Local authority housebuilding needs planners to succeed, says RTPI

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The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has said local authority planners are ‘vital’ in balancing the support and promotion of council-led developments with impartial scrutiny of all developments

The RTPI has published a new practice advice note which outlines how local authority planners can balance promoting and supporting local authority-led development.

RTPI policy officer, Tom Kenny, described the new advice as both a call to action and a best practice guide.

Kenny said: “This practice advice comes after almost three years of RTPI research on the resurgence in local authorities returning to housebuilding and the role of planners within it.

“We’ve heard about the experience of planners and other officers from local authorities of all kinds in every region of England. Now it’s time to move from research to action.

“Planners have a duty to support developments which can deliver social, environmental and economic benefits, through plan making and by using their expertise in areas like site assessment, public engagement, and relationship building.

“We hope this advice can convince planners and their colleagues of the crucial role planners can play in delivering a new generation of housing which responds to local needs and pushes the market towards more sustainable development.”

The guidance features a range of case studies from around England showing work already underway. Although the focus is on the policy context in England, the RTPI says the information will be valuable to planners in other nations.

This comes a month after the RTPI invited bids for research into the value of planning, which will explore how local authorities and national governments can go beyond simple metrics, with an aim of producing monitoring toolkits that can be adapted and adopted by local authorities.

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