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Power to the people - the neighbourhood planning revolution

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Localism, community rights and social action are now a regular feature of political and policy debate. This seminar will explore what they mean and the role of neighbourhood planning in bringing power to the people. With over 1,700 communities already using the “right to plan” it is proving positively disruptive to established professional and political processes. The seminar will explore the growth of neighbourhood planning since it was created in 2011, how it is being used and the barriers and opportunities it faces.


Tony Burton has over twenty five years’ experience on the Boards of national charities. He has a strong track record in strategy, campaigning and external affairs for conservation, community, regeneration, planning and the environment.

Tony is working freelance on a wide range of community and environmental projects, including as one of the country’s leading neighbourhood planners. He was closely involved in the development of neighbourhood planning, provides training and is the author of two guides and has worked with over 20 community groups and parish councils preparing neighbourhood plans.

Tony is a member of HS2 ’s independent Design Panel which he also set up. He is the Executive Chair of Sustainable Homes (which supports a network of housing associations with over one million homes) and is a sustainability adviser to Tarmac.

Tony founded Civic Voice – the national charity for the civic movement – in 2010 and prior to this he was the National Trust’s Director of Strategy and External Affairs for 8 years. He moved to this role after 13 years with the Campaign to Protect Rural England which he left as Deputy Director. He was Director of Policy and Communications at the Design Council before going freelance in September 2012.

Tony is a member of the UK Board of the Big Lottery Fund (& chairs its Audit and Risk Committee), trustee of Friends of the Earth and TCV (Trust for Conservation Volunteers) and on the Council of the National Infrastructure Planning Association. He was recently included in the Top 100 Planning power list.

Tony has been Chair of Wildlife and Countryside Link and was a founder trustee of Heritage Link – the two main voluntary sector liaison bodies for the natural and historic environment – and was a member of Richard Rogers’ Urban Task Force. Tony is a Cambridge geographer, town planner and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He was awarded a CBE in the Jubilee Honours in 2012.

This talk is part of the Land Economy Departmental Seminar Series series.

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