RTPI London Event Review: Developing London’s Rail Infrastructure – Monday 15th May 2017

IMG_6704It is less than 18months until the start of Elizabeth line services in the capital. Ahead of the curve, 7 days before the BBC’s Fifteen Billion Pound Railway programme (like Top Gear for train fans) started, RTPI London in conjunction with WSP organised a seminar to look at some of the lessons learned from Crossrail. This was together with a review of

the Hybrid Bill process; DCO’s and a review of what projects are coming next.

Andrew Dorrian (immediate past chair at RTPI London and Principal Planner at TfL) reviewed the latest position on the Mayor’s Transport Strategy. Due for consultation post election, Andrew presented some of the emerging key themes including a focus on healthy streets, cycling Crossrail 2, Bakerloo Line extension and maximising existing assets including national rail services. The plan predicated on the continued future growth of London will potentially set even more ambitious mode share targets to manage demand in London. Andrew further summarised the Mayor’s priorities for the London Plan with a review of the City for All Londoners document. This starts to look at where potential new growth will be centred including within town centres and around our stations.

IMG_6705Julie Davis (Land Use Planning Manager at Crossrail), reviewed progress of the construction of the Elizabeth line and presented the consenting route with some of its advantages and challenges. Julie noted the Hybrid Bill whilst with a long lead in time enables a package of consents to be achieved for a scheme. It usually comes with a schedule of conditions and it is for the promoter working with the contractor to ensure these conditions are abided by. This can become quite challenging depending on the arrangement of contracts. Crossrail set up a delivery mechanism so that the contractors were responsible for preparing the detail for conditions / any variations and Crossrail themselves signed off any details prior to submission to the LPA. Julie noted that partnership working with Local authorities across the route has been achieved through a forum, whereby such matters have been achieved. In developing the project Crossrail have amassed a wealth of information as part of their learning library. This is available at. http://learninglegacy.crossrail.co.uk/.

Siobhan Wall a former project manager for Crossrail, explained the innovative approaches Crossrail used to recycle materials. Thinking of the excavated material from the tunnels as not waste but a vital resource they worked with the RSPB to identify a project at Wallasea Island in Essex to create a new Nature Reserve. Excavated material was transferred by train and trucks to three jetties along the Thames, Northfleet, Limmo Peninsula and Barking Riverside. From there material was loaded onto ships for the onward journey to Walllasea. Siobhan explained that early partnership with the RSPB was critical to the success for the project and understanding what the material could be best used for. This project was part of a wider strategy for reusing material excavated at a number of sites across London and the South east and contributed towards 98% of Crossrail’s material being beneficially reused. This has profound impacts for an Environmental Statement for a project and critically a plan which is deliverable as to how material will be sorted, transported and reused is necessary from the start. For more information, please see, http://www.crossrail.co.uk/sustainability/environmental-sustainability/materials-and-waste.

IMG_6706Colin Turnbull (Associate Director) at WSP, shared lessons learned for the delivery of major rail projects under Hybrid Bills. Some of the top tips shared included the recommendation to start conversations early and get cross political support with both houses. The duration of a Hybrid Bill process means that it can often cross one or two political cycles and there is a challenge that a project can be ‘derailed’ by a change in Government. The length of an Environmental Statement was called into question. Crossrail’s ES was significantly long with a number of volumes. HS2’s has eclipsed this at 50,000 pages. Ultimately there needs to be a call on the length of the assessment and how user friendly these documents are, without impacting on the necessary assessment. Working with the LPA’s and stakeholders from the off was a seen to be a key way of agreeing the scope of assessment and smoothing the delivery process.

It is clear that Crossrail has given us a vast amount of knowledge and key lessons learned around delivery of a major project through a Hybrid Bill process; this can be applied on major infrastructure projects going forward of which there will be many. Our thanks go to all of our speakers and to WSP for organising and for their kind hospitality.



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

RTPI London Event Review: From academia to practice

RTPI London and the Urban Design Network hears from some of London’s top thinkers about what makes for an “excellent” public ream.

Perhaps for some, the challenge of answering the question of what makes an excellent public realm in an hour would be impossible, but our speakers had a good go. The bringing together the school of architecture and school of planning at Westminster allowed practitioners and students from both fields to discuss a question with, it seems, an infinite amount of answers.

Marion Roberts, Professor of Urban Design at Westminster University, gave an overview of Urban Design theory using examples of public spaces at home and abroad, with a clear message that success of a public space is just as much down to its management as its design; the opportunity, for example, for local people to take ownership of the public realm is a great factor contributing to its success, this can be as simple as local people being given control of raised flowerbeds.

From the theory to the practical, the Chair of the Urban design Network, Eileen Thomas, navigated delegates through a maze of do’s and don’ts from her experiences. We were shown a plethora of physical interventions in the public realm that she has observed and been involved with over her career, offering insight into what she thought made the successes. The message; detail is just as important as the strategy for making things work. From paving design to vehicle controls, infil developments and soft landscaping, some inspiring design approaches, some eye-wateringly incongruous. Eileen’s years of experience as a practitioner had certainly honed her eye for detail and gave the younger practitioners in the room food for thought.

Back to the theoretical, research Assistant Neal Shasore did a stirling job, stepping in last minute to offer his thoughts about the crucial factors to ensuring involved in the success of the public realm is just as much about what happens post-design process, and the crucial role that collaboration between agencies plays in ensuring better outcomes, using Croydon’s “place-making” department, bringing together planning, economic developments, urban design under one umbrella, as an example. There was also, he said, a part for the professional institutions to play in facilitating this.

Finally, an excellent on-the-ground example of regenerating Barking Riverside summarised very well by Douglas Ingils from Alex Lifshutz architects, described the design approach and challenges for creating a new public space as part of the development. With options still being discussed as to what final uses will be in surrounding areas, the complexities involved in making the design work from a planning point of view could not be ignored, particularly with regards to phasing.

The post presentation discussion again focused on the need for collaboration between professions, some more experienced practitioners referring back to days when Councils had their own in-house design teams. Interesting questions about choice of density at Barking riverside followed. And on the eve of the publication of Design Guide for Planners by Urban Design London, the question of whether design codes could have helped or hindered success at Barking Riverside, laid the foundations for a whole separate discussion, which time did not allow as to follow through with, laying foundations for a future discussion by the RTPI Urban Design Network on this topic alone.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

FORTHCOMING EVENT: Speed Networking – 25 May 2017

To be held at the Griffin Room, The Counting House, 50 Cornhill, London, EC3V 3PD at 6.00pm – late!

Counting HouseJoin RTPI London and RICS matrics for an evening of fast-paced speed networking. Meet a constant flow of interesting people from across the built environment professions, build your network, exchange business cards and develop successful future relationships.

The ticket price includes a drink and nibbles. This promises to be a great, sell out evening. Given the popularity of this event, please book your place as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. speed networking

Cost: £10 per ticket

To book go to: http://www.rics.org/speed-networking

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Event Review: RTPI London Networking Drinks – April

Drinks 1On Thursday 20th April 2017 RTPI London Young Planners held a drinks networking event, hosted and sponsored by recruitment agency Mattinson Partnership, at the stylish Drake & Morgan bar, Kings Cross.  The event was well attended by planning professionals in their first ten years of practice working at employers as diverse as EDF Energy, DCLG, City of Westminster, Transport for London and Capita.  Those who attended enjoyed sampling the free wine, beer and food on offer!  They also had the chance to talk with specialist Town Planning Recruitment CoDrinks 2nsultant Freddie Bell and team, an ideal opportunity to get there name known in the sector.  The RTPI London YP Team would like to say a special thank you to Mattinson Partnership for their support with this event.

 If you weren’t able to attend in April please come and join us at our next event!

Drinks 3

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Developing London’s Rail Infrastructure – 15 May 2017

The development of major rail infrastructure in London also helps to unlock growth and development opportunities across the south east and beyond, to benefit future generations.  The lessons learnt from projects such as the Elizabeth Line can be carried across to the planning and delivery phases of other key infrastructure projects (rail or otherwise).


  • 6:30pm – Introductions
  • 6:40pm – The need for large infrastructure development in London, Andrew Dorrian (TfL)
  • 6:55pm – Crossrail overview and the role of planning in delivery, Julie Davis (Crossrail)
  • 7:10pm – Wallasea Island, TBC
  • 7:25pm – Lessons for delivery of other rail projects under Hybrid Bills, Colin Turnbull (WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff)
  • 7:40pm – Conclusions and Q&A
  • 7:55pm – Refreshments and Networking


This is a free event, but please book your space here.

This conference, hosted by the RTPI London, Crossrail and WSP, will explore the need for, and delivery of large scale infrastructure development in London. It will also provide an overview of the crucial role of planning in the delivery of large infrastructure projects and development of innovative and sustainable mitigation measures, such as re-use and placement of excavated material at Wallasea Island.  We will also explore lessons learned from other rail projects under hybrid bills in order that we may be better equipped to deliver major rail infrastructure provision over the forthcoming decades.

Rail infrastructure

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

RTPI London Treasure Hunt – 20 July 2017

RTPI YP London’s Treasure Hunt is back!

The Treasure Hunt will start and finish at the Graphic Bar, with complimentary drinks provided courtesy of our sponsors,  KDH Associates

Turn up as a team of 4-5 or come along as an individual and join a team. After welcome drinks, teams will set out into the depths of Soho.

Can you answer all of the questions by 8pm?

Time is tight; there are prizes for the top-scoring teams!

Programme –

  • Arrival at Graphic Bar: 6pm
  • Welcome Drink/Team Assembly: 6-6:50pm
  • Treasure Hunt: 7-8pm
  • Drinks and prize giving: 9pm
  • End: midnight


Book yourself on as a team, the team leader ONLY needs to book and pay for the team.

Or, book on as an individual and we will put you in a team on the night.

NB. Please use paypal to secure your place.

Treasure hunt flyer

Huge thanks to our sponsors who has made this evening possible.

KDH New Logo

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Urban design excellence and the public realm – 11 May 2017 – 6.15 – 9.00pm

                                                                                                                                  Urban Design

University of Westminster, Robin Evans Room, 4th Floor, 35 Marylebone Rd, London NW1 5LS

RTPI London and the Urban design network are pleased to present an evening which will explore the multi-disciplinary nature of Urban Design.  During the evening we will ask:

 “What does “excellence” in public realm look and feel like?”


  • Harry Burchill (RTPI) Chair
  • Susannah Hagan (University of Westminster School of Architecture)– observations on designing public space –  London and Sao Paulo
  • Marion Roberts (University of Westminster School of Planning) –Urban Design Principles, what makes a good public space?
  • Nick Gibbs (LDS) – Principles in practice – Barking Riverside
  • Tom Venables (Aecom) Green Infrastructure and Public Space
  • Joe Wheelwright (Arup) Reflections in practice, Earls Court


  • Tickets for RTPI members and students of University of Westminster £5
  • Tickets for non RTPI members £10

Book your place now!

Open to students of planning and architecture and RTPI London’s young planners. This stimulating event aims to bring together two disciplines to engage in an area where their work most commonly overlaps. This seminar will present the principles of the public realm and will hear about stimulating research on public space, comparing London and Sao Paolo to innovations such as incorporating Green Infrastructure into Master Plans.  Students and practitioners will have the opportunity to explore their roles in creating great places as well as picking up some practical lessons from practitioners about contemporary projects local to them, like Barking riverside and Earls Court. The presentations will be followed by a Q&A with further opportunities for discussion over refreshments.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Event Review: Inter University Quiz – Wednesday 8th March 2017

Back for its second year, the now annual ‘Inter-University Planning Quiz’ was attended this year by 9 teams representing Newcastle (1), Cardiff (1), London South Bank (2) and UCL (5). IMG_20170308_193059After the customary introductions it was ears at the ready for a quiz kindly put together by John Cooney, who also adopted the role of quizmaster for the evening.

The first three rounds put to the test the students’ knowledge of London, planning and world cities. As with all good planning quizzes, there was mention of Ebenezer Howard, the green belt and planning ministers that had such short stints in office they were hard to recollect.

After three engaging rounds thoughts turned to the half-time refreshments and a chance to network and meet students from the different universities. A curry dinner was provided for all in attendance, whilst the RTPI London team tallied up the scores at the halfway point. A special mention at this point goes to the team member from Newcastle who flew in for the event. I’m told he also had other plans whilst in London but we will still give him a shout out for his commitment!

IMG_20170308_194346Following the interval it was back to business and the final two rounds. These comprised of a music round and a general knowledge round to close proceedings. Whilst negotiating quizmaster Cooney’s questions, the students were also tasked with a challenge to deliver the best drawn map of London. Creativity and accuracy were the judging criteria for this one and the stand out winner belonged to the ‘Bartlett Babes’ (UCL). IMG_20170308_203424

Following a nervous wait for the results, the much sought after title of quiz champions went to ‘University Challenged’ (UCL) with a rather impressive score of 48 out of 58. The team led at the half way point and kept their nerve to secure top honours.

RTPI London would like to thank all the students for making the effort to attend the event and contributing to a fun evening for all. A big thank you also goes to Arup for kindly hosting the event and to Open Cities for sponsoring the top prize. Please do join us for a future event and keep up to date with all that we are up to on the website, Twitter and our newly launched Instagram page.


Winning Team – Congratulations to ‘University Challenged’ (UCL)

2nd Place – Planners (UCL)

3rd Place – Planners and other Natural Hazzards  (UCL)

Best Team Name – Eucalyptus (UCL)

Best drawn map of London – Bartlett Babes (UCL)




Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

RTPI London – Assessment of Professional Competence – 13 March 2017

Ready to take your career to the next level?

Become a Chartered Town Planner (MRTPI) through the Licentiate Assessment of Professional Competence (L-APC).

Whatever stage you are at, this event will provide you with essential guidance on achieving success in the L-APC. You will be briefed on:

  • what’s involved in preparing an application
  • what you need to include
  • and how you present it.

It is also a great opportunity to ask questions and hear from others preparing their submissions.

Students, Licentiates, mentors and employers are all welcome.

Book your place quickly as it’s nearly full!

Those applying for Chartered Membership through the Associate or Experienced Practitioner APC routes (A-APC or EP-APC) may also find this event useful, but should be aware that there is some variation in requirements.

To find out more about the L-APC and your eligibility, please see: www.rtpi.org.uk/lapc

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

RTPI London Event Review: Planning Enforcement Conference

Planning Enforcement Conference – 24th February 2017 (Sponsored by Oyster Partnership

It was a full house at the Brent Civic Centre as the half-day RTPI London ‘Planning Enforcement Conference’ got underway. Kindly sponsored by Oyster Partnership, the event attracted attendees from over 20 London Boroughs, a variety of public bodies and private sector practitioners alike.

The collection of speakers had been tasked with considering two central themes: ‘Policy and Guidance’ and ‘Changing Behaviours’. Addressing the first of these was Ed Grant, Barrister of Cornerstone Barristers, who started proceedings with an overview of recent case law to be aware of and highlighted the ongoing use of such judgements in regards to grounds of appeal, unauthorised changes of use and deliberate concealment.

Next, Luke Perkins, RBKC, took delegates through the Borough’s use of S215 Notices. RBKC have become well known for their use of the ‘Untidy Land Notice’, developing a reputation for a no tolerance approach to landowners blighting the streetscene of a Borough that boasts over 3800 statutory listed buildings and 38 conservation areas.  To date, the project is responsible for 140 properties being renovated to an appropriate standard.

The responsibility to close an excellent first session fell to Brian Whitely (Planning Aid for England). Brian spoke about the work Planning Aid has been involved with regarding neighbourhood plans. In discussion, one delegate suggested that detailed policy and guidance at the local level could only assist in taking effective enforcement action where expedient to do so.

Following a short break, Tim Rolt, Planning Enforcement Manager LB Brent, painted an unfavourable picture of ‘small’ houses in multiple occupation that essentially operate as self-contained flats. In addressing the breach of planning in such instances it was noted that enforcement action is typically subject to delays due to appeals. The second part of Tim’s talk centred on confiscation powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA). Tim explained that the POCA was not only useful in recovering significant income, but importantly in achieving compliance.

Des Adumekwe and Matt Robinson were next up to present LB Hounslow’s ‘Rogue Landlord’ project. Set up in 2013, the project has had support from officers at HMRC, the Metropolitan Police and the Immigration Service, and has visited over 3,500 properties to date. Benefitting from DCLG grant money, a strong management board and member support, it continues to be an active project on the ground and gained national recognition through receipt of the Editor’s Award at the National Planning Awards in 2014.

Rounding off the event, Neill Whittaker (Ivy Legal) steered delegates through intentional unauthorised development, the responsibilities of enforcement officers and the limitations they face when using the ‘Planning Toolkit’.

As the conference drew to a close, discussions turned to the future of planning enforcement. The impact of Brexit on LPA resources is not yet known, but was flagged as a potential threat to the work of enforcement teams across London, whilst the effects associated with a move away from EU ecological and human right law is also unknown. What is important, however, is that the examples given by our speakers illustrated behavioural change through pro-active enforcement is not only possible but often significant. Indeed, these examples from Brent, Kensington and Chelsea and Hounslow could all act as blueprints for other authorities within the capital.

RTPI London would like to thank all of the day’s speakers for contributing to what was a very engaging and thought provoking event. We hope all that attended enjoyed the event and we look forward to seeing you at another event soon.


Presentations available for RTPI members.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment