RTPI and IPPR North launch Great North Plan

A blueprint for how to develop a Great North Plan to turn the Northern Powerhouse into a reality in the next 35 years was launched today jointly by the Royal Town Planning Institute and think-tank IPPR North.

The blueprint was launched at KMPG’s Leeds office with support from Business North and UKTI, both of whom endorsed the need for the Great North Plan, especially its importance to businesses and investors.

Leading businesses and local authorities were invited to make a Powerhouse Pledge to say how they can take the Plan forward. Key northern assets – economy, energy, transport, people – are mapped in the blueprint, showcasing the building blocks of an economic strategy for the North.

Phil Crabtree, chairman of RTPI Yorkshire, who represented the RTPI at the launch, said:  “The Great North Plan blueprint document shows how planning can play a vital role in fostering the vision, collaboration and flexibility necessary to deliver the economic, social, technological and environmental benefits across the whole of the North of England.

“Planning professionals have a key role in supporting this process. This is what we do. The RTPI calls on local authorities, government and businesses to make full use of the region’s planners and plan-making process. Local authorities in particular need to use their combined local planning, economic development and regeneration powers to guide private sector investment and to lead the process of change.”

Ed Cox, director of IPPR North, said: “As our blueprint shows, we have some real competitive advantages in the North: in areas like advanced manufacturing, the digital economy and energy supply, not to mention quality of life. But we need a business-led plan from the North, for the North, to tie these together.

“It is the kind of strategy that they have in London and in the most successful regions in Europe and the USA and now is the time for business leaders to have a bigger role in making the Northern Powerhouse a reality.”

The RTPI worked with IPPR North in 2015 to collect views to the question, “Do we need a Great North Plan?” Views from a broad spectrum of people were sought through a call for evidence, 11 roundtable discussions in six Northern cities and a Northern Summit in January this year. Of those canvassed, 93% said “yes” to the question. Work then proceeded to synthesise the feedback into a coherent document.

The RTPI said the blueprint represents the best of the ideas of more than 350 people who have had fed into the thinking so far. It is not the Great North Plan itself but it sets out the principles to guide how the Plan should be developed; identifies the necessary documents that might together comprise the Plan; suggests the various layers of planning that need to be done through collaborative actions; and proposes the next steps in moving from blueprint to Plan.

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It will be interesting to see how the Powerhouse expands outside West Yorkshire and Manchester. I am not sure that places on the periphery of this plan will notice a difference.Transport is without doubt the key to this,but any realistic links at speed between Newcastle and Liverpool on trains are stil Pie in the Sky.Westminster cannot use a London model for this,as London is the centre of the South’s economy. The North does not really have a Mother city.

By Elephant

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