Planning Summer School: Bowing Out at 80
After celebrating 80 successful years of advancing education in town and country planning, the annual Planning Summer School is to bow out.
Over the years the School has sought to reflect the changing needs of planning practitioners and elected members, addressing competing demands for flexibility and limiting time spent away from the office, whilst maintaining core values of a collegiate residential School together with a varied and dynamic programme. In addition, the School has prided itself in supporting international visiting planners, providing an annual travelling scholarship, assisted places, and welcoming the RTPI young planner of the year.
Delegates, friends and speakers have consistently rated the quality of the Summer School experience, the breadth of the programme, the dedication of the volunteers who put the School together, and the opportunity to talk about current issues within a relaxed and convivial atmosphere.
However, the annual residential Planning Summer School is no longer viable in its current format according to the charity's trustees, who have taken the decision to end the annual residential event. Increasing pressure on training budgets, particularly within local planning authorities, and changing lifestyle and work patterns have meant a steady decline in attendance over previous years.
Trustees are examining the options available to them to secure a long term legacy which will enable the ongoing delivery of the key charitable aim of the School, to advance education in town and country planning.
Summer School President Roger Pidgeon said: "The Trustees of the Planning Summer School have carefully examined a range of options to continue to hold an annual school but have, with the greatest reluctance, concluded that in today's market this type of event is no longer deliverable."
RTPI President Cath Ranson and Chair of Summer School's Special Fund Panel said: "I am extremely proud to have been associated with the Planning Summer School, particularly our work with international delegates and the travelling scholarship. I am confident that, going forward, our formal legacy will continue to be celebrated."
Immediate Summer School past president Leonora Rozee said: "I fully support the difficult decision of the trustees to formally end 80 years of the annual Planning Summer School event. It is a sad reflection of current cuts to the public purse that many local authorities are unable to support the CPD and training requirements of their professional staff and elected members. This is particularly regrettable at a time where economic recovery and growth needs to be supported through effective planning practice and decision making."