Councillors from across the country gathered in Birmingham on Saturday to discuss topical planning issues at the RTPI Politicians in Planning Association (PIPA) Annual Conference.
Hearing from a range of experts, councillors were told that delivering housing and infrastructure must be part of a holistic place-making process and that the planning function should be at the heart of everything a council does for its communities.
Sandra Ford from ATLAS (Homes & Communities Agency), opened the morning plenary by saying: “People care about the quality of their environment; place making is important, it's not just about housing numbers.” Birmingham City Council's Richard Cowell (pictured, right) explained how they had used the new HS2 station, Curzon, as a way to use infrastructure investment to drive place making. He said they had tried to 'create a destination, create a place' by weaving it into the existing urban fabric.
Paul Barnard (pictured above, centre) from Plymouth Council detailed how his council actively led the transformation of Plymouth through a plan-led approach, which won a RTPI 2015 planning award. He illustrated to councillors how councils can successfully plan to deliver places people want to live and work in. Councillor Keith House, Deputy Chair of LGA Environment, Economy, Housing and Transport Board encouraged councillors to get their councils building to 'shape their own destiny' rather than allow government to build it for them.
In the afternoon councillors participated in 12 workshops, allowing them to engage directly with the expert speakers and ask specific questions about the issues in their community. Paul Gibbs (pictured right with councillors) explained to councillors how they could use the Rufopoly resource kit to deal with infrastructure challenges in their local communities.
The conference was free to PIPA members, thanks to generous sponsorship from the Planning Advisory Service.
Find out more about PIPA
Listen to Sandra Ford (ATLAS, Homes & Communities Agency) talk about delivering large scale housing
Listen to Dr Michael Harris (RTPI) talk about resourcing in local authority planning
Listen to Paul Barnard (Plymouth Council) talk about The Plymouth Plan
See what happened on Twitter
Read coverage in The Planner