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Conservative Party Conference: RTPI in conversation with Education Secretary

01 October 2018

From apprenticeships to housing, the RTPI’s President and Chief Executive are leading a packed programme of high profile events at this year’s Conservative Party Conference championing what matters most to planning now and listening to what politicians and others have to say.

First-ever event inside security zone

At an event co-hosted with the Royal Institute of British Architects, Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and the Chartered Institute of Building, the RTPI asked Damian Hinds, Secretary of State, questions concerning the role of built environment professions in setting apprenticeship standards and how schools can get more young people interested in pursuing a planning career. (You can watch a video of the event here.)

Staged as a conversation with the Secretary of State, the event was the first time the Institute has had a presence inside the main secure zone at party conferences and was attended by over 100 people including party officials and from think tanks.

Mr Hinds emphasised the need for the education system to provide a wide range of opportunities and that extra efforts are needed to promote built environment careers to a diverse population.

On the issue of apprenticeships in which the RTPI has been actively involved, Mr Hinds said that the Institute for Apprenticeships needed to be monitored to make sure it operates well.

Housing Minister: “Planning system is delivering”

Victoria Hills And Planning Futures EventRTPT Chief Executive Victoria Hills spoke alongside Kit Malthouse MP, Minister of State for Housing, at a packed fringe event this morning, “Planning Delivery – How local authorities can use the planning system to drive housing delivery”.

The Minister said that the planning system is delivering and that the common perception it is not working is “not correct”. He emphasised that the priority for local authorities is to get local plans completed and to make neighbourhood plans work better. Getting community buy-in through good design is crucial as well.

For that to happen he agreed with Ms Hills who said that “planning leadership is key”, and that “for planners and planning to be assertive and creative with the system, local authorities need to invest in capacity, skills and leadership”.   

Delivering what members want

Victoria Hills said:  

“Maintaining a high profile with politicians and stakeholders is crucial to our work. The President and I are delighted with the programme which helps us to deliver what members want: more impact with our elected politicians and movers and shakers in the property and development sectors. We’ve been able to deliver this programme on a very lean team. I’d like to thank everyone involved in making this a success.”

Other events

Today sees the RTPI host an event with the British Property Federation to consider how devolution can boost housing delivery, with panel speakers including John Acres, RTPI President; Gareth Bradford from West Midlands Combined Authority; Vicky Pryce from Centre for Economics and Business Research; Kay Hughes from RIBA; and Councillor Ian Courts from Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council.

Ms Hills is also speaking at other fringe events today and tomorrow: “Sustainable development in the Green Belt” to which MHCLG Secretary of State James Brokenshire has been invited, and “How can investment in national infrastructure help to re-balance the UK economy?” organised by Prospect magazine, respectively.

Tomorrow President John Acres will speak at an RTPI event on how infrastructure can help deliver housing, sponsored by Countryside Properties.

Follow these events on Twitter @RTPIPlanners and look out for updates here.