More national recognition for Plymouth’s planners

Our Strategic Planning and Infrastructure department has come away with more accolades from the national Planning Awards.

The Plymouth Plan won the strategic planning category, with the judges impressed by the plan’s ‘innovative and effective approach to the challenge of development planning through a combination of deep community engagement and joined-up thinking’.

The team was also joint winner with Southend-on-Sea for the Local Authority Team of the Year.

Head of Development Management Peter Ford and Investment Planning Manager John Dixon went to the ceremony in London with chair of the Planning Committee Councillor Bill Stevens.

Peter said: “It’s a hugely gratifying to know that the work we are doing is getting the city national recognition.

“A lot of people across the Council have been involved in getting the Plymouth Plan to where it is today and they also should be proud of this accolade.”

“One of the main reasons we stood out from other authorities is that we are a Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Department. Planners work closely with housing professionals, transport planners and viability experts to drive the delivery of projects.”

Co-Chair of the Planning Committee Bill Stevens added: “Planning is never out of the news. People often have strong opinions on developments that take place in and around their neighbourhoods.

“This team have to be thorough, professional and diligent. But they have also through the Plymouth Plan, showed that they are creative thinkers, can inspire others and have the interests of the city and its residents at the heart of everything they do.I am really proud of them.

The department’s development management team is among the top performing authorities with 96.2 per cent of major applications, 88.8 per cent of minor applications, and 97.4 per cent of other applications determined within targeted timescales. The average time to validate an application is two days.

The teams’ proactive approach to planning permissions, including using account management approaches with key partners to unblock stalled sites has resulted in over £2.2 billion of development being granted planning permission.

Earlier this year the department won the prestigious Royal Town Planning Institute Awards for the Plymouth Plan, which combines over 130 strategies into one strategic, integrated plan looking at people, place and resources.

The plan has been put together with the help of thousands of residents and completely changed how a city plots its long term goals. Since its launch in 2013 it has involved three major consultation stages, drawing in 3,091 comments, over 60 public events and over 30 different partners.

From debates, discussions, topic papers, a sofa moving around the city, online interactivity and taking over a shop, the journey to create the final plan has taken planners to places they have never been before.

Consultation on the second part of the plan – which looks at what to do with land around the city – is now underway and continues until the New Year.