Yorkshire – Peter Brett Associates, now part of Stantec, is today joining an influential group at a Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) event at Leeds Beckett University to discuss housing and economic development in the Northern Powerhouse.
Keith Mitchell, PBA Director, Community Development & Infrastructure, will emphasise the importance of people and place in helping to shape the Northern Powerhouse at the event.
The RTPI believes the Northern Powerhouse needs to make places work better for people, with infrastructure investments that help to improve quality of life. The Institute is calling for an inclusive, collaborative and pan-Northern approach to tackling issues such as demographic change, health, the future of town centres, rural and coastal communities, jobs and skills, graduate retention, and barriers to good growth.
The RTPI’s Yorkshire, North East and North West regions, in partnership with PBA and of Newcastle University, have started a project called “Ambitions for the North of England: People and Place”.
By promoting co-operation beyond traditional boundaries, it aims to create a joined-up approach that would help Northern towns, cities and rural areas develop sustainably, and ensure that prosperity generated by the Northern Powerhouse is shared as widely as possible, not just in the key cities.
Bob Wolfe, RTPI project chair, said:
“The distinctiveness and diversity of the North reside in its people and places, history and built heritage, natural beauty, and culture. From this position of strength and opportunity, we want to highlight these assets and problems associated with them in the ongoing debate around the Northern Powerhouse, and show how a holistic way of looking at and planning across the North can deliver the widest benefits.
“Transport and infrastructure are clearly important building blocks, but they need to be knitted into how people want to live - now and in years to come. Our project will add much needed insight into people’s needs and aspirations to inform big, vital decisions ahead.”
Roundtables will be held in places such as Bradford, Sheffield and Newcastle to explore how demographic, cultural and technological change will affect people’s lives, the shape of the built environment and community identity. From these, the project will identify what ambitions are realistic and the responses that could be put in place.
Bernard Greep, Director of Planning and Growth at Peter Brett Associates said:
“We are delighted to lead this hugely important commission. There is a strong consensus and momentum in the North to take charge of its own destiny. PBA has a strong record of providing thoughtful, incisive and well-informed research tackling complex issues. The project provides a critical opportunity to explore key spatial issues affecting people and places across the North, and to catalyse stakeholders and decision-makers to take forward identified ambitions as part of a shared purpose.”
The RTPI and IPPR North launched a Blueprint for a Great North Plan in 2016 after consultation with over 400 Northern businesses and local leaders. The blueprint calls for a collaborative approach around key northern assets, with its “people and place” being one of these.