Shaping the Region with an Eye on the Environment; Commercial Property Focus on Urban Planning Urban Planning in the North East Has Been a Prime Driver in Developing the Character and Environment of the Region, Says Scott Munro

Article excerpt

NORTH East England is a classic example of an industrial region that experienced large-scale social and economic change in the final decades of the 20th Century.

Many of the region's former coalfield communities now require investment and sustainable urban growth. The size, number and importance of these areas helps to explain the recent increase in the output of public policy and regeneration initiatives across the region.

The North East Assembly recently commissioned the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) to establish the role that spatial and planning policy plays in economic growth and the cities in which we live. It wanted to establish if economic growth targets first set in 2003, and used to underpin planning policies in the Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS), remain applicable today.

CEBR found that the predicted 2.8% economic growth rate for the region is still viable, despite a slowing economy. Reflecting on the recent development trends, CEBR found that the North-East economy is successfully embracing new industries, such as renewable technologies and automotive industries.

From evidence such as this, it appears that spatial planning policies have an undoubted role in promoting sustainable growth. The objectives of the North East's RSS are to enable continued accelerated growth in economic performance in order to propose 2.8% growth with increased housing growth. This is an increase from 112,000 new dwellings in the original draft to 128,900 in current consultation. Most growth is proposed in inner-city areas, such as Newcastle, Sunderland, Gateshead Middlesbrough, Hartlepool and Darlington. …