Enhanced competitiveness and productivity are key to future prosperity in a post Brexit world. This seminar will examine the contribution of planning to meeting the needs of a rapidly changing economy both directly through the provision of appropriate employment space and indirectly through ensuring access to markets and labour. The relationship of planning with LEPs and local businesses will be explored as will the question of how planning can encourage innovation and sustainable growth in the face of the ‘fourth industrial revolution’.
Factors driving competitive local economies
Cities (and towns) have a key role to play in generating employment and wealth. They are frequently portrayed as hubs for innovation and business growth. However, there is often a marked differential in the economic performance of cities. The Centre for Cities produces rigorous, data-driven research and policy ideas to help cities and Government address the challenges and opportunities they face – from boosting productivity and wages to preparing for Brexit and the changing world of work. It analyses which policies are most effective in supporting and increasing local economic growth. Anthony’s contribution will share some of the key findings, focusing in particular on the direct and indirect role which planning plays in creating conditions for growth.
Anthony Breach, Analyst, Centre for Cities
Exeter Growth Area
Exeter has been one of the most successful cities in the UK in delivering new jobs particularly in technology and knowledge-based sectors. This has been the result of a planned approach to growth involving both employment and housing led development. Andy will identify the key ingredients of this success and look specifically at the role of Enterprise Zone designation and Exeter Science Park in catalysing high value added growth. He will also reflect on the obstacles which have needed to be overcome and the challenges in maintaining a positive momentum going forward. Finally he will consider the opportunities to deliver against the objectives of the Local Industrial Strategy for the Heart of the South West area as well as to achieve the original vision for the growth programme in terms of linking new housing and employment opportunities.
Andy Wood, Project Director, Exeter and East Devon Growth Point
National and Major Infrastructure Projects – capturing the benefits through planning
Infrastructure is recognised as playing a key role in delivering employment and growth and infrastructure doesn’t get much bigger than Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Station. Ensuring that the opportunities created by the project are seized and managed through the planning process has been a key focus for Sedgemoor District and their success in doing this has been recognised by the RTPI. Claire Pearce will share the lessons which can be learnt from her experience of leading the planning team which thought strategically about the social and economic benefits to the wider community and how this can now be integrated into a positive legacy through ongoing economic transformation via the Gravity project.
Claire Pearce, Director of planning and Economic Development for Gravity
Planning and employment land – allocate or protect?
Employment land has traditionally been the key currency for planners seeking to deliver jobs and prosperity. In this session, Simon Prescott, chairs the British Chambers of Commerce Expert Group on Planning which has been looking at the future of employment land and how we deal with this through both the plan led and planning application routes. Drawing on his experience, Simon will discuss current approaches to planning for employment land covering both the challenge of identifying the need for employment land in a rapidly changing economy and identifying the right locations which meet the needs of different types of business. Key questions which he will address are: How far should the planning system go in protecting employment land in the face of pressure to deliver more housing? What role does planning have in helping to deliver employment land in areas of market failure?
Simon Prescott, Partner, Barton Willmore
Local industrial strategies – addressing the spatial planning dimension.
Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) have been given a key role by Government in driving economic growth and productivity. Through their Local Economic Strategies and more recently their work on Local Industrial Strategies LEPs are identifying target sectors which are expected to deliver increased wealth and prosperity for their local areas. Research undertaken for the RTPI SW found that engagement between LEPs and the planning system has been patchy even though there is a strong spatial dimension to economic development and growth. In this presentation the recent work of GFirst, which covers Gloucestershire, on preparing its Local Industrial Strategy will be shared exploring how links are being made with the planning policy framework and practice in the county.
John Baker, Principal, Point Consultancy
Understanding the opportunities and limitations of the planning system in creating prosperity and employment
The NPPG requires Local Planning Authorities to ‘support economic growth and productivity’ with planning policies helping to enable this via a ‘clear economic vision and strategy’ that ensures closer ties with Local Industrial Strategies and other local policies for economic development and regeneration. Developing appropriate policies requires a robust evidence base to understand both existing business needs and likely changes in the market, with reference to local industrial strategies where relevant; and engaging with the business community to understand their changing needs and identify and address barriers to investment, including a lack of housing, infrastructure or viability. In his presentation Chris will draw on his experience to highlight the opportunities and pitfalls for planners in seeking to manage market forces in a world where the overwhelming majority of employment applications receive consent.
Chris Cobbold, Wessex Economics
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