Walking into history

RTPI London marked the 70th anniversary of the Town & Country Planning Act 1947 with a presentation and walk through the City of London celebrating this and other glittering landmarks in planning history. Chiming with the anniversary of the Act, news bulletins earlier in the day announced new additions to the statutory lists of historic buildings.

The presentation at RTPI ‘s London office celebrated the 500th anniversary of Londoner Thomas More’s blueprint for urban living, set out in just twelve pages of his book ‘Utopia’. In the Church of St Lawrence-Jewry-next-the-Guildhall, adjacent to More’s birthplace and where he preached, there is a splendid stained glass window above the pulpit. The window design features his masterplan study, a distinction not afforded many town planners. The Wren Church which rose up after the Great Fire is a testament to ingenious handling of site constraints. Indeed many of the recovery masterplans emerging in 1667, exactly 350 years ago, drew inspiration from More’s Utopia.


Thomas More window in St Lawrence Jewry


The heritage themed walk explored where More was educated and lived. One home Crosby Hall still stands although it was moved from Bishopsgate in 1910 and now enjoys a splendid riverside setting next to Battersea Bridge where More had a Chelsea home.



Crosby Hall, Chelsea

From the grand portico of the Royal Exchange, next to Threadneedle Street  where Thomas More went to school, the now largely traffic-free Bank Junction could be savoured. Planners have been busy. Weekday traffic limitations were introduced 22nd May 2017, part of an eighteen month safety-led experiment and one enhancing the pedestrian experience and amenity. Across the junction on the 26th April 2017 a hotel and restaurant opened in the former Midland Bank. Its name ‘Ned’ alludes to Edwin Lutyens the architect. Meanwhile deep below £563m of works are in progress to transform the underground station.

Bank Conservation Area was the first and is today the largest in the City of London. A former President of the RTPI Michael Welbank MBE was until recently the Chief Commoner of the City and he continues to represent the area near the RTPI offices.

On the 27th July 1967 the Civic Amenities Act received Royal Assent. It was this that ushered in Conservation Areas. There are now around 10,000 in England and so the walk offered a timely opportunity to mark the 50th anniversary of yet another landmark in town planning heritage.


RTPI London in Milk Street, Thomas More’s birthplace

Lester Hillman

7th August 2017

Posted in Past Events, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Event Review: Young Planners Treasure Hunt 2017

Last Thursday saw approximately 60 planners descend onto the streets of Soho for the annual RTPI London Treasure Hunt. Starting at Graphic Bar, in Golden Square, the teams assembled and were given their instructions, “Don’t get lost. The answers are all google-able!”. Of in search of noses, pubs, theatres, jazz clubs and much more, the teams headed out in what was also a race against the clock.

The first stage of the tour was an easy warm-up: from Golden Square to Carnaby Street. From there, the route took the planners through the bustling streets of Soho, past Britain’s favourite dish, the Masala restaurant, and towards the enemy of King Cholera – the John Snow pub. Whilst the teams could have slipped off to catch a show at this point, their focus remained firmly on the task at hand and the hunt continued past Rainbow Chickens and Dodos to Be at One. The friendly face of Kirsty from sponsors KDH Associates was there to greet them and kindly provided Singapore Slings, Painkillers and other exotic drink options to fuel the teams to the finish. Now suitably refreshed, the fairy lights guided the treasure hunters back to Graphic Bar and with it the chance to have a drink and some food.

This was a great event with an excellent turnout. Thanks to those responsible for organising, to everyone who came along and made it a fun evening and, of course, to our sponsors, KDH Associates.

The night’s prize winners and a few photos are included below.


The winners, surprising themselves in doing so, were Jose Reis & Team. Unfortunately they made a quick entrance and we didn’t get a team photo!

Runners up: DCLG


Cocktail Challenge winners (who clearly know their alcohol): Deloitte


Wooden spoon prize winners: Planniversary (Again, they ran off before we got a photo!)


Teams managed to track down the noses.


Briefed and ready to go!


A full house at Graphic Bar for some food and a drink after the Treasure Hunt.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Event Review: RTPI London Football Tournament 2017

Last Friday, on a sunny evening, 14 teams from across the built environment profession arrived in Shoreditch to battle for the 2017 RTPI London football trophy!  Anticipation was high, and the teams were eager to get started.  Throughout the group stages it was clear that the teams were evenly matched.  With the supporters cheering their teams on, and other supporters from RB Kensington and Chelsea humourously jibing other teams, (as well as their own), the atmosphere was very enjoyable.

Following the group stages, the serious business of the knockout stages began.  Quod, tournament winners for the past two years, took on the tournaments sponsors, Indigo!  With no sentiment given to the sponsors, Quod were victorious and progressed to play Southwark in the semi finals.  On the other pitch, GVA took on and beat Savills, whilst  Carter Jonas narrowly lost to LITP.  Onto the semi’s and the tension was growing – Southwark ended Quod’s hopes of going for the hat-trick of titles and GVA beat LITP.  It was therefore a Southwark vs GVA final with top honours up for grabs.

In the plate round, the Kensington Queens beat Montague Evans and GL Hearn beat CBRE.  With Kensington in the Plate Final, the noise from the supporters rose a few notches, and was supported by running commentary by Powerleague (who should arguably rival Gary Linekar for pundit of the year!).  The Kensington Queens won the plate to rapturous applause and whooping from the supporting crowd.

IMG_1543So on to the final. The two teams, Southwark and GVA, emerged from the tunnel and the commentary team were in place. Time for kick off.  IMG_2939



It was a tense final that only ever had one team in front by a single goal, but it finished 2-2. The teams gathered for penalties.


It was tense, with the teams matching each other. That was until GVA missed their shot and Southwark scored!

After a quick shower, beer and burger – the presentations took place under a celebratory ‘beer- spray’ assisted by the RB Kensington and Chelsea supporters, who joyfully celebrated everyone’s win with the same cheerful disposition as their own.

So, all in all – a great night was had by all teams, supporters, organisers and sponsors!  Huge thanks, of course, go to Indigo who sponsored the tournament and made the event possible.

All the scores and fixtures – RTPI LONDON FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT 2017 FINAL

Photos below:

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Event Review: Layers of London

On 4 July, RTPI London ran an inter-professional event with the Chartered Institute for Archaeology (CIfA), kindly hosted by Jones Lang LaSalle on heritage, planning and development. This event focused on the heritage challenges and opportunities in London development projects and the benefits of considering heritage aspects at the outset of a project and consulting experts in heritage.

Tim Howard who is CIfA’s Senior Policy Advisor and is responsible for advising on the development of CIfA policy introduced and chaired the event. He outlined the potential challenges in managing heritage assets, particularly a lack of resources to deal with complex applications, deregulation and site designations that do not adequately consider any potential archaeological remains. He stressed the need for these issues to be considered at the outset of a development project and recommended caveats are attached to prevent any important historic resources from being lost.

Our first speaker for the evening was David McDonald who is a heritage consultant and is President of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC). He was previously the Conservation and Design Team Leader at the Royal Borough Kensington (RBKC) where he worked for over twenty years. David spoke about the harmful loss of non-designated heritage assets, which have significance (such as being associated with a historic figurehead) and/or character (where a building forms part of the quality of a place), making specific reference to some pub appeals he was successful in winning whilst working at RBKC. He also touched on the difference between the obligations within the NPPF and the statutory tests contained within the legislation, he said it is important for practitioners to consider the requirements of both when dealing with an application involving heritage assets.

The second speaker was Sandy Kidd who is principal archaeologist at the Greater London Archaeological Advisory Service at Historic England. Sandy outlined the special challenges of working within London where a substantial proportion of land is or archaeological interest.  He stressed the importance of engaging communities in heritage, as an example by opening up sites of interest to members of the public during the construction period. He said this had been particularly successful at the Curtain Theatre site in London where the archaeological remains form a key component of the identity and offering of this development site.

Our third speaker of the evening was Josie Murray, heritage consultant for High Speed One, who and has been closely involved in the redevelopment of St Pancras International Station. Josie said that the heritage significance of this station was instrumental in delivering a rail station of international importance. She discussed the complex legislation that governed the re-development of this station, which include the 1996 Channel Tunnel Rail Link Act. She said continuous collaborative working with Camden Council has been essential in delivering this project in a timely manner and highlighted the benefits of engaging key stakeholders early on in the process.

The final speaker from the evening was Janet Miller, ‎CEO of the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA). Janet highlighted how heritage assets can enrich place design and add identity and value. She discussed some of the ways that MOLA has been engaging and inciting interest in heritage assets within communities which include a ‘time truck’ and recruiting local volunteers. She said that heritage assets need not be viewed as a defining constraint and can be used positively in a proposal, as an example at Guildhall, London where the archaeology is reflected in the surface treatment and forms part of the streetscape.

Drinks, nibbles and networking provided by our host followed the talks. RTPI London and CIfA would like to thank JLL for sponsoring this event.

Sponsored by:


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

RTPI London Event Review: Planning for the Smarter City – Seminar One

On the 17th of May 2017 we kicked off our ‘Planning for the Smarter City’ series with our first seminar, on Planning, Technology and Innovation, kindly hosted by Space Syntax.

The series as a whole will look into the evolution of what we today call ‘smart cities’ and will explore the impact that advancements in technology, data and digital services has had on our industry. We will hear from a wide range of speakers over the course of the season, from academics to practitioners and from start-ups to corporate companies and from public to private sector.

The first seminar covered digital services and engagement; exploring how technology has given birth to new techniques and methodologies that are revolutionising our relationship with the built environment.

Our first speaker of the evening was Tim Stonor from Space Syntax, who is also a trustee of Design Council Cabe. Space Syntax analyses the science of human behaviour and uses this methodology to improve, extend and create places that optimise the movement of people. Tim gave an overview of the work Space Syntax have been involved in which notably includes the redevelopment of Trafalgar Square including a major new staircase and the removal of a listed wall that they made a compelling case for.

Daniel Mohammed CEO of Urban Intelligence developed a desktop GIS-based software that created a one-stop-shop for planning policy. The program his team developed, named ‘Howard’ after Ebeneezer Howard, creating a simplified search engine for planning policy to enable practitioners to quickly understand site constraints and parameters. The team are continuing to explore the use of this technology to revolutionise the way we research sites.

Michelle Warbis (who has recently made the move from the GLA to Future Cities Catapult) is a leading community engagement specialist, her research and work covers public participation. She spoke about the ways we can use technology and smartphones to engage with local communities and spark interest in the planning system. This included a ‘Tinder’ for development ideas and a video game that made planning fun for younger members of the community.

The presentations were followed by a discussion on how we can embrace science and technology in order to work smarter and more efficiently. The event was well attended by over 40 people across a range of built environment disciplines and was followed by drinks, nibbles and networking, kindly provided by the host.

The next Planning for the Smarter City event will be held on the 24th of July 2017 and is being hosted by ARUP. Our second seminar will further investigate the use of data and how we are currently using this to design smarter cities. Our speaker line-up includes, ARUP, TfL and the GLA (see our events page for more details). We look forward to welcoming you to future seminars and hope you will get involved in current discussions and debates on this topic.

Sponsored by:

Space Syntax Logo

Seminar two takes place on Monday 24 July!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

RTPI London Summer Social – 17 August 2017

Did you know, RTPI London, with deverellsmith, have just organised THE BEST evening of networking, fun and laughter!  All taking place on the Battersea Barge, the boat is ours for the whole evening!

The evening includes:

  • The most wonderful views for sun-downers
  • Complimentary drinks (bar open thereafter)
  • Raffles, prizes and competitions (should you wish to take part)

RTPI London Summer Social

Book your place now – we have a limited number of tickets so don’t miss out!

There will be a small fee of £5 – which deverellsmith would like to donate to the families of Greenfell Towers.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thomas Moore Tour: 500 Years of Masterplanning – 7 August 2017

Guided Walk with Lester Hillman 

This year marks 500 years of the publication of ‘Utopia’. In twelve pages of his book famous Londoner Thomas Moore set out his blueprint for an ideal town plan.

Guided by Lester Hillman a retired member, former Visiting Professor, accredited guide and World Town Planning Day leader the colourful dramas and personalities will be explored in a walk concluding at Guildhall. In the aftermath of the Great Fire 1666 (the theme for walks last year) More’s blueprints were influencing the masterplanning of London exactly 350 years ago. The walk will also  celebrate the 70th anniversary of the 1947 Act and 50 years of Conservation Areas.


  • 10.30 – The David Fryer Room for a short introduction
  • 11.00 – Depart from RTPI Botolph Lane
  • 13.00 – Tour ends

RTPI London is very grateful for facilities made available by RTPI Botolph Lane.

Booking line is open

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Planning in the Park – 3 August 2017

RTPI London and Osborne Richardson would like to invite you to ‘Planning in the Regents parkPark 2017’ on Thursday 3rd of August from 5pm onwards, for a chilled summer event, involving plenty of free drinks & food, music and networking.

ThPlanning in the park flyere event will take place in Regents Park, with the exact location to be emailed closer to the time. Please note, should bad weather be forecasted, then we will look to move the event to the following Thursday.

Free tickets are available on the RTPI London website

We look forward to seeing you there!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

RTPI London Event Review: Nine Elms Construction Logistics

On the 21st June, a delegation of 30 planners visited Nine Elms to explore the work that is ongoing around managing construction logistics in the Opportunity Area. Commencing with a talk at Battersea Power Station’s The View, the event explored the strategies that have been implemented and some of the opportunities and challenges of multiple sites and projects coming forward together. Andrew Dorrian, reviewed the scale of the challenge and some of the issues being grappled with in the area. This includes congestion, managing hotspots and improving conditions for pedestrians and vulnerable road users. Andrew further introduced some of the planned measures which have been implemented including a CLP coordination function, road safety schemes, signage and booking systems. Help is available from TfL in the shape of the revised Construction Logistics Guidance and a free training course. For more information please email freight@tfl,gov.uk.

Nick Rabin (Infrastructure Project Director at Battersea), introduced the enormous Battersea project and the strategy for managing multiple contractors across the scheme, maintaining their access as well as catering for new residents moving in as the project develops. It was clear that the strategy has been based on ongoing collaboration with stakeholders including the council surrounding developers and TfL. Their current focus is on commencing muck away by barge after finding innovative solutions to get this muck to the river, working closely with contractors and hauliers to instil best practice around road safety and efficiencies and constant reviews of performance. Good communication on planned works that could be noisy occurs in order to make sure residents and surrounding projects are aware which helps reduce complaints.

Sam Emmett (Project Manager, Wandsworth Council), focused in on the utilities strategy and close working between development partners and utility providers to deliver the utilities the area needs as governed by the utilities strategy. Significant achievements include the utilities corridor which will run through Nine Elms Park, relieving pressure on Nine Elms Lane and sharing utilities trenches. Delivering the construction coordination strategy and utilities plans has been made possible through the establishment of a Developer Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) which provides funding for these tasks.

Focused on collaboration, the tour visited Riverlight where Nick Trollope (Operations Director, St James) gave his experience of resident views of living in the middle of a construction site. Nick noted that for St James one of the biggest challenges post build is the management of .com deliveries. The scheme  is reacting by building a larger post room to handle deliveries.

Finishing on a new section of the Thames Path the tour concluded by looking at the construction of the US Embassy and Covent garden Market. The traffic was horrendous largely as a result of the road closures for the Queen’s speech so it was perfect to demonstrate some of the problems we are battling with.

Thank you to Battersea Power Station for hosting us and to our speakers. All slides are available online.

Andrew Dorrian (RTPI London immediate past chair and Principal Planner at TfL)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

RTPI London Football Tournament 2017!

The RTPI London Football Tournament, sponsored by Indigo, is taking place on the 21 July 2017.

This is a super fun annual tournament which you need to be involved in!  Last year’s winners were Quod were defending their title from the previous year… Will there be a change at the top???  Come, play and have fun!

All you need to do is to email Lucy Barton to book your team, or enquire for more details.

To play in the tournament, you’ll need one squad of seven players per organisation, who work or are seeking work in planning or a related built environment profession, such as architecture, surveying, GIS or development economics. At least three players in each squad should be members of RTPI London.

Each squad should include at least two female players.

Entry into the tournament is on a first come first serve basis because places are limited. The closing date is 14 July 2016. This is a free event but a charge of £100 will be payable by each squad in the case of the team dropping out after 15 July 2016.

Here are the results from last years compition.

Sponsored by:


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment