Northern Powerhouse offers ‘unique opportunity’

Prime Minister David Cameron (centre) and Chancellor George Osborne (2nd right) during a tour of the Heysham to M6 link road construction site near Morecambe during General Election campaigning. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 1, 2015. See PA story ELECTION Tories. Photo credit should read: Chris Radburn/PA Wire
Prime Minister David Cameron (centre) and Chancellor George Osborne (2nd right) during a tour of the Heysham to M6 link road construction site near Morecambe during General Election campaigning. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 1, 2015. See PA story ELECTION Tories. Photo credit should read: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Leaders in the North are being called upon to shape the future of the region’s economy by contributing to the development of a “Great North Plan”, capable of delivering a Northern Powerhouse.

The collaboration between IPPR North and the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) is inviting businesses, planners, academics, local councils, civil society groups – and anyone living or working in the region – to share their thoughts about whether we need a Great North Plan and their ideas about what it should look like.

The call for evidence is in line with the strategic spatial plan for Scotland, which has been developed in recent years and addresses how the Scottish economy can become more resilient, sustainable and connected.

The consultation is in response to the perceived need for a new form of spatial framework for the North of England, which could deliver infrastructure beyond transport and cover assets including innovation, skills and higher education.

The scope of the work is to explore the opportunities for the region’s infrastructure, planning and economic development.

Ed Cox, Director at IPPR North, said: “The north of England needs infrastructure projects capable of genuinely transforming the northern economy as it makes the journey from an industrial past to a more connected future.

“Investing in infrastructure is essential to competing in the global economy and driving economic growth.

“The Government’s focus on the Northern Powerhouse means the region has a unique opportunity to shape its destiny and tip the balance in the North’s favour. Our partnership with the RTPI will help influence this thinking and we would urge the best and brightest minds to put their proposals forward.”

The work will seek to answer questions including what should be the nature and scope of a strategic spatial planning framework for the north of England?

This means exploring what the key components of a plan should include, looking at issues such as land-use, energy, transport, water and population. Other questions include: What geography should the plan cover and how could it fit into the plans of local authorities? What might be the process and timetable for the development of such a framework? For example, how long would it take to develop a Great North Plan, how would it be funded and how should it be branded and promoted?

Evidence can be submitted via the Great North Plan website and using #GreatNorthPlan on Twitter: http://www.greatnorthplan.com/

The call for evidence is open until September 30 2015.

Submissions of no more than 5,000 words can be made in writing and sent to infrastructure@ippr.org.

Bob Wolfe, from RTPI and Chair of the Northern Summit Project Board, said: “The Northern Powerhouse offers immense opportunities for communities to work together and think beyond their own boundaries to create the housing, transport, infrastructure and environment that will benefit the whole of the North of the England.

“We have a once in a lifetime chance to get it right and this debate, culminating in a Northern Summit, will be crucial in setting the ideas and thinking in motion.”