A recent poll by the Royal Town Planning Institute, (the body representing 23,000 planners) reveals that a 79% majority of the public want more say over the development in their communities.
Cath Ranson, President of the RTPI, said:
“With the general election just six months away, all the political parties need to recognise that local people want more, not less say, over the future development of their communities. Our poll also shows they are ahead of politicians in understanding that what makes a place economically successful also involves proper investment in infrastructure and local services, as well as maintaining an attractive area, with green spaces and good local amenities.
The poll results, published within a new report by the RTPI on ‘Planning Horizons - Creating Economically Successful Places’, shows only 8% of people want planning and development decisions to be relaxed and left to developers, rejecting the idea that developers should one day be able to build what they want, where they want.
The report findings also indicate that people generally rate their local area as a good place to live (49% think their area is good, and 21% think it is excellent). However just 52% think that local services are generally of good quality!
30% think their area has gone down hill over the past five years;
One in four people say they are likely to move away from their local area in the next five years.
The RTPI’s report proposes that in a fast-changing economy that areas across the country need to adopt a much broader approach to development and economic development, which goes beyond merely trying to recruit businesses to their area and instead focuses on investing in local services and infrastructure. This view is supported by the public. Sixty-one percent of people think that the best way to grow their local economy is to invest in local services and amenities and make the area attractive.
The survey also reveals what factors that people think are most important in making local areas attractive. The top ten factors according to the public are:
The RTPI report argues that the country's future depends on creating attractive places to live and work, and that planners can help to create places where people want to live and businesses want to invest.
While we agree with much of the RTPI's published opinions - it must be impressed that while economic growth and financial sustainability are obviously important - the needs of current generations must not be jeopardised by a perceived 'need' to develop for the sake of providing for future generations.
The debate continues...