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'Crumbling' planning profession must improve, says London's design director

London's new design director has labelled planning a 'crumbling' profession and called for an immediate improvement to the system.

Peter Bishop, who is currently director of culture and environment at Camden Council, but set to take up post of design director, also claimed that the entire planning system was dependent on temporary 'Antipodean' staff.

He delivered his stark message at a small practice conference which was held at the RIBA on 11 October.

His comments came after the UK planning system was called into question by one of the delegates, who claimed architects were battling against a system that was not up to its task.

Bishop said: 'There is no doubt planning is a crumbling profession. People do not see planning as an attractive profession any more, but they should.

Bishop continued with a warning that there is a shortage of planners in the industry and something needs to be done if the rot is to stop.

'We need a new generation of planners to come through, who will engage with architects,' he said.

There were also complaints that the planning profession, in London especially, was manned by 'Antipodeans who, by the time they have learned the area, have moved on again'.

Bishop said: 'Well, if they weren't there, there would be no one filling the planning positions at all.'

by Richard Vaughan

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