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Houses, houses, houses seems to be the message from our current Conservative government and those outside of the world of Town Planning might be forgiven for thinking all planners do is simply create more housing. Of course, the residential sector is arguably the busiest for many on both sides of the public and private sector fence, however, I found myself wondering how else planners benefit us and I came up with these reasons.
1) Housing Improvement
Well, it would be silly to start elsewhere! Good planning means the creation of new homes and communities, of which we need much more. This doesn’t mean simply submitting applications for stunning 5-bed mansions in the Hertfordshire countryside. Planners work tirelessly to ensure that housing is practical, easy on the eye and affordable. Too often (particularly in London), we see residential developments springing up but they are not providing affordable solutions for those in need. Town Planning has a positive impact with the inclusion of affordable housing now in many schemes across the UK meaning that we may, eventually, start to see the housing situation improve.
2) Community Involvement
Participation in local communities is key to delivering positive planning outcomes. Of course, it is a statutory requirement of the Local Authorities to consult communities on policies for their areas but I believe this is gradually improving, although more could still be done. Involving local communities can assist in the identification of problems and ensures developments suit local needs and promotes the ‘togetherness’ of communities – something that is very much a British tradition. Further involvement, in my opinion, can only be positive as we as communities and a wider nation will be better informed about planning and can work with planners to ensure our towns and cities develop for the better.
3) Economic Benefits
Town Planning and the economy are very closely linked. Whilst our economic future still remains rather uncertain - with an EU referendum looming and austerity measures continuing – planning can help to navigate the challenges ahead. Alongside other professions, planners play a critical role in creating and sustaining successful places. It is imperative our towns and cities are attractive, liveable, connected, safe, accessible and vibrant so that we can attract people and investment that will allow our economy to prosper. Town planners can be at the forefront of helping decision makers and communities themselves to prepare for the fast-developing world. Whilst planners aren’t the first profession that spring to many minds when it comes to economic development, there is no doubting their importance and the beneficial role they play in ensuring our economic future is bright and secure.
Of course, there are many other ways in which Town Planning has a positive impact and the future is looking positive for the sector at present. Notably, we are working with an array of clients with opportunities arising with Local Authorities, private sector consultancies and developers across the UK. Year on year, more opportunities are arising at all levels and we currently have instructions for Assistant Planners through to Directors.
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