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NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR LOCAL AUTHORITY PLANNERS

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People, Places, Futures - The Wales Spatial Plan offers exciting challenges for planners in Wales, and an opportuni...
People, Places, Futures - The Wales Spatial Plan offers exciting challenges for planners in Wales, and an opportunity to raise the profile of the profession in local authorities and other arenas, finance and local government minister, Sue Essex has said.

Addressing the Wales branch of the Town Planning Institute Ms Essex said planners possessed the skills to take forward the plan and provide spatial leadership in Wales.

She said: 'This plan breaks new ground - nothing similar been attempted in Wales before. Spatial plans from other countries take as their staring point the European Spatial Development Perspective and what is noticeable is the rich diversity of those plans.

'In Wales we have added to this diversity. We have thought carefully about what is important to the Welsh assembly government in terms of sustainable development and started a process which will deliver a plan which will meet Welsh needs.

'It would have been easy to go down the route taken in England, but that would confine the plan's remit to land use planning and limit its potential of demonstrating joined up government across all policy areas,' she said.

'People, Places, Futures is not about drawing detailed lines on maps and we are not aiming for an all Wales structure plan. It is about providing a framework within which the areas of Wales can articulate their own spatial priorities and develop shared solutions within an overall framework for the future of Wales. Collaboration is key to delivery of the plan, both within Wales and with our neighbours.

'There can be no one size fits all solution. We have adopted a consensual approach to spatial planning and we are not seeking to impose solutions on different parts of Wales. Ministerial input provides opportunity for an integrated approach to joined up government

'At a national level, the assembly government has demonstrated the need to engage all groups in planning policy through the auspices of the Planning Forum and Wales S patial Plan Management Board. A similar approach is necessary to take forward the Wales Spatial Plan, especially at a regional level.

'The planning profession needs to take an active part in helping to deliver improved spatial decision making. However, the Spatial Plan cannot become the preserve of the planning profession to the exclusion of others.

'Planners need to work with other professionals, the voluntary sector and business to deliver the potential which the People, Places, Futures provides.'

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