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Scottish Young Planners' Conference

SYPN Conference 2019

Delivering great places now and for the future

Scottish Young Planners' Conference 2019


Our 2019 Young Planners' Network conference took place in the beautiful city of Dundee. This year we looked at how young planners can 'deliver great places now and for the future'. The conference had a jam packed line up with some of the most esteemed built environment professionals in the country. The afternoon was then filled with two workshops tailored to helping improve and refine Negotiation and Report Writing Skills, followed by the option for a Walking Tour of Dundee Waterfront regeneration area.

This event took place on 20 March 2019


Stromness Regeneration - Gavin Barr, Director of Development and Infrastructure, Orkney Islands Council.

Designing Healthy Places – Kirsty Macari, University of Urbanism, Architecture and Design Scotland.

Health Impact Assessments - Fiona McBrierty, Development Planning and Environment Manager, West Lothian Council.

Dundee Waterfront Regeneration - Robin Presswood, Executive Director of City Development, Dundee City Council.

Need To Negotiate - Steve Ellis, GBS Solutions.

Art Of The Possible - Heather Claridge, Principal of Development and Regeneration Services, Glasgow City Council.


To see the full programme, click here

This conference was chaired by Julia Frost, Convenor, RTPI Scotland and speakers included:

  • Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government and Housing
  • Kirsty Macari, ADS
  • Gavin Barr, Orkney Islands Council
  • Norman Springford, Founder Apex Hotels
  • Robin Presswood, Dundee City Council
  • Alasdair Adey, Chair Scottish Young Planners' Network
  • Heather Claridge (Young Planner of the Year), Glasgow City Council
  • Steve Ellis, GBS Solutions
  • Neil Collar, Brodies
  • Stephen Page, Dundee City Council
  • Plus young planners as part of our "Soapbox Session"     


Scottish Young Planners' Steering Group Member, Ailsa Anderson talks about the passion for planning shining through at the Scottish Young Planners' Conference -

"The agenda for this year's Scottish Young Planners' Conference was so jam-packed that it had to kick off by providing the most important meal of the day – breakfast! To go with the coffee and pain au chocolat was an update on the Planning Bill by Scottish Chief Planner, John McNairney. It is widely recognised that the Bill has become over complicated and is indeed now contradictory in places. There is clearly now a need to re-evaluate the Bill to ensure it can deliver on its original intension to streamline the planning system and improve efficiency. The Chief Planner himself acknowledging that there is a lot of work still to do before the completion of Stage 3.

Following registration, Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning, asked the question of delegates on how do we plan for inclusive growth and what transformational projects do we need in the future? The Minister came to the conference with lots to share including the Scottish Government's support towards the RTPI Future Planners' Bursary scheme. This is great news and demonstrates commitment to supporting the next generation of Young Planners. The Minister also launched this year's Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning which is now in its 20th year. I was encouraged by the Minister highlighting that Young Planners should take every opportunity in shaping the future of the planning system and that we are at the heart of building better places. Young Planners need to ensure that the planning system is fit for the future and these latest reforms will greatly influence how we develop as professionals.

Fiona McBrierty gave an insight as to how Health Impact Assessments have been used in West Lothian. The links between health and the built environment are all too clear and this is an area of great potential as we, as Young Planners influence how places are shaped in the future. Kirsty Macari then inspired us to think more about creating spaces and places that make people smile.

Young Planners then took to the stage themselves with Chair of the SYPN Steering Group, Alasdair Adey encouraging Young Planners to listen and learn, to speak up and to be brave. Young Planner of the Year, Heather Claridge then spoke of the projects she has been involved in and how she, as a Young Planner has made a difference to spaces and places and the people who live, work and play in them. The session was rounded off by three Young Planners who spoke candidly about what they believe should be embraced in the future placemaking. Nothing is more inspiring than seeing your peers speak so passionately about the profession and the opportunities that can arise. I think it's safe to say that these young people all have very bright futures ahead of themselves and serve as fantastic ambassadors of our profession.

A bit of fresh air was just what was needed following lunch and Stephen Page of Dundee City Council led a walking around the Dundee Waterfront. He outlined the history and continuing effort to regenerate the waterfront area highlighting key development phases and projects. This is a truly aspirational project that has already made such a difference to the attractiveness and perception of Dundee.

Other workshops on offer provided practical skills on what all Young Planners should have in their armoury. Negotiation skills was led by Steve Ellis and Report Writing by Neil Collar of Brodies.

The Scottish Young Planners' Conference never disappoints. Year on year delegates leave feeling rejuvenated, inspired and having a real sense of passion for planning. The opportunities on offer for Young Planners to influence the future of our environment are second to none and we should grasp these with both hands."


Headline sponsor

Gladman Scotland


Gladman Strategic Land has a team of over 120 in-house professionals, 58 being planners. The UK wide Company partners landowners to secure consents for deliverable housing developments. Established for over 30 years, the Gladman Group is a diverse property development company with strong financial resources.

Supporting sponsors

Montagu Evans

Taylor WimpeyIceni

The Scottish Government         Heads of Planning Scotland



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