NDSA – Round table discussion on Government’s Planning White Paper

PDP_NDSA Planning White paper

Our Managing Director, Jonathan Jenkin recently joined an expert guest panel to look at the potential implications of the Government’s planning white paper on the built environment and it’s possible impact on the architecture profession.

The Nottingham and Derby Society of Architects – NDSA – recently hosted a live Round Table Discussion with an expert panel of consultants, architects, planners, planning committee officers and other built environment stakeholders and professionals. This was a first of it’s kind for the NDSA in terms of format but also in the comprehensiveness and complexity of the issues raised.

We are very fortunate to have had the time of those who participated. Both the effectiveness of the format and the power of debate is evidenced in the results of our opening and closing poll, which asked attendees of their views on the White Paper.

Included within the guest panel in running order were:

  • Philip Waddy, Chair of RIBA National Planning Group and Managing Director of WWA Studios
  • Laura Alvarez, East Midlands Convenor for the Urban Design Group and Senior Principal Urban Design and Conservation Officer at Nottingham City Council
  • Jonathan Jenkin, Managing Director of Planning Design Ltd
  • Linda Woodings, Basford Ward Councillor and Portfolio Holder for Planning, Housing and Heritage
  • Jamie King, Founder and Director of Nottinghamshire based practice KOR Architects
  • Pavlos Kotsonis, Planning Committee member and Nottingham City Councillor
  • David Birkbeck, Design for Homes director and co-author of Building for Life

It was our hope that the NDSA, as a group working together within the architecture profession and as representatives of the two counties RIBA membership, that we could provide a platform for healthy debate and discussion and ultimately for us all to come away with an improved understanding of the key areas contained within the White Paper. What the proposals mean for us as industry professionals but also the broader implications were something we had hoped to be highlighted throughout the event.

The evening began by handing each guest speaker the floor to lay out in succession their own understanding of the White paper and possible implications, drawing from their respective areas of experience and expertise. From this we were able to pull together a very rounded view, one which was otherwise inaccessible to us.

The panelists were previously asked to draw our audiences towards specific areas of attention, concern or intrigue. From this, we successfully learned much about the content and nature of the 80 page document issued by the government in Autumn of 2020.

Following the round of presentations we moved into open dialogue amongst the panelists themselves, who had the opportunity to expand upon key points and the overlapping topics to emerge from the run of presentations. The panelists also had the opportunity to present a counter argument to some of the positions adopted on the White Paper by their fellow speakers.

The event featured a live Q&A where those in attendance were able to pose questions directly to the panelists. Permitting our membership the opportunity to engage directly in the debate is a feature in all our live events, which on this occasion was moderated by NDSA Committee Officer Sara Saadouni.

We opened and concluded the event with a poll, asking if attendees were generally for, against or undecided on the overall content of the White Paper. The results read as follows:

Opening poll results:

  • For: 26%
  • Against: 21%
  • Undecided: 53%

Closing poll result:

  • For: 18%
  • Against: 68%
  • Undecided: 14%

At subsequent Committee meetings and upon much reflection, the NDSA felt the event showed that the complexity of the subjects covered raised questions over how RIBA members are generally informed but also represented at a National level. Some work is now under way by the NDSA to examine how this arrangement can be improved upon.

This event was recorded and is available for free to all on the NDSA website and on their YouTube channel.

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