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Date: 8/10/2008

Hazel Blears, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has called for larger numbers of chief planners to be members of local authority cabinets and management teams.

Phil Kirby, President of the Planning Officers Society, who was also speaking at the national RTPI Politicians in Planning Network (PIPA) conference, held at the Manchester Business School on Saturday 11th October heard the Minister say

“I want to see people with planning expertise in Local Authority Cabinets and on management teams prepared to champion planning…because no-one wins when you have planning off on its own, seen as a separate thing.”

The POS President welcomes the Minister's comments and asks the leaders of the new unitary councils to act on her words.

With several new unitary authorities coming on stream in April 2009, and possibly more to follow in 2010, there is an opportunity to ensure that planning services are at the heart of their new organisations from Day 1,  recognising the essential role that spatial planning has in delivering the Sustainable Community Strategy and contributing to achieving local area agreement targets.

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