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News in Brief: Locals set to block wind farms, Chester retail unit approved

Words: Laura Edgar

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 19 May, 2015

RTPI has members in more than 80 countries

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) now has members from more than 80 countries across the world. Peter Geraghty, chair of the RTPI's International Committee, said: "Membership of the institute, particularly chartered membership, is a brand recognised and respected internationally. This is reflected in the breadth and range of RTPI membership throughout the world. Part of the work of the committee is to assist in developing and engendering strong external relationships with sister institutes and promoting good planning practice wherever it is undertaken throughout the world". For more information, please visit the RTPI website.

‘Devolution should move beyond core cities’

The focus on Manchester and other core cities to create a Northern powerhouse has left some concerned that benefits will not be spread equally across the region. Speaking to The Guardian, think tank IPPR North’s director Ed Cox said smaller towns and cities are a “crucial part of the Northern powerhouse and can help drive the region’s growth”. Cox is concerned that if smaller places fall behind the core cities, the whole UK economy could be dented. He added: “We need to get the whole urban hierarchy functioning properly if we are going to see prosperity throughout the North.”

Local residents able to block wind farms

Amber Rudd, the new energy secretary, has announced that local residents will be able to veto all future onshore wind farms under new measures that will be fast-tracked into law. In an interview with The Sunday Times, Rudd also said the Conservative government would loosen rules so that shale gas can be extracted from beneath national parks.

Chester Rows retail unit approved

Aviva Investors, advised by Indigo Planning, has been granted permission for the redevelopment of Longus House, part of the Rows in Chester city centre, to create a new retail unit. Clare Andrews, asset manager at Aviva Investors, said: “At 3,310 square metres and over four storeys, this new unit will be a great size to give retailers already positioned locally and trading well to upgrade to new, larger space in the city centre or for new names to come to Chester and increase the choice available to shoppers.”