Young Planner of the Year
This award seeks out the brightest RTPI members in the early stages of their careers. Potential candidates can work in any area of the industry. We are looking for outstanding Young Planners who can demonstrate a contribution to planning or significant career achievements in recent years.
Through a broad range of general practice work, Nia has shown a real flair for creative solutions from farm diversification schemes to listed barn conversions, including a reputation as the go-to planner for dog exercise areas. She has a passion for professional development, is self-taught in the Welsh planning system and has demonstrated a real tenacity for business development across Cheshire and North Wales. Through the RTPI and the NFU, she is using her platform to inspire young planners and engage the agricultural industry in the vital role planning plays in the future of farming and land development.
The judges commented:
The judges are delighted to announce Nia as the North West’s Young Planner of the Year. Nia is a unique candidate, specialising almost exclusively in rural planning, and is clearly a great advocate for the North West’s farming community.
Her understanding of planning policy is clearly advanced, which she demonstrated through permissions she secured for numerous schemes including barn conversions and dog exercise areas. These could not have been achieved without successfully navigating complex policy restrictions including the UNESCO Jodrell Bank Telescope Zone and Green Belt. The judges were impressed by Nia’s commitment to professional development. Based in Chester, Nia has clients in Wales and has quickly become Fisher German’s specialist in Welsh Planning policy/regulation. She is even learning advanced Welsh during her spare time.
Above all however, the judges felt that Nia was an exemplar role model for other young professionals. It is this area in particular which ultimately saw her excel above the other candidates. Nia clearly feels passionate about the farming community and improving the relationship between farmers and planners. This shone through during her interview. It is no surprise therefore that Nia is clearly respected within the farming community, chairing Betws Yn Rhos Young Farmers and being Clwyd County Representative for the National Young Farmers. She was also selected by the National Farmers Union to one of only 11 NFU Young Ambassadors and the only planner. The judges were delighted to hear how Nia was raising the profile of the RTPI through her voluntary work with these organisations.
An exceptional North West Young Planner of the Year, and we wish Nia the very best of luck at the national awards.
Since joining Hyas in the summer of 2020, from a Graduate role at Arup, Dani's intelligence, enthusiasm, organisation and commitment to both placemaking and supporting her colleagues has seen her progress from Consultant to Senior. She plays an integral role in helping Hyas grow as a business and is a much valued and respected key member of the company. Her exceptional role in leading the production of a Strategic Design Guide SPD for St Cuthbert's Garden Village, saw her expertly manage a multi-disciplinary team in undertaking a comprehensive, innovative and collaborative process, resulting in an RTPI Commendation.
The judges commented:
Danielle through her presentation and submission has demonstrated her enthusiasm and commitment to placemaking. She comes across as a dedicated, hardworking planner who leads by example. The enthusiasm demonstrated through the submission is reflected by moving into a new region, leading on projects from the outset, and taking on additional duties outside of her role for charitable causes representing Hyas Associates. She has demonstrated her excellent knowledge base in delivering complex schemes through the planning system including leading on the St Cuthbert’s Garden Village Design SPD, for which the scheme was previously awarded a commendation in the RTPI NW 2021 awards.
The presentation delivered by Danielle detailed how she actively advocates planning through engagement with Universities and expanding this further by detailing her active participation in the RTPI North West network. Danielle has also represented planning at a wider level through her participation at the European Council of Town Planning Conference.
We have decided to award Danielle a Commendation for the RTPI NW Young Planner of the Year 2022 category. She has on many accounts demonstrated her skills, knowledge and commitment to planning whilst outlining how she continues to be a great champion for other Young Planners in our region and uses every opportunity as a platform to raise the profile of planning more generally. We look forward to seeing Danielle progress even further in future years.
Ben has worked in Private Consultancy for 8 years and has been a chartered member of the RTPI for 2 years. Throughout his career Ben has utilised his understanding of planning policy to bring forward complex diversification projects and Green Belt development.
Ben has progressed to focussing on the development of specialist retirement accommodation, both in rural and urban settings. Away from work Ben is a keen planning advocate, having appeared as a regular part of the Planning in Practice module at the University of Liverpool, also presenting at a local High School and professional events promoting the Planning Profession.
The judges commented:
The judges thoroughly enjoyed meeting Ben and hearing about his career to date. In his eight years of planning, he has clearly achieved so much; with significant experience of planning across a range and scale of projects and sectors; urban, rural, heritage, housing, education and employment. Ben demonstrates leadership skills in the delivery of his schemes and it is clear he also able to work successfully as part of a team including with academics at Liverpool University, colleagues, design teams and stakeholders.
Ben’s submission demonstrates he has a clear passion for policy and legislation. His commitment to attending and delivering CPD sessions and keeping abreast of developments in planning law and legislation demonstrates a high level of professional and personal development. His understanding of planning policy is demonstrated through dealing with a breadth of schemes including greenbelt development focusing on agricultural diversification. However, the judges thought that Ben’s submission and presentation could have been strengthened by explaining more about how he has applied planning policy and legislation within some of his projects to overcome particularly challenging planning issues or strategies.
Ben’s commitment to promote the planning profession to high school and university students is to be commended. He is a recognised role model and clearly dedicates a lot of his spare time supporting the profession and development of others. He actively seeks opportunities to raise the profile of planners more generally through his involvement with various Chester based professional groups and associations.
This was a particularly tough category to judge and overall, the judges considered that Ben’s submission was of a very high standard. Ben’s enthusiasm and originality is evident not only from the variety of schemes he has been involved in but the additional work he undertakes to promote planning in educational and professional settings. Ben is an aspiring young planner and serves as an asset to the profession of planning and a credit to the RTPI advocating the vocation and its importance on multiple levels.
Ben truly deserved to be awarded a Commendation for the RTPI NW Young Planner of the Year 2022 category, and we look forward to seeing him progress even further in future years.