Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

North Initiatives Support Argument for Devolution

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

North Initiatives Support Argument for Devolution

Article excerpt

Byline: Ian Robson Reporter ian.robson@ncjmedia.co.uk

ANEW report has hailed the success of three North East planning initiatives and has called for power to be devolved to local councils to encourage more of the same.

The investigation by the influential Royal Town Planning Institute, the body representing professional planners, praised the Grainger Town Partnership in Newcastle and the regeneration of Gateshead Quays.

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The Success and Innovation in Planning report also lauded plans for Hadrian's Wall.

All three were singled out for praise as the Institute called for power to be taken away from central government and given to local councils.

Institute president Cath Ranson said devolving extra powers to councils like Newcastle would bring immense benefits.

She said: "Both the Grainger Town Partnership and the regeneration of Gateshead Quays show the ability of planning to transform places signifi-cantly for the better.

"With a proven track record of delivering successful projects, there is good reason to believe places like Newcastle could flourish if given more powers and responsibility.

"These projects were a standout success and the local communities can be proud of their own achievements in bringing these about, as well as proud of their local council planning teams."

Her comment was welcomed by Ged Bell, Newcastle Council's Member for Investment and Development, who also called for more control over planning.

He said: "The Grainger Town Part-nership did much to arrest the decline of some of Newcastle's most beautiful buildings and levered in millions of pounds of private investment in the process.

"Newcastle is at the forefront of the devolution debate, and greater powers to allow us to develop our city centre would be most welcome.

"Devolving planning powers would give the council, its partners and communities more influence in developing a city centre fit for the 21st century. …

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