Mike has shaped Plymouth's development for four decades
ONE of the most memorable moments in Plymouth's development over the past four decades was the 1987 pedestrianisation of the city centre, says town planning expert Mike Palmer.
Mr Palmer, pictured far right, one of the backroom staff who guided Plymouth's development over the past four decades, is retiring this month.
"Things that stand out in my mind are the first day traffic was removed from the city centre," he said. "It was so quiet."
Mr Palmer said the sight of the city's skyline being filled with construction cranes also gave him pleasure because it meant that Plymouth was really changing."
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Council leaders paid tribute to Mr Palmer, Plymouth City Council spatial planning manager, who was the main author of the blueprint for city development, the 2006 core strategy.
Cllr Tudor Evans told Mr Palmer: "We couldn't have done it without you."
Speaking at this week's Cabinet meeting Cllr Brian Vincent, the Cabinet member for environment and a keen bird-watcher, said Mr Palmer was "very calm, the kind of person I would like to have on a bird-watching trip".
He said: "Mike has worked on some of the biggest strategic issues facing Plymouth over the last four decades including the 1987, 1996 and 2001 local plans.
"He played a key role on behalf of Plymouth in the preparation of the Regional Spatial Strategy for the South West.
"Perhaps one of Mike's greatest achievements was being the main author of the LDF Core Strategy.
"This was the first adopted core strategy for a major English city and embedded the David Mackay vision into the statutory planning framework.
"Mike has also played a key managerial role overseeing the programme of area action plans which have guided the delivery of numerous regeneration projects that we now see on the ground.
"I would like to sincerely thank Mike for his commitment and dedication and the enormous contribution he has made to planning in Plymouth. I'd also like to wish him all the best for his retirement."
Mr Palmer said: "I have been with the council for just over 39 years and while it has been an interesting ride at times, I wouldn't have missed it for the world.
"I take away some very fond memories of watching the city change.
"Planning is a long-term process, but having been here for nearly 40 years I have seen the plans come to fruition.
"One of the most personally rewarding schemes I have been involved in was the urban programme. It helped a lot of people, as well as creating some memorable landmarks. I'm sure people have seen the 'Prawn' sculpture on the Barbican.
"I have always worked as part of the planning team and we helped put Plymouth on the national planning map with our local development framework, beating off competition for the Royal Town Planning Institute Silver Jubilee Cup from the likes of the Olympics Stadium bid.
"The results of this work are now being delivered with developments like Millbay and Devonport."