Young hopefuls

Four candidates have been shortlisted for the title of RTPI Young Planner of the year and the polls are now open.

(l-r) JamesBompas, Lucie Taylor, Sarah Foster, Zoe McClelland
(l-r) JamesBompas, Lucie Taylor, Sarah Foster, Zoe McClelland

Voting is now under way for the RTPI Young Planner of the Year 2010, sponsored by the Planning Advisory Service.

The winner, to be announced at the RTPI Planning Awards in February, will win expenses-paid trips to next year's American Planning Association national conference in Boston and Planning Summer School in Swansea.

James BompasJames Bompas has been a planner at Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation since 2005. He has also held voluntary positions at Planning Aid, CPR Regeneration and the Association of Town Centre Management and currently chairs the RTPI London region.

His work has covered development management and strategic planning. He has been responsible for policy documents paving the way for more than 18,500 homes and 26,000 jobs by 2021.

He has also project managed strategic applications including the Tilbury Point distribution park, a higher learning campus in Grays and a major housing scheme at Stanford-le-Hope.

At RTPI London, Bompas has organised seminars, tours and networking events and is accountable for the region's budget and business plan. "I will challenge those who overlook the institute and show that we deserve a seat at the table when debating the profession," he promises.

Sarah FosterSarah Foster leads a team of four development management officers at the Peak District National Park. She started her career as a geography teacher and subsequently worked with consultancy Austin-Smith:Lord, Manchester City Council and Turley Associates before landing her "dream job" last autumn.

She uses her private sector experience to ensure efficiency, her communication skills to engage with applicants, stakeholders and the public and her design background to ensure that all approvals provide the best possible outcomes for park communities and landscapes.

A founding member of the Young Planners Network steering group, Foster became one of the youngest ever chairs of the RTPI North West in 2008 and has designed and delivered a series of Planning Aid workshops to community groups. "I would build on this experience to present to organisations who want to understand more about the profession," she explains.

Zoe McClellandZoe McClelland worked on assessing the environmental and social impacts of the oil and gas industry with Cairns Ltd in Kazakhstan before studying planning. As a senior planning consultant at URS Scott Wilson, her main experience has centred on managing large infrastructure projects.

She has provided support at a number of public inquiries and has been involved in a range of community consultation exercises. She has experience preparing development briefs for large mixed-use settlements. Design work and developing and promoting best practice are among her other enthusiasms.

McClelland has close links with the Scottish Government, Scotland's planning schools and Planning Aid for Scotland and has volunteered for environmental charities. As chair of the Scottish Young Planners Network next year, her aim will be to "support students and graduates through networking and training and by highlighting contemporary issues to decision-makers".

Lucie TaylorLucie Taylor has a key role in co-ordinating community involvement in her role as planning policy liaison officer at Newport City Council. Her job entails pulling together links between council departments and ensuring that as many people as possible are engaged in the local development plan process.

After a career in consultancy and local government planning, Taylor worked as case manager and interim manager at Planning Aid Wales. She produced advice notes, organised consultation events and made presentations to hundreds of officers at planning authorities across Wales.

Taylor is currently chair of RTPI Cymru and deputy chair of Planning Aid Wales. "The starting point for achieving good planning is to learn about the existing community that you are planning for; its culture, its history, its demographics and how people would like to see their surroundings improved," she says.

For further details of the candidates and online voting instructions, please visit

Voting arrangements

Each corporate, associate, technical, legal, licentiate or student member of the RTPI has one vote. You will need to enter your RTPI membership number to register your vote.

The poll closes at 5pm on Tuesday 4 January 2011.

Online voting

You are recommended to vote online via the RTPI website. Voting instructions are available at

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