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The Planners Say “No” and an Inspector Calls: Public Inquiries and the Implementation of Planning Policy

10 January, 2022 @ 7:30 pm 9:00 pm

Alexander Johnston BSc (Econ) Dip TP MRTPI (rtd)

Former Chief Planner Leicestershire County Council


The talk is titled “the Planners say NO and an Inspector calls: Public Inquiries and the implementation of planning policy”. After an outline of the planning/public inquiry process three inquiries of National significance are considered: a regional out-of-town shopping centre (Centre 21), the dismissal of which provided the context for the subsequent regeneration of Leicester City Centre; a large housing development proposal which when dismissed provided the impetus to save and restore an historic garden and its adjoining Parkland (Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens); and the dismissal of a superstore proposal which paved the way for the development of a science park (Loughborough Science Park).

Finally, Alan draws conclusions on the importance of and conduct at Public Inquiries.

Alexander Johnston

Alexander Johnston, known as Alan, attended the Belfast High School and Queen’s University Belfast.  He read Economics and Economic History at Queen’s followed by Town and County Planning at the Edinburgh College of Art.

Alan then worked as a town planner in the Scottish Development Department and Edinburgh City Council before moving to the West Midlands.  On reorganisation of Local Government he moved to Leicestershire and became Chief County Planning Officer with responsibility for planning, economic development, a training agency and waste regulation.  When he retired from the County Council he took up a consultancy with the East Midland Airport, where he helped to prepare the Airport Master Plan and chaired the Airport’s Strategic Development and the Ground Transport Forums.  Alan was responsible for the preparation of the Airport’s Noise Action Plan, which was required by the EU. He also represented the Airport at Public Inquiries and Examinations-in-Public.

Alan has been an expert witness at 10 public inquiries one of which considered 8 development proposals and has participated in several Examinations in public.  He has had a number of articles published on planning, economic development, housing and related matters.

How to attend the lecture

This meeting will only be available on Zoom; it will not be held at the Leicester Museum and Art Gallery.  

Members of the Leicester Lit&Phil

Members of the Society will receive an email by 3rd January giving details of how to attend using Zoom.


Those who are not members of the Society can book Zoom tickets for £5 (or £3 for students) using EventBrite: