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Building in the right places critical, packed party conference event told

06 October 2016

There is strong consensus that planning plays a critical role in creating places where homes are well connected to jobs, transport and infrastructure. Speakers at the RTPI and Planning Portal’s Conservative Party Conference fringe event were in agreement about planning’s ability to deliver a coordinated approach to growth and place creation.

CPC16 Birmingham Speakers Panel

Referencing the RTPI’s Location of Development report Craig Alsbury Senior Director at GVA, said we needed to ensure we are building new homes in the right places, close to jobs and supported by infrastructure such as schools, hospitals and transport. Both Bob Neill MP and Birmingham City Council’s Waheed Nazir agreed that planning can be used to drive growth and prosperity. Nazir went on to say event "we don't want to end up with loads of housing but nowhere for people to work". RTPI President Phil Williams said planning should drive economic growth alongside private sector.

Phil Williams, RTPI President said:

“It’s clear housing and planning are high up the political agenda at this year’s Conservative Party Conference. The major announcements by the government on Monday followed by our standing room only fringe event demonstrate strong political will to deliver the jobs, housing and places this country needs.”

The panel cautioned, however, that there are challenges, with local authority resourcing at the top of the list. When Bob Neill asked the 120 strong audience how many lived in a place with an up to date Local Plan, less than half raised their hands with many citing resources as a barrier.

A country that works for everyone – planning’s role brought together:


  • Bob Neill, Chair, Justice Committee, MP for Bromley and Chislehurst


  • Waheed Nazir, Director, Birmingham City Council
  • Craig Alsbury, Senior Director, Bilfinger GVA
  • Sarah Chilcott, Managing Director, Planning Portal
  • Phil Williams, President, RTPI

CPC16 Birmingham Speakers And Audience 2

The fringe event was attended by built environment professionals, conference delegates, local councillors and RTPI members. It was kindly sponsored by Planning Portal.

The RTPI runs fringe events at the Labour and Conservative Party Conferences. They offer the Institute an opportunity to maintain its high profile with politicians and stakeholders and discuss policy with politicians away from Westminster.


Politicians, secure your place: Politicians in Planning Annual Conference (19 November)

Read: Conservatives' housebuilding announcements: RTPI response

Read: RTPI report stresses value of planners in times of uncertainty

Read: Why we need politicians to share our vision for planning 

Read: Location of Development