This website uses cookies so that we can provide you with the best possible experience. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with this. You can find out more about how we use cookies here. If you would like to know more about cookies, or how you can delete them, click here.

RTPI Nathaniel Lichfield Lecture

Participation 50 years after Skeffington

This year's Nathaniel Lichfield Lecture took place on the evening of Monday 18 November at the London School of Economics.

49089361823_7c 16c 24d 75_c

This year's lecture was given by Professor Gavin Parker - Director of Planning Programmes, Henley Business School, University of Reading.

Gavin is Professor of Planning Studies at the University of Reading. A former RTPI director and chair of the Community Council for Berkshire, he is now a board member and planning committee member of the New Forest National Park Authority, Fellow of the RTPI and of the Academy of Social Sciences and a West Ham Fan. At one point he was employed as a research assistant at LSE too.

Gavin has written four books and numerous academic papers and reports. Over the past 12 years a substantial amount of his work has focussed on participation, and since 2011, Neighbourhood Planning. Gavin was born in Salisbury, spent formative years in London, and now lives and works in Reading.


The 18 November was exactly 50 years since the Skeffington Report was released. Prof Parker joined us to discuss what we learnt from the Skeffington Report, what the landscape looks like now and what we need to do to ensure we are engaging effectively in the future. In particular he discussed these key points in more depth;

  • The need to accept that efforts to date to build trust and engage widely and effectively with communities have largely failed
  • Trust in planning, in developers and in both local and national government continues to be low
  • The need to explore in a systematic way how to engage effectively, when, with whom and the basis for community input
  • Frontline planners in Local Authorities cannot perform as participatory agents alone
  • He will call for both a review and an independent national body to inform, organise and support participatory activity.

Details of the next lecture will be announced in Summer 2020. Please email if you wish to be added to the mailing list.

A generous endowment for the lecture was received from Nathaniel Lichfield's widow Dalia Lichfield in 2011 ensuring we are able to continue to deliver this event. Many thanks to the Lichfield family.

Career support

The RTPI offers advice and guidance on a wide range of issues, including CVs, interviews and consultancy

Develop your career
Knowledge and best practice

Find the RTPI's latest policy and practice information, publications and core issues

Learn more