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News in brief: RTPI updates; Work stops on West Lancashire plan

Words: Laura Edgar
RTPI Awards for Research Excellence / RTPI

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 17 September 2019

60th anniversary of Royal Charter celebrated

The RTPI has celebrated 60 years since it received its Royal Charter.

It was a culmination of 12 years of petitioning, and several rejections before the Privy Council granted the Town Planning Institute its charter. The then president, U. Aylmer Coates, announced it in the July-August 1959 edition of the Journal of the Town Planning Institute.

RTPI president Ian Tant said: “Incorporation by charter is a prestigious way of acquiring legal personality and undoubtedly reflects the high status of the organisation. The charter also allowed its members to call themselves chartered town planners. This is so important – it’s undoubtedly been a badge of merit for me throughout the 37 years since I gained my MRTPI.”

The October edition of The Planner will include interviews with chartered members who came into the profession during each of the six decades since the charter was awarded.


Nominations open for 2020 RTPI excellence awards

Submissions for the 2020 RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence have opened.

A new category has been introduced for next year. It will recognise the achievements of legal teams, which must include at least one legal associate member of the RTPI.

Ian Tant, president of the RTPI, said: “The tremendous range of submissions reflect the outstanding contribution to society made by planners. Finalists and winners are celebrated at the awards ceremony and provide the case studies for our work to raise the profile of planning.

“I am particularly delighted that next year we will also be recognising the legal teams that play such a vital role in guiding clients through the complex and ever-changing UK planning system.”

Submissions for the 2020 excellence awards can be made until Monday 16 December 2019, and the finalists will be announced in February 2020.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony on 30 April 2020 at Milton Court Concert Hall in central London.


RTPI Lichfield lecture to consider Skeffington Report

Professor Gavin Parker, director of planning programmes, Henley Business School at the University of Reading, will give the 2019 RTPI Nathaniel Lichfield Lecture.

The lecture will be held on Monday 18 November, 50 years after the Skeffington Report was published. It will discuss what was learnt, what the landscape looks like now and what needs to be done to ensure that engagement is effective.

The lecture will start at 7pm and will be followed by a Q&A with the audience.

Tickets can be purchased through the RTPI website.


Work stops on West Lancashire plan

West Lancashire Borough Council’s cabinet has decided to cease work on the current local plan review with immediate effect.

The decision has been made to give the authority more time to consider the best proposals for the future of West Lancashire.  

Instead, a new local plan cabinet working group will be created to help the council prepare a new 15-year local plan for the borough.

During preparation of a new plan, the council said it would refresh the evidence base needed to establish the borough-wide requirement for housing and employment land, and the most appropriate locations for the allocation of land to meet those needs.


Plans submitted for Bicester business community

Plans for a sustainable business community in Bicester have been submitted to Cherwell District Council.

Albion Land’s plans include workspace that could create up to 1,750 jobs in the technology, advanced manufacturing and engineering sectors.

The site is allocated for knowledge and technology uses in Cherwell District Council’s adopted plan.

The proposals are for B1 uses in a range of stand-alone buildings totalling 290,000 square feet. A new health and racquets club also features in the plans.

If approved, Wendlebury Poultry Farm would be closed and removed.

The development, Catalyst Bicester, is off the A41 adjacent to Bicester Avenue retail centre on its south side and under two miles from J9 M40.


Durham could be regenerated

Proposals that would see a retail, residential or hotel complex delivered in Durham have been submitted to the county council.

The grade II-listed Beales department store, on Newgate Street in Bishop Auckland, could be converted. Part of the rear of the building could be demolished to improve the functionality of the site, and the existing façade would be restored.

Durham is going through a five-year programme to reinvigorate the market place and high street along with other parts of the conservation area.

Hedley Planning Services submitted the plans to Durham County Council.

David Evans, portfolio holder for planning, said: “We have listened to feedback through the public consultation we held on the local plan review proposals. The proposals have now been withdrawn to give us more time to consider the best way forward as we look to draw up a plan to give West Lancashire the best possible future.”


Grant for Coventry City of Culture approved

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) board has agreed a £4 million grant for Coventry's City of Culture 2021.

The Coventry City of Culture Trust will use the money to help to cover the costs of putting on a year-long celebration of the arts.

It comes on top of a £31 million transport investment package, which was agreed by the combined authority in June to help the city with works around Pool Meadow bus station, road and cycle improvements and new lighting in time for 2021.

The event is expected to attract 2.5 million visitors, including 50,000 from abroad, and generate £106 million for the region’s tourism sector as well as boost cultural and digital industries, according to the WMCA.


Affordable homes in Brighton approved

Design practice Conran and Partners has received planning approval for 104 new affordable homes to be built in Brighton and Hove.

The Brighton & Hove City Council-owned site in Portslade is located along Wellington Road (A259) on the site of the former Belgrave Day Centre.

The Living Wage Joint Venture seeks to provide 50 per cent shared ownership (intermediate housing) and 50 per cent affordable rent, with the cost set at 37.5 per cent of the gross income of a household earning the new living wage.

The seven-storey scheme will offer a variety of one, two and three-bedroom homes.

It is the leading project in a series of new housing developments to tackle the city’s housing crisis through the ‘Homes for Brighton & Hove’ initiative – a partnership between Brighton & Hove City Council and the Hyde Group. It was set up to create 1,000 new homes for rent and sale for lower income, local working households in the city.

Image credit | RTPI