Sector - Public Sector

Report recommends better Northern Powerhouse plans

A report from the RTPI has encouraged more joined up Northern Powerhouse plans to benefit small communities.

The new report, ‘Ambitions for the North’ from the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has said that Northern Powerhouse plans are not helping smaller communities. It does say that several government departments, Transport for the North, NP11, combined authorities and other bodies have together made significant progress in driving forward the Northern Powerhouse.

But the report says their individual plans need to be knitted together into a coherent whole that would direct development and regeneration strategically to break with unsustainable patterns of land use, road-based housing development and city-oriented investment and help to rebalance the North. It calls for an overarching spatial vision for the whole of the North of England, supported by strategies similar to the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework for each functional area.

President of the RTPI Ian Tant said: “At a time when the North looks set to receive unprecedented levels of investment, we must think hard about how to capitalise on this to ensure that change benefits everyone over the long term. Entrenched ways of delivering housing and infrastructure through silo working will only repeat mistakes of the past.”

“This is the moment to reinvest in good planning – from the most local level to strategically across boundaries – to create not only a prosperous North but greener, healthier, more inclusive and sustainable places that people proudly call home.”

The key recommendations in the report are:

  • A strategic review of housing in the North with which provides an alternative to the government’s numbers-driven ‘standard methodology’ and aligns more closely with the North’s growth strategy
  • A Ports, Logistics, Airports and Industrial Strategy for the North
  • An overarching spatial vision for the North of England built around sustainable modes of transport, supported by spatial strategies for each functional area similar to the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework
  • Spatial plans for National Parks and AoNBs with the same status as the above plans and integrated with them
  • A single platform of open data to facilitate better collaborative planning.
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