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Northern Powerhouse faces 'scrap' without long-term plan

The Northern Powerhouse will fail unless the North of England develops a long-term plan to encourage investment into the region, two influential groups have warned.

The Royal Town Planning Institute and think tank IPPR North said the Northern Powerhouse risked being “consigned to the scrapbook of history” unless there is a 35-year business-led plan from the “from the north, for the north”.

“There is a sense of unease about the concept of the Northern Powerhouse – not that it isn’t an excellent idea – that, unless it is properly owned and directed by and for the north, it risks ultimately going the way of many past government programmes: consigned to the scrapbook of history,” the two bodies said.

They have issued a blueprint (see attached PDF, below) of how a plan could be created, which would focus on the region’s economic strengths – the economy, transport and energy.

The plan would cover the North-west, North-east and Yorkshire and the Humber regions.

RTPI Yorkshire region chair Phil Crabtree said: “The blueprint shows how planning can play a vital role in fostering the vision, collaboration and flexibility necessary to deliver the economic, social, technological and environmental benefits across the whole of the North of England.

“Local authorities in particular need to use their combined local planning, economic development and regeneration powers to guide private sector investment and to lead the process of change.”

IPPR North director Ed Cox said the region had “some real competitive advantages,” but he added: “We need a business-led plan from the north, for the north, to tie these together.”

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