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MANIFESTO CHALLENGES THE CULTURE OF TARGETS

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The Royal Town Planning Institute has issued a Manifesto for Planning, which sets out ten key reforms - charting a ...
The Royal Town Planning Institute has issued a Manifesto for Planning, which sets out ten key reforms - charting a positive way forward for planning and challenging the culture of arbitrary political targets.

Planning must not depend on 'quick fix' solutions, whose only merit is meeting an arbitrary government target or political agenda.

Kelvin MacDonald, RTPI director, policy & research, commented: 'We have already seen inflexible targets distorting education and health services. We don't want to see similar potential damage being done to the planning system. A top priority for the new professionalism in planning must be how to achieve more beneficial outcomes from the planning system - rather than the current narrow-minded focus on process and targets.'

The new Manifesto makes it clear that planning deals with complex issues, which demand an informed, professional and co-coordinated approach - based on research, knowledge and high standards of practice. For the 21st century, a new inclusive professionalism is vital if social, environmental and economic issues are to be tackled effectively now - and for the long term.

The RTPI has been, and continues to be, committed to this inclusivity by creating a more diverse, inter-disciplinary profession - representative of the communities which planning serves. It has established networks, associations open to all and an expanded, improved Planning Aid service, which will help communities guide the future of their areas.

For such changes to happen, the RTPI has undertaken a period of reform and is now itself a reforming institute. As part of this new approach, the Manifesto for Planning puts forward ten key issues on which the RTPI is now campaigning:

That enterprise, economic growth and desired development are not undermined by deregulation

For the adoption of a Spatial Development Framework covering the whole of the United Kingdom

For a change in focus in thinking about pl anning away from process and towards outcomes

For concepts of sustainable development to imbue all the actions and decisions made through planning

For the practice of development control to be replaced by 'development management'

For an end to simplistic targets based solely on the speed of decision making and for a move towards the promotion of quality in all its aspects

For a review of the extent of current planning control

For more accessible and comprehensive information about the need for development such as decent and affordable housing

For a new approach to community planning, and

For better support for planners and for planning practice.

In summing up, MacDonald said: 'Through this manifesto, the RTPI is showing that the planning profession is already developing the disciplines and thinking that are required to address the major urban and rural matters facing this country.'

NOTES

The RTPI is the professional body in the United Kingdom chartered to advance the science and art of town planning in all its aspects (national, regional and local) for the benefit of the public.

It has a membership of over 18,000 who work in local and central government, planning education, research and private practice.

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