Celebrating International Town Planning Day

Celebrating International Town Planning Day

Today is International Planning Day when planners and communities all over the world come together to celebrate how good planning improves lives.

Town Planning is a wonderful profession! It has interested me since I was a child! Back in the 1980s, I grew up in Dudley, the heart of the Black Country, in the West Midlands. There, my roots and curiosity in town planning were established. I witnessed the significant impact which the redevelopment of the Round Oak Steel Works, Brierley Hill had on my small local town and market high street. The Merry Hill Shopping Centre redevelopment project, formed part of one of the Government’s first Redevelopment Enterprise Zones.

At the young age of 10, I questioned and considered what were the social, environmental and economical causes and effects that this massive redevelopment had on my town, my neighbourhood and my community. When I was aged 16, I was lucky enough to undertake a work experience placement at Sandwell Council in West Bromwich where my interest was nurtured and I learnt how many different areas of planning there were. The variety, and the fact it was a job that can make a big difference to our community was what attracted me to this profession.  

Twenty years on, I now live in rural Wiltshire where I run two Independent Planning Companies. LP Planning and Planning Genie Ltd both provide support in different ways to land and property owners, helping them navigate the planning process. I know that my help and support helps improves lives and has a positive impact. It can be daunting when you don’t understand planning, the process, the jargon and the rules. I set up Planning Genie to try and help more people understand the process. I wanted to simplify it and give people easy instant access to help and guidance.

I am still curious about town and country planning. Every day I ponder over the ‘what, why, where and how’ type questions that town planning throws up. I am increasingly aware of how Town and Country Planning affects everyone in our communities. It is fantastic that my profession addresses such a variety of topics and issues. Every project is different.

I am privileged to work in a profession that after 20 years, I still love, and that I can make a difference to people’s lives. I encourage anyone who is curious to join our profession to find out about becoming a Town Planner and making a difference to your town, country and world!     

#WTPD #WorldTownPlanningDay2023

Charlotte Watkins – Director LP Planning Ltd and Planning Genie Ltd

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