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Award winning planning features in President’s South West visit

12 July 2017

Stephen Wilkinson , Hayley Stokes (Devon County Council ), Peter  (Devon County Council ),George Marshall , County Councillor Stuart Hughes , Near Topsham On The Exe

Two award winning planning projects – Cranbrook and Exe Estuary Trail - featured in the President’s visit with members in the South West of England last week.


Cranbrook, a new community in Devon spearheaded by a public sector led partnership, will have 7,500 new homes by 2020. The infrastructure led approach to the new community, taken by the region’s planners, has led to a series of accolades from the RTPI, including shortlisting at its national awards and featuring in two reports on transport infrastructure and the value of planning.

Stephen Wilkinson MRTPI, RTPI President said:

“Cranbrook’s success is due to the council planners’ strategic leadership who have initiated the coordinated development of this community. Through proactive planning, infrastructure to support the new homes was planned up front with new transport, schools, health centre, district heating, shops and a community centre being delivered at the earliest stage possible. This means Cranbrook can develop as a fully functioning community from the outset.”

Exe Estuary

Stephen also visited Exe Estuary Trail (pictured above, right), a 16 mile cycle and walking route on Devon’s south coast, which won the RTPI South West’s top planning award in 2015.

Stephen said:

“This project demonstrates how planners have carefully balanced the need to conserve the sensitive environment of the estuary while promoting walking and cycling.  I was particularly impressed by the collaborative approach taken by the council, working with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Natural England, over 10 years, in order to bring the project to life.”

Later, Stephen visited Sedgemoor District Council where he met Councillors, Claire Pearce, Group Manager, Strategy and Business Services and several apprentices in the planning department. Stephen went on a tour to Hinckley Point and learned about the impact the construction of the power station is having on the district as it has generated significant demand for construction workers accommodation, new retail and changes to the highway network.

Geoff Walker , Julie Moore (Taunton Deane Borough Council ) And Stephen Wilkinson At The Monkton Heathfield Urban Extension


In Taunton, named as one of the nation’s new Garden Towns by the Government earlier this year, an exhibition on what it means for the town is currently running.

Stephen said:

“New garden towns in the right places are part of the solution to the housing crisis. Taunton's planners will be critical in ensuring infrastructure is delivered in a coordinated way. This is critical for the successful delivery of new development to create great places.”

He met the joint planning team, a successful partnership between Taunton Deane Borough Council and West Somerset Council. They laid on a walking tour of Taunton plus a visit to Monkton Heathfield (pictured above, right), one of the new Garden Communities.

Stephen said:

“I was impressed to see how effectively planning across Taunton Deane and West Somerset is being managed by a single team. Their hard work, professionalism and success is reflected in their achievements – gaining Garden Town status for Taunton, steering two development plans through the adoption process and delivering new housing development supported by a master plan at Monkton Heathfield. Their successful, collaborative approach is to be commended.”

Stephen next visits members in the East of England on 13 and 14 July.

Read: President saw talent of planners put to diverse use in Scotland