Town Planning Review

Europe and the future of planning

Town Planning Review (1993), 64, (3), 235


TPR, 64 (3) 1993 H. W. E. DAVIES Europe and the future of planning" 1 Town and country planning in Britain faces three major challenges following completion of the Single European Market and signing of the Maastricht Treaty on European Union. The first will be the new geography of development with the removal of non-tariff boundaries and the continuing priority by the European Commission for the reduction in regional inequalities within the European Community. The second is the legislative changes that may come about as a consequence of the Community, especially those affecting the environment. The third challenge is the likely consequences of the first two for the planning system and profession in Britain. It is a great honour for me to be invited to give the fourth Abercrombie Lecture, here in Liverpool where Sir Patrick Abercrombie started his career and was for many years Lever Professor of Civic Design in the University. I write this lecture with, in front of me, the view from my window of the River Thames. It was here, sixty-four years ago, that Patrick Abercrombie, with the first Lever Professor of Civic Design, Stanley Adshead, prepared one of his earliest planning reports, on The Thames Valley from Cricklade to Staines. 2 The report was prepared at the request of the Thames Valley branch of the Council for the Preservation of Rural England. Abercrombie himself had been a co-founder of the Council in 1926. The main object of their report was to consider 'the means by which the beauty of the Thames Valley may be preserved for enjoyment from a national point of view'. Much of what they sought to preserve has been retained. The riverside road, passing my flat and on through the Goring Gap, still carries a heavy load of traffic, but now the M4 takes much of the heaviest goods traffic. The north bank of the river is largely as it was in Abercrombie's time. But, as he foresaw, Reading was extending upstream to Tilehurst and indeed by now has spread beyond, to Pangbourne. Much of that success of course is attributable to the actions of planners, working under the 1947Town and Country Planning Act and its successors. For a glance at the Berkshire Regional Planning Survey of 1930 would demonstrate that the earlier planning acts lacked the powers to control development in ways that were necessary to preserve the beauties of the Thames Valley? • This is the revised text of a paper first given by the author as the Fourth Abercrombie Lecture in the University of Liverpool. 1 April 1993. 235 Copyright © 2010 ProQuest LLC. All rights reserved. Copyright © Liverpool University Press.

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Author details

Davies, H. W. E.