Plymouth’s innovative approach to planning for the future has won a national award for planning excellence.
The Plymouth Plan was last night recognised as the best approach to plan making practice in the country by the Royal Town Planning Institute – the professional body that represents 23,000 planning professionals worldwide and promotes spatial planning, shapes policy and raises professional standards.
Cabinet Member for Strategic Transport and Planning, Councillor Mark Coker said: “This is brilliant news – last week we heard that we had won regional recognition, but it’s fantastic to hear that our approach of putting people at the heart of planning has been noticed nationally.
“We deliberately set out to do planning differently, to take it out of Council offices and to the people who are affected by the decisions we make.
“Transforming a city doesn’t happen by accident or overnight. It needs careful planning, persistence and a belief that certain actions by organisations can make a massive difference to a lot of people. This approach is clearly getting noticed.”
Plymouth’s planners turned traditional planning on its head, talking first to as many people and organisations as possible before putting anything on paper.
The team went out to neighbourhoods with the Plymouth Plan sofa and chatted to thousands of people about what they wanted Plymouth to be like in years to come.
All topics were up for discussion from transport to homes to places to play as well as schools and health.
The Plymouth Plan was designed to be more than just a planning document. It set out to replace over 100 existing strategies, from the city’s strategy for health, children and young people, culture, transport and the economy.
Staff from every department, as well as representatives from over 30 city partners, shared their expertise and thoughts on the direction the city needs to take.
Assistant director for Planning Paul Barnard added: “It’s been a huge undertaking, but we have always wanted this to be the people’s plan.
“This award shows the dedication, enthusiasm, commitment and creativity of the planning team.
“Special thanks to Jonathan Bell, for leading the whole plan, to Richard Grant or tackling some of the big challenges we face such as growth, housing and protecting our environment and Hannah Sloggett, whose creative and innovative approach has led to unprecedented levels of involvement and support.”
Roisin Willmott, RTPI Awards Advisor said: “The judges were very impressed by the thorough approach taken to prepare the plan. By working across all the departments of the Council to ensure it was comprehensive, the planning team helped build support for the plan in the Council and amongst councillors.”
The Plymouth Plan team is now finalising part one, with a view to its approval by the Council and partnerships over August and September.
At the same time work is taking place on Part Two which sets area and site-specific policies for development, improvement, conservation. Work is already underway on the evidence aspect of Part Two, including assessments of land availability, green space and neighbourhood assessments,