About this project

Do we need a Great North Plan?

In our call for evidence, which ran between June and September 2015, we asked, What should a strategic spatial planning framework for the north of England be like? What should be its scope, and how should it be developed? See below for further details.

A summary of the responses to this call for evidence received is now available here.

Notes from the roundtable discussions at the Northern Summit held in Leeds on 14 January 2016 are also now available to download.

The consultation invited businesses, planners, academics, local councils, civil society groups – indeed, anyone living or working in the north of England – to share their thoughts about whether we need a Great North Plan, and their ideas about what it should look like. A PDF of this call for evidence, which is issued in full below, is also available here. We also held a series of five regional roundtable events in northern cities in June and July 2015 to feed into this process. The project will culminate in a ‘Northern Summit’ in Leeds in the new year. Click here for more details.


Background

In 2014 a number of organisations came together to hold two events in the North West under the banner ‘Framing the Future’. At each of these events, participants expressed a clear sense of frustration that, at a national level, matters of planning and economic development were not being given the attention that they deserved, and that spatial planning processes at the sub-national level were fragmented. There was agreement that, in the absence of any serious national spatial plan, the north of England needed a plan of its own: a Great North Plan.

Since then, the three northern Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) regions – Yorkshire, North East and North West) have partnered with IPPR North to develop plans for a series of regional roundtables that were held during the summer of 2015. These will lead up to a ‘Northern Summit’ conference early in 2016, and then a report exploring what a spatial planning framework for the North should look like, and how it might be developed.

The main aim of this work is to determine the most appropriate approach to developing a strategic spatial planning framework across the north of England.

It has three objectives.

  1. To initiate discussions about the nature and scope of a strategic spatial planning framework for the north of England.
  2. To solicit proposals for greater integration between transportation and spatial planning.
  3. To explore and develop advice about the appropriate governance needed to take this agenda forward.

Call for evidence

We initiated this process by issuing a call for evidence.

Businesses, planners, academics, local councils, civil society groups – indeed, anyone living or working in the north of England – was invited to share their thoughts about whether we need a Great North Plan and their ideas about what it should look like. Our consultation was framed by two key questions.

1. What should be the nature and scope of a strategic spatial planning framework for the north of England?
Some of the key issues to consider here will be the following.

  • What are the key components of such a framework? These might include issues of land-use, energy, transport and other infrastructure, water and population, among others.
  • Where should the boundaries covered by such a framework lie, and how should it address cross-boundary matters?
  • To what extent should it be ‘inclusive’, and to what extent should it focus on the big cities?
  • How it might fit with and relate to the statutory plans of local and combined authorities, and with the government’s plans to create a ‘northern powerhouse’?

2. What might be the process and timetable for the development of such a framework?
Issues under consideration here will include the following.

  • Over what timetable could a Great North Plan be successfully developed? What are the first steps?
  • Who are the key partners who need to drive the process? More widely, who will need to be involved and consulted?
  • How might such a process be funded?
  • How should it be branded and promoted to build wider ‘ownership’?

Our call for evidence was open until 30 September 2015. A summary of submissions made is available to download  above.

In order to continue to move the conversation forward and generate wider interest in this initiative, you can still also tweet your ideas on any aspect of these key questions, using the hashtag #GreatNorthPlan. The best of these will be featured on our Twitter feed above.

Please email infrastructure@ippr.org if you have any questions or queries about this project.

Roundtables

As part of the call for evidence process, five regional roundtables were held in Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Leeds and Sheffield in June and July 2015 (two were run in each location run two separate time-slots).

These roundtables were aimed at stakeholders from across all 11 northern LEP areas, and each followed a similar format: the first half was primarily for planning experts, and the second half involved wider stakeholders from combined authorities, LEPs, local planning authorities, transport agencies, businesses and so on).

These roundtables fed in to the summary of responses to our call for evidence, which is now available to download.


The Northern Summit – Leeds, 14 January 2016

The process concluded with the Northern Summit, held on Thursday 14 January at The Queen’s Hotel, Leeds. This major assembled more than 100 stakeholders to draw together work emanating from the regional roundtables, and to discuss the way forward for a ‘Great North Plan’. Lord Heseltine made the keynote speech, IPPR North director Ed Cox presented the key roundtable findings and evidence, and break-out groups discussed some of the key themes.

Videos of the speeches by Lord Heseltine, Ed Cox and Councillor James Lewis of Leeds City Council, and a podcast of Lord Heseltine’s speech, are available here on IPPR’s website.

Notes from the roundtable discussions held at the summit are also now available to download.