The South West Regional Planning Conference 1990 to 2001
South West Regional Planning Conference Administration
Conference was established, along with equivalents in other standard regions by the Conservative administration in the late 1980s; this pre-dated the establishment of Government Offices for the regions which occurred in 1992. From its inception Conference had the role of providing advice to the Secretary of State on regional planning matters. The establishment of the GO for the region provided greater impetus and support for the local authorities to prepare the first formal advice.
Conference was made up initially of elected representatives from the 7 County Councils of the South West region; Avon, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire, with some District involvement. Following Local Government Review in 1995/96 the 9 new Unitary authorities (plus IoS); Bath & NE Somerset, Bournemouth, Bristol, North Somerset, Plymouth, Poole, South Gloucestershire, Swindon and Torbay joined the remaining 6 Counties as members of Conference. Throughout its operation, Conference met at Shire Hall in Taunton. Early chairs of Conference were Cllr Lt Cmdr Maurice Ingram of Somerset CC, Cllr Vice Admiral Gwyn Pritchard of Dorset CC (who oversaw preparation of the first advice to the Secretary of State) and Cllr Doris Ansari of Cornwall County Council. Following LGR, the chair was taken by a Unitary representative, Cllr Pat Hockey of South Gloucestershire Council
Secretariat support to the Conference was provided by Somerset CC via the Chief Executives, Brian Tanner and David Radford, supported by Sue Watts and Viv James. This arrangement lasted until 2000 when responsibility passed to the newly established combined secretariat based on the SW Employers organisation at Dennett House in Taunton.
In the period from 1998, and the run up to merger with the Chamber, the Conference was chaired by Cllr Derek Spear of Devon CC followed by Cllr Humphrey Temperley of Somerset CC. Following convention that the political and technical support should be led by the same Council, in this latter period of Conference activity the Technical Officer Group, which involved all strategic authorities and some District officers, various agencies and stakeholders, was chaired respectively by Edward Chorlton Environment Director with Devon CC and Peter Brown Assistant Chief Executive with Somerset CC. More detail here.
Conference in 2000
This new arrangement was the immediate pre-cursor to the South West Regional Assembly. Most published materials survive from the SWRPC work but unfortunately the records of their meetings have not been retained other than some sub group meetings from the late 1990s early 2000s.
The link below is to some of the business planning documents prepared for Conference in the late 1990s