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Raynsford Review highlights some RTPI core issues

21 November 2018

Housing Estate RaynsfordThe RTPI welcomes the Raynsford Review report, published by the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA). It covers a number of issues at the core of the RTPI’s mandate.

Purpose, value and perception of planning:

The report offers vision for a strong planning system with statutory power to promote sustainable development and public welfare. It argues that critics of planning often blame the current planning system for outcomes that in reality stem from a lack of investment or political vision. The RTPI welcomes the focus on empowering local authorities to take a pro-active approach and act as ‘master developers’ to facilitate and guide development.

The report correctly identifies the importance of public awareness and perceptions of planning in the legitimacy and effectiveness of the system. The RTPI welcomes support for our Future Planners initiative, and for Planning Aid.

The RTPI looks forward to learning more on the review’s findings on professional ethics. The RTPI has a Royal Charter and long standing and respected Code of Conduct setting the ethical and professional standards for planners who have achieved or are working towards chartered status. The RTPI is a member of the International Ethics Standards Coalition and would propose other built environment organisations sign up to the 10 principles that align to our Code of Conduct and guidance. The RTPI’s code of conduct is predicated on working in the public interest rather than “doing no harm” which is accepted.  

Whilst the RTPI is uncertain about the need for a new ‘covenant for the community’, we agree more needs to be done to engage with the silent majority who could be supportive of appropriate well designed development. The review highlights the potential for digital tools to support this. The RTPI is leading the way on digital planning having  announced last week a partnership with the Future Cities Catapult.

Empowering planning at every level

Strategic planning, a key focus of the review, is a long standing priority for the RTPI - our ongoing research on a Great North Plan is considering strategic issues for the North of England, while our Smart City Regions research focuses on the city-region scale. We also welcome the call to map “the planning implications of all the government’s national strategies that are relevant to development” - the core recommendation of our Map for England project.

John Acres, RTPI president said: “The RTPI welcomes the publication of the final report of the Raynsford Review. The review makes a strong case for the public value of planning, showing it can deliver social, environmental and economic value.

"We welcome calls for strengthening the planning system and for more resources to be assigned to local authority planning departments.  In particular, we are glad to see support for our campaign to make sure there are more Chief Planning Officers at the top table.

"We also welcome the focus on the future of the planning profession, and ensuring we have diverse and well-resourced planners, who can be creative and visionary - to take a leading role in development. The RTPI accredits 30 planning schools in the UK and internationally. UK planning education standards are considered to be world leading. We look forward to launching the Chartered Town Planner Apprenticeship next year, a new gateway into planning.

"The report covers a wide range of issues and we look forward to engaging with the TCPA and others in coming months to explore how to take the report forward."