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RTPI calls on Osborne to invest in planning

Words: Laura Edgar

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has written to Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne to say that investing in planning and local authorities is an “urgent priority” if the government is to deliver its “ambitious programme”.

The letter (pdf) highlights that local authority planning and development services have, the RTPI says, received the largest cuts of any local government service department since 2010, citing a Local Government Association estimation that local government funding will have been reduced by 40 per cent by 2015/16 with further reductions expected.

RTPI president Janet Askew explained that planners have a “major role in contributing to addressing some of the pressing national challenges facing us”, including delivering housing and creating “great places to live and work”.

Askew said: “We have written to the chancellor to impress upon him that in order for us to meet our national objectives increasing capacity in local authority planning teams is an urgent priority and cannot be avoided if the government expects to deliver on its ambitious programme.”

As a short-term measure, the RTPI is also calling for a national rise in planning fees in line with inflation.

Askew continued: “In the letter to the chancellor, we make the case that the planning and development function of a local authority is essential to facilitate economic growth and deliver housing - two of the government’s central priorities."

She said that authorities need to be well resourced “in order to provide the best-quality advice to elected members and deliver timely and sound planning decisions in the interests of immediate and wider communities”.