• Politicians in Planning will enable better sharing of best practice and access to information
• Network to be launched at free online event next week
• Launch event will feature Jackie Weaver and Housing Minister Christopher Pincher
A new network will be launched next week by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) to bring together politicians involved in planning and planning decisions.
The RTPI’s Politicians in Planning network will enable local authority and parliamentary politicians across all UK and Ireland planning systems to share best practice, access information and receive a regular newsletter on planning matters free of charge.
RTPI Chief Executive Victoria Hills said: “Local politicians play a pivotal role in ensuring the communities they represent have the access to the right homes and infrastructure for their needs.
“Through this new network, we’ll seek to bridge the gap between planning professionals and politicians to support shared ambitions for vibrant, healthy and sustainable places for communities to live and work in, particularly as we start to recover from the global pandemic.”
The keynote speech at the event will be given by viral Zoom star Jackie Weaver from the Cheshire Association of Local Councils, with other speakers including Housing Minister Christopher Pincher and councillors Anna Richardson, Linda Haysey and Angeliki Stogia.
Jackie Weaver said: “Planning is and always has been central to the cohesion and development of every community. Planning is much more than plans and building materials. Good planning enhances the quality of life for people living in those communities and bad planning helps create environments and situations that we all then try to dig our way out of. So planning for our communities has to be a partnership between the planners, developers and the elected members of those communities. This conversation is part of that partnership.”
Other leading figures from the planning community have also given the launch their support.
Former England Chief Planner Steve Quartermain said: “Planning is about people and places but it is also about politics. The best planning authorities strike a balance between all three and work as a team to deliver outcomes that make peoples’ lives better. That’s why the RTPI’s Politicians in Planning network will be so important in providing support and training, tailored to the needs of elected members.”
Brendan Walsh, former Executive Director of Regeneration, Economic Development and Environment at London Borough of Hounslow, said: “I’m really excited to hear about this new network. Politicians often face challenging decisions, having to balance the needs and wants of their local community against the merits or otherwise of new development. Having others to talk to will undoubtedly help improve the quality and timeliness of their decisions.”
Cratus Chief Executive Nick Kilby said: “Cratus is thrilled to be working in partnership with RTPI to help launch Politicians in Planning. It is an initiative that will deliver real value for local government, both supporting and upskilling politicians.
“As a specialist local government communications agency with a national reach, we know first-hand the power that planning has to change the lives of those in the local community. Working directly with developers, residents, and councils, we believe that it is vitally importance for planning committees to have the necessary knowledge and expertise to carry out their role.
“Both RTPI and Cratus believe passionately in empowering and supporting local government and I am incredibly proud of our partnership.”