UWE Planning course celebrates 21st birthday

Issue date: 30 March 2006

21st Key The Faculty of the Built Environment at the University of the West of England will celebrate the 21st birthday of its Joint Distance Learning MA in Town and Country Planning programme at a special event at Clifton Hill House, Bristol, on 31 March 2006.

As the largest planning programme in the UK and the only accredited professional town planning distance learning programme in the world the JDLMA has proved extremely popular. There are currently around 250 students studying on the three year course. Over the past 21 years, some 500 plus students have passed through the programme and obtained planning qualifications. Over the years the intake has grown from around 12 students in 1985 to 75 in 2006.

John Allinson, Course Director, said, “For a professional programme to run successfully for 21 years is a real cause for celebration! This JDLMA is unique in that it is operated by a Consortium of four planning schools (UWE, Leeds Metropolitan, Dundee and London South Bank) and The Open University.

“Tutorials, material delivery and development and assessment are divided between the institutions, with UWE Bristol filling the role of managing partner. It is based on written materials, supplemented by residential sessions and study days. Recent developments include the installation of a web-based "front end" to the programme, which allows students to engage more fully with the materials and each other, and increasing coverage of new planning agendas such as implementation, the development process and the challenge of achieving sustainability.”

“We are delighted to have, at the celebration on 31 March, the prime movers behind the scheme in its early days including Barry Hutton, ex-head of department of planning at Bristol Polytechnic; ex-RTPI President Cliff Hague, who sat on the RTPI panel that awarded the initial contract; and Geoff Walker, the first Course Manager. Those who developed the course over the years will also be represented, including Peter Fidler, ex-Dean of the Faculty of the Built Environment, and Tony Hathway, Course Director from 1997 to 2004.”

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