Presidential candidates lock horns

In the run-up to next month's election to decide who will become the institute's next junior vice-president, Peter Geraghty and Colin Haylock both take the opportunity to set out their essential campaign messages.

Peter Geraghty

I want an institute that is strong, responsive to members' needs and respected. Together, we can achieve this. Times are tough and planners face considerable pressures, which is why I supported the freeze on membership subscriptions for 2010. This is a time for a strong institute, delivering good-quality services in a focused way. Vote for me because I want to help bring this about.

I will ensure that the institute promotes the profession's interests by continuing its change agenda to meet future challenges and provide improved member services; continuing to improve the effectiveness of the executive board, general assembly and all parts of the institute, including the regions, nations and networks; fighting for planners' needs; and encouraging and supporting young professionals.

I am proud of the profession and what has been achieved in advancing spatial planning and the place-shaping agenda. The institute has adapted to meet new challenges, such as climate change. The RTPI has changed and I want to contribute to future change. I have the drive and commitment to do so.

The institute has been reviewing its organisational structure and refreshing the New Vision. As an executive board member, I have been able to contribute to that important work. While I was chairman of the membership and ethics committee, I worked with institute staff to develop a programme to thoroughly review membership categories and associated benefits, the career strategy and member services. I want to see this agenda through as junior vice-president.

My commitment to the institute and profession is long standing. I first became involved with the RTPI by joining the North West branch executive and later served as Planning Aid representative in London. In 2000, I was elected to the general assembly and subsequently to the executive board.

After beginning my career in the private sector, I worked for several local authorities and I know the issues and pressures planners face. My public and private sector experience will be valuable in the role of junior vice-president. I want to represent the interests of the whole profession and ensure that the excellent work being done by planners, such as Planning Aid, is recognised.

I believe that I can help to build a strong and respected institute and I ask for your support to achieve this key objective.

Colin Haylock

Whoever you elect now as junior vice-president will become president and the institute's public face in 2012, when the world will be watching London and a regeneration and legacy-based Olympics delivered through a recession.

I am a design and regeneration-based planner and architect. I have more than 20 years' regional, national and network service with the institute, 35 years of public and private sector experience and strong connections with government agencies. I hope this equips me particularly well to act as our public face in 2012. This is a great opportunity to showcase what planners can offer to the vision, development and delivery of major projects and to help more people "get" planning.

But for most people, planning is measured not by exceptional activity but by its performance in more day-to-day environments through our operation of development control and management and our generally lumbering local development framework (LDF) preparation. All the political parties and most senior politicians claim to respect and value planning and planners, but this is more for the potential rather than current practice. Building from the Killian-Pretty review, we need to secure a system that is truly sensitive and proportionate.

Working with the government and other agencies, we need to refine LDF processes to quickly and economically conclude documents that seriously tackle climate change, are visionary, robust and deliverable and blessed with extensive community ownership. Potential may be limited in current core strategies but it is considerable in area action plans and other documents. Our ever-strengthening Planning Aid services offer ways into this.

Reaching the more local and physical ends of the process presents opportunities to involve more sister professionals to enrich our community engagement. As a virtuous circle, this can increasingly unlock planners' rich expertise, allowing rediscovery of the often suppressed care for community and passion for place that prompted most of us to choose planning as a profession.

Demonstrating exceptional everyday performance is a timely and tough Olympic challenge, but one in which the institute's improving political influence and growing member engagement through Planning Aid, the regions, nations, networks and associations can help us succeed.

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