POS President Stewart Murray writes the latest, and final, blog of his Presidential year.
"All planners, well this is it, my final blog to you all as your current President of POS in the closing weeks before I hand over the reins to your new President for 2016-17, Anna Rose (Senior Vice President) at our Annual Spring Conference 16th-17th June.What a year it has been, a most exciting rollercoaster for the planning sector and not a moment of fun, challenges and interventions for POS and myself in steering the profession and public sector planning in the most reformist year I can recall.
So, the Housing & Planning Act has finally made it onto the Statute Books, although we await the detailed regulations and statutory instruments of it various reform facets for planning. Brownfield Registers, Permissions in Principle, Starter Homes and a raft of other radical upheaval changes to the country's planning system become legitimised and real for us all now to implement. I must say, it has been an uphill battle fully engaging and getting our POS credible position and amendments across to Government but despite reservations regarding many detailed elements of the new Act, POS has been tirelessly defending the system and profession and secured many modifications and improvements to the final provisions, for the better. We also constructively engaged in the Local Plans Expert Group review of the forward plans and endorse the majority of recommendations following our successful early engagement and collaborative working and influence with the Government's expert panel (LPEG).
We recommend that the Government implement these as soon as possible so planners and local plans can be seen as a force of constructive change and good for places and people across the country. For Starter Homes, we are yet to see this element of the Act rolled out and detailed practical and viability issues are still being sorted and negotiated at high levels with Government. Let's hope we can make this initiative work and keep housing delivery and affordable housing outcomes improving through the planning system. You will all hear more about the Act and provisions, plus I hear..... a new Bill for planning (the statute books have hardly been out and we are onto another Bill of reforms!).
Watch the next President's blog and get a concise update at this June's Spring Conference where keynote speaker, Steve Quartermain (back from PINS) will provide a comprehensive update and direction of travel for more Government reforms and thinking (just as we thought it was safe to go back into the water).
It has been a wonderful year for me in the honoured role of President of POS personally. Working closely with the Chair, former Presidents, Senior and Junior Vice Chairs and POS Board and Forum members alike, I feel we have bonded, delivered much and help strengthen POS as a force to be reckoned with at the national, regional and sector levels. I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to all POS members, Board and mainstream for all your support this last year and hope you will continue that generous and expert approach to help the new POS president steer a steady ship through potentially some rocky waters in the year ahead. You have all been wonderful and I am impressed with the rising talent and commitment from POS members at Forums and events which make us strong and a unified team.
Come celebrate the culmination of this year with me and POS Directors at the 16th and 17th June Spring Conference which I'm hosting at the iconic City Hall in the heart of Central London with a top floor Living Room view hard to beat. We can discuss serious and enlightened issues for the year ahead and I can pass over the responsibilities for my successor whilst having some real fun and celebration time for POS achievements in 2015-16. I wish you all the very best POS friends and colleagues for a bright and successful planning future. I will continue to offer my services to post as past president to help ensure we sustain a great network. All the best to you all."
Stewart Murray, President 2015-16