Royal Town Planning Institute South West
The Minutes of the Third Joint Meeting of the 2015 RTPI South West Management Board and
Regional Activities Committee
Friday 20 March 2015, The Library, Paul Street, Taunton
Officers: Paul Barnard (Chair), Martin Lee (Joint Hon. Secretary),
Brett Spiller (Treasurer)
Members: Janthia Algate, Phil Bisatt, Jonathan Chick, Jon Drew, Andrew England, George Marshall, Kath
Haddrell, Sam Langford-Holt, David Lowin, Greg McGill, Mike Oakley, Clare Reid.
Staff: Geoff Walker (RTPI SW Project Policy Officer)
Mark Felgate, Mike Harris, Jean Marshall, Nick Smith Alison Tait, Marcel Venn, Richard Williamson, Stuart Todd.
Also: Charlotte Daborn (RTPI SW Regional Coordinator)
Also present: Joanna Widdecombe (Planning Aid England)
Co-option to Regional Activities Committee:
It was AGREED that, in accordance with RTPI SW Rule 12 for co-option of Corporate Members, Alice
Bames should be co-opted to the Regional Activities Committee for the year 2015.
23.0 Minutes of Second Joint Meeting 23 January 2015
Matters arising:
RTPI Learning and Practice Needs Project – Paul Barnard confirmed this needs chasing up with
James Holbrook to see the outcome from the first meeting of the Working Group.
Planning Aid Update – Martin Lee reported a good response to the call for volunteers to join SW
Working Group. Stuart Todd has been rejected by PAE as Deputy South West PAE
Representative as he is not an active PAE volunteer. Stuart is unable to consider volunteering
due to existing work and family commitments. A Deputy is to be sought amongst the members of
the new Working Group at its inaugural meeting which is to be arranged after the planned meeting
of Regional Representatives on 10 April 2015 at RTPI Headquarters to discuss the future of
PAE, which Martin will attend.
Cliff Bishop – Honorary Membership of RTPI – Paul Barnard to chase Chris Balch for progress on
this issue
Chairs Report –
i. CPD Programme – Paul Barnard confirmed this was developing nicely.
ii. RTPI SW Centenary Newsletter - Chief Executive Officer names coming in from variety of
Distribution of RMB/RAC Papers - Noted that, with the volume of papers produced for this Third
Joint Meeting, substantial cost and time saving were achieved through electronic distribution
though the availability of limited paper copies had been appreciated by some members with home
Policy Project Officer Update – Geoff to seek Charlotte’s assistance in ensuring relevant web-links
included in all future reports.
24.0 Chairs Report
i. President’s Visit – A Bournemouth focus proposed by Paul Barnard was accepted by the meeting
noting that Bournemouth and Poole had not been visited by the President for some time. Inclusion of
Purbeck in any tour, as suggested by Mike Oakley was AGREED.
ii. It was AGREED that the RTPI Weekly Updates should be shared if of wider interest: pictures of
interest, podcasts, consultations etc.
iii. CPD Programme – progress update. Success of March event (notwithstanding no-show first speaker)
without Charlotte present was noted and Charlotte was commended for the level of organisation and
format of booklet handouts. Also of great help was the volunteers assisting on the day: Phil Bisatt, Jo
Widdecombe, Martin Lee and Alex McKenzie (RTPI South East Coordinator). Future CPD events require
members to volunteer their services to assist the smooth running of the day, as Charlotte cannot cover all
roles on her own.
iv. Election Debates – Paul Barnard advised these had been very successful and other Institutes have
expressed how very keen they are to work with RTPI SW on more events. There was with particular
praise for the RIBA and ICE for their support and contributions at the Debates. Geoff is in the course of
writing up the Bristol event notes. Paul stressed that the RTPI SW posters and literature need improving
making them ‘glossier’ and more ‘inviting’ for such events and Charlotte is working on proposals for this.
Brett confirmed there is money in the budget for involvement in more of these joint events.
v. RTPI SW Centenary Publication – Paul Barnard confirmed that this has now been circulated to all
CEO’s. Feedback is welcome.
vi. Resource Impacts: RTPI proposals for Planning in next parliament now published; The LGA
publication - ‘Investing in our nation’s future’ was noted.
vii DCLG Response to NPPF Inquiry: 43 recommendations produced on improvements/changes to be
made have been generally dismissed.
viii Local Plan Watch – Local Plan production has increased since NPPF publication. DCLG tries to claim
this is as direct consequence of NPPF. No correlation in reality.
ix. Sir Patrick Abercrombie – The quote for the day was appreciated.
Annual Report
Mike Oakley has prepared a first draft to assist Charlotte on this occasion. Any further comments on the
draft not raised at the meeting should be sent to Mike and Charlotte by the end of the month. Mike noted
that, with knowledge gained during the coming year, Charlotte feels that she will be able to prepare the
first draft of the 2015 Annual Report. The discussion noted that Membership in the Region is up –
particularly amongst students, which has risen from the low 100’s to the higher 200’s between 2013 and
2014 as a result of introduction of free student membership. Retired membership is also continuing to rise
partly boosted by on-going local government reorganisation. Concern was expressed on the cost of
Licentiate membership and a report was requested to consider the issue; David Lowin agreed to prepare
same for next meeting. Paul Barnard proposed to issue a commendation letter (in addition to this entry in
the minutes) to confirm RAC appreciation of the amount of effort and work put in by Young Planners to
stage quality events in the South West.
President’s Visit
The issue was covered in the Chair’s Report above.
RTPI SW Planning for Excellence Awards
Mike Oakley clarified that he ‘checks’ submissions rather than ‘assessing’ them (as stated in para.1i)
before circulating them to Panel members. An additional member on the Panel would be helpful to ensure
adequate numbers attending site visits and meetings. Mike noted it would be good if a member of the
Young Planners Group could join the Panel. Paul Barnard said he would include this in aforementioned
letter of appreciation to Young Planners. Phil Bisatt interested but only for next year in his role as RTPI
SW Chair 2016. It was AGREED that Kath Haddrell would join the Panel replacing David Lobban who, as
noted in the report, had some concern that he would not be able to participate as fully as other Panel
members. It was also noted that the section in the report on the Panel Judging Process should have
referred finally to the Presentation of Awards ceremony which usually is held at or near the site of the
overall winning submission.
RTPI SW Dinner 2015
Charlotte’s Report was noted. The following decisions were made:
a) No Disco was required
b) The discount for Young Planners should be available only as a thank you to individual active Group
members who had made a significant input into the Group’s recent activities including work for the
2014 National Young Planners Conference in Bristol. Paul Barnard AGREED to include reference to
this in his ‘ever growing’ letter.
c) The meeting noted that the String Quartet had been’ drowned out’ by talking at the 2014 Dinner and
thus Charlotte was requested to ask the Hotel to provide appropriate background music.
d) AGREED to seek food and canapé upgrade, secure services of magician and professional
e) AGREED that an invitation be extended to Helen and her husband Paul with complimentary tickets,
plus invites to Chairs of other Institutes. Charlotte was requested to prepare a list of those invited
previously (in terms of their roles in their respective institutes). All further suggestions to Charlotte
who will then discuss with Paul Barnard.
f) Martin Lee suggested that the Speaker be invited, in advance of the Dinner, to propose a Charity to
which RTPI SW could make contribution through the raffle in appreciation of the Speaker’s services.
Kath Haddrell suggested Kids Company and Mike Oakley St Peter’s Hospice. It was AGREED there
should only be two or three raffle prizes.
g) Charlotte was requested to ensure extra facilities such as a podium should be provided to upgrade the
quality of the event.
RTPI SW Schools Competition 2014
The results were noted and Paul Barnard expressed pleasure at the success of the competition. It was
AGREED to note the report and ask Nick to prepare a future paper on how the competition could be
refreshed in 2015/2016.
RTPI SW Schools Bursaries 2015
Brett Spiller raised the issue of the value of these bursaries for RTPI SW and recommended deferral of
decision on this subject until later in the year. David Lowin suggested we ask the colleges and tutors to
identify those in need rather than decisions on bursaries being taken based on submitted essays. Geoff
confirmed this was the original basis of the Hardship fund when he first established it. Martin Lee
suggested a contribution to existing college hardship funds on a philanthropic basis. It was AGREED to
defer a decision on this issue until the May RMB/RAC meeting in time for input into the Business Plan
preparation process. Any report should follow discussions between Nick/Brett and RTPI HQ regarding the
acceptability of budget allocations for student bursaries within the Business Plan as, in the past, concerns
had been expressed by HQ officers. Brett suggested replacing the word ‘hardship’ with ‘inclusivity’ in any
such discussions.
RTPI SW Policy Project Officer Report
Geoff Walker reported on the current situation regarding Local Plan/Core Strategy coverage in the South
West noting in particular that 9 Authorities in the Region had yet to submit a Plan/Core Strategy for
examination. He stressed that thoughts, comments and contributions on, and for, his reports were always
welcome. Paul Barnard expressed genuine thanks for the effort and quality invested in producing this
report. Charlotte was requested to assist in including relevant links prior to uploading Geoff’s report on to
RTPI Research Work Programme
Greg McGill (having just returned from Fez) confirmed he had submitted the two paragraphs in his paper
to HQ and had received email indication from Richard Blyth that a decision would be swift. A meeting at
Headquarters two days ago was meant to endorse proposal. Greg was still waiting a decision and
stressed that he and Geoff will probably have to work very swiftly once the confirmation comes through.
(Shortly after the meeting a favourable decision was received). A number of Universities have already
expressed interest in tendering. Greg confirmed he will liaise with Brett and Paul over any onerous
requirements or conditions that might come with confirmation. Paul Barnard expressed thanks for Greg
and Geoff’s hard work.
Report by the Regional Representative on the General Assembly
The report was noted. Charlotte was asked to obtain a copy of the latest approved RTPI Corporate
Strategy 2015-2020 and circulate asap (link or paper).
Young Planners Update
The report was noted.
Hon Secretary’s Report
Regions & Nations Panel – The papers and discussion highlighted the comparative state of reserves in
the Regions with the South West in the Premier Division with the North West. However, it needs to be
remembered that the printed figures are over-estimates as a number of expenditure items in 2014 are not
included. Brett recommended that the RMB/RAC must concentrate on spending the current planned
expenditure in 2015, particularly the research project. Everyone must concentrate on ensuring the
expenditure they are responsible for is actioned. Consideration of a number of additional suggestions for
future expenditure of reserves needs to be done within the framework of the current and future Business
Plans. Pop ups and other practical equipment can be secured now and Charlotte was authorised to
action this. Charlotte was also empowered to request volunteer support from members to arrive early and
help run CPD events on the day to ease the level of work required; the fees in these cases would be
waived. Charlotte was also requested to assess the quality of facilities provided by Conference venues
and ensure RTPI SW supports (with repeat patronage) those that provide good technical and other
support. Constructive feedback should be sent to them and also to those venues that don’t meet such
high, but necessary, standards.
Planning Aid Update
Teleconference minutes of the meetings on 26 January and 23 February were noted. Martin referred to
a draft letter from NW region to the President on future of Planning Aid. It was AGREED to send a similar
letter through the Chair prior to a meeting of Regional PAE Representatives organised to discuss the
future of PAE set for 10 April in Botolph Lane. Martin is attending and Paul would dial in (Paul
subsequently had to cancel). South West PAE volunteers are now coming forward to join the SW Planning
Aid Working Group. A paper on the future development of Planning Aid in England will come from Martin
for the next RMB/RAC meeting.
Hon Treasurer’s Report
Brett was pleased to report that RTPI SW managed to achieve a small budget deficit last year despite
really successful CPD events. The report was noted.
CPD Activities: Progress Report on 2015 Programme
There had been three excellent events and good feedback so far in 2015. The possibility of filming
presentations for edited uploads was discussed; Martin wondered whether Young Planners might be
interested in undertaking this. There would be a need for individuals to provide name and employer details
before asking their questions. Paul had ideas for future events and speakers and welcomes suggestions
for topics and speakers from all. Charlotte is looking for endorsement to rate venues for quality; this
was AGREED. Paul requested all to advise Charlotte of good and inappropriate speakers for future
events to help overall quality of the future CPD offer. Charlotte is suggesting coordinating specific
Conferences with other institutes during next year; this was AGREED in principle.
There were no matters arising
Date of Next Meeting
Friday 1 May 2015 at The Library Taunton, commencing at 9:45am