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President’s visit to South East England: Innovative planning key to region’s future

03 July 2018

John Acres RTPI South East PV June 2018

Innovative planning is key to delivering a successful future for the South East of England, says the RTPI President’s following his visit to members in the region.

At a meeting with Bidwells and Milton Keynes Council in Milton Keynes, the President discussed the new Oxford -Milton Keynes - Cambridge Arc, which he says is ‘an innovation itself’ in strategic planning. He saw how planners in both the public and the private sector are building on the ‘Partnering for Prosperity’ Report produced by the National Infrastructure Commission. It will deliver 1 million new homes by 2050 and new East - West rail and road links between Oxford and Cambridge through Milton Keynes to strengthen the internal and strategic transport links. Brett Leahy, from Milton Keynes Council, also demonstrated exciting examples of how artificial intelligence can transform the planning process.

Milton Keynes is Britain’s third fastest growing place and has become a key focus for innovation in science and technology. Planners are playing a key role in establishing a new university in the town and trials of autonomous vehicles.

In the afternoon, the President and the RTPI South East Chair and Vice Chair visited RAF Bicester, where Bicester Heritage, with support from planners, have restored and rejuvenated the site. It is now home to 35 companies within a unique cluster of well-restored, wartime buildings. It is the UK’s best-preserved WW2 Bomber Station.

John Acres MRTPI, RTPI President said

"The blend of innovation both old and new within the Oxford Cambridge arc display really positive and creative aspects of planning which are stimulating growth of homes and jobs, delivering new infrastructure and conserving the rich local heritage." 

It was excellent to meet so many progressive and innovative planners leading on big, exciting plans that will transform the South East.

Cian Cronin MRTPI, Chair of RTPI South East commented:

“It was excellent to meet so many progressive and innovative planners leading on big, exciting plans that will transform the South East.”

Mr Acres also saw how planners at Cherwell District Council are supporting the acceleration of self-build, innovative housing in Bicester.

He also visited Diamond Light Source - the UK’s national synchrotron. It works like a giant microscope, harnessing the power of electrons to produce bright light that scientists can use to study anything from fossils to jet engines to viruses and vaccines.

In the evening, Mr Acres welcomed over 130 guests to the inaugural RTPI South East Annual Dinner. View photos from the evening here.

The President next visits members in the North West of England on 12 and 13 July.