More national recognition for Plymouth’s planners

Plymouth’s planning department has been shortlisted for two national awards.

The Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Department is in the running for local authority team of the year in the national Planning Magazine awards. Its groundbreaking Plymouth Plan is also shortlisted in the strategic planning category in the awards which will be held on 17 November.

Plymouth’s planners work with housing professionals, economists, transport planners and viability experts to drive the delivery of projects. The department believes this improves the experience of planners and gives a broad perspective on the needs of people in Plymouth.

The department also has a development management team which 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.

The department has also achieved recognition by winning 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.
Assistant Director of Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Paul Barnard said: “I am thrilled that my team is getting national recognition. They’ve worked extremely hard and have shown themselves to be dynamic and forward thinking.

“Like all local authorities we face challenges and are working closer than ever with council teams as well as other organisation teams to look at the big picture and plan for positive change in Plymouth.

Cabinet Member for Strategic Transport and Planning Mark Coker added: “Talking to the people of Plymouth, talking to partners and businesses to get a real sense of where this city needs to go is a huge task and this team – together with other Council departments – has risen to the challenge.

“Getting recognition on a national stage is good for the Council, good for the city and good for businesses and investors. It shows we are up to the job of creating a great place to live and is playing a huge part in helping the council achieve its ambitions.”