Do we have enough planners to deliver sustainable development?
The RTPI North West Region is commissioning a major research study into the issue of Planning Resources.
This is considered to be particularly valid because, whatever the political persuasion of the next Government, the resultant administration will be committed to public sector restraint and the continuing challenges of housing delivery and economic growth.
The Regional Activities Committee (RAC) and its Management Board (RMB) have been discussing the apparent growing imbalance between the planning resources available to the public sector and the development industry in progressing planning applications and ensuring the timely delivery of planning policy documents.
There is concern that in a growing number of authorities public resources are now so limited that otherwise worthwhile development is being hindered.
It is widely recognised that Planners play an important role in stimulating the development industry and the wider economy. There is, however, an increasing awareness that many RTPI Members are under significant pressure in their workplace.
The research study will seek to identify whether this is indeed the case and if so what potential remedies might exist.
The RTPI considers the North West contains a good representative sample for the study which may be capable of roll-out across the country, depending on the outcome.
The main research tool will be a detailed and confidential survey of every local authority's planning function to establish current pressures, trends in staffing and performance levels. Representative authorities, developers and consultants will also be interviewed to give a greater depth of understanding. Depending on the survey outcome, work will then progress on alternative ways to "re-balance" the planning system across the region.
"The RTPI NW region is concerned by anecdotal evidence that suggests planning resources are now seriously out of kilter in our region. As planners we, of course, recognise the vital need to establish a strong evidence base before campaigning for change. We hope, in particular, that every LPA will co-operate with the research survey and that this will be matched by contributions from the other players in the North West's development industry" said Joanne Harding, RTPI NW Region Chair.
The Invitation to Tender will be issued on Friday 6 March 2015 to a wide range of potential research partners including, specialist consultancies, accredited planning schools and University Schools of Government. The project is expected to start at the end of May with a target of September 2015 for publication of the final report and the sharing of findings with participants, RTPI members and the wider public.
For further information please contact:
Dr Michael Harris
Deputy Head of Policy and Research
Royal Town Planning Institute
41 Botolph Lane, London, EC3R 8DL
Tel: 020 7929 9493
Mob: 07772 667709
Fax: 020 7929 8199