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Research highlights the importance of good planning


Researchers from the University’s School of Architecture Planning and Landscape have produced a report that highlights the value of planning to cities like Newcastle.

The report, Success and Innovation in Planning, created for the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) praised three successful cases of regeneration in the region.

First was the Grainger Town Partnership, a special collaboration formed to lead the conservation-led regeneration of 35 hectares of Newcastle City Centre. The Partnership was praised in the report for turning around this area of Newcastle by using the local architecture for economic benefit as well as conservation purposes. It also engaged a wide range of stakeholders in the process to develop a vision for the area, which the report’s authors say was critical in inspiring confidence in the regeneration project.

The regeneration of Gateshead Quays also featured in the report, and was similarly highlighted for delivering a culture-led regeneration project. Key to its success was the emphasis on a long-term, flexible vision, enabled by the long-term presence of a capable regime of councilors and planners. 

Lead author Geoff Vigar, Professor of Urban Planning, says, “Planning is often given a hard time but our research highlights the value of having a long-term vision for an area. ??“Such vision is particularly valuable in securing long-term social, environmental and economic benefits for a wider public. These benefits would not emerge from property markets and developers acting alone.”

With a proven track record of delivering successful and innovative planning projects, this research suggests that granting more power and resources locally could greatly improve areas such as transport infrastructure and economic development.

The management of Hadrian’s Wall was also shown as a standout example of forward planning when preserving a world heritage site.

Hadrian’s Wall runs for 84 miles coast to coast across the north of England, spanning the counties of Cumbria and Northumberland and also encompassing two local authorities in Tyne and Wear. The scale of the site and the diversity of its surroundings make managing this World Heritage Site a challenge.

The Hadrian’s Wall’s case study demonstrates the value of partnership working, with a local steering group and various communities working together to consider the economic and environmental issues associated with managing the land in the vicinity of the Wall.

The strength of the partnership created was highlighted in 2014 when the Hadrian’s Wall Trust was forced to close through budget cuts, with all site management functions being passed to the partners. The management plan continued to help in this transition, providing an important continuity of objectives.

The report suggests that a clear management plan can continue to conserve important heritage sites in the face of increasing budget cuts and a lack of statutory protection.??

The report was written by Prof Geoff Vigar, Dr Paul Cowie and Prof Patsy Healey OBE. One hundred planning professionals and commentators were asked to nominate exemplars of successful and innovative planning in a 25-year period to 2013.  These nominations formed the research case studies.

The research was commissioned through the RTPI's Small Project Impact Research (SPIRe) Scheme, which encourages high quality research projects that have the potential to impact on policy and practice.

The University’s School of Architecture Planning and Landscape has just been rated 4th in the most powerful research groups in its field nationally (REF 2014).

published on: 23 December 2014