprint which will be published in Spring 2016.