This is an archived press release
Monday 20 June 2011
Sarah Foster, a planning manager with the Peak District National Park Authority, has been voted national Young Planner of the Year by her fellow professionals in the Royal Town Planning Institute.
Sarah, 33, who lives in Cromford near Matlock, won the accolade mainly for her work in promoting the understanding of planning, including setting up a series of Planning Aid workshops to help individuals and communities across the north west.
“It’s very rewarding and humbling to have this kind of recognition from my peers,” said Sarah, who originates from Stretford, Manchester. “I’ve always endeavoured to promote the planning profession as widely as possible and to change outdated perceptions of planners and the planning system.”
Sarah joined the Peak District National Park Authority in 2009. She became a planner in 2001 after switching careers from being a geography teacher, and has worked both in private practice and for Manchester City Council.
She first became involved with the RTPI in 2002 and has since organised a Young Planners Conference, won a travel scholarship to study planning in Australia and become the RTPI North West’s youngest ever chair.
Working for the Peak District National Park was, she said, her dream job: “I fully support the philosophy of national parks and appreciate their immense value as a finite resource for the whole world to appreciate and learn from.
“The Peak District National Park is extremely special but fragile because of the pressures placed on it by its location. I consider myself very lucky to be in a position to positively influence decisions that will affect the national park well into the future.”
The RTPI Young Planner of the Year prize includes an invitation to the American Planning Association’s annual conference in Boston in April, a place at a Planning Summer School and an opportunity to speak at the RTPI’s annual Young Planners’ Conference.
National Park Authority chair Narendra Bajaria - who retired as chief planning officer for Sheffield in 2000 - said: “This award is well merited and we offer Sarah our heartiest congratulations. We are proud and fortunate to have such an excellent officer who is dedicated to reaching out to communities and making planning more user-friendly.
“We are using Sarah’s skills and experience as part of our drive to improve our engagement with residents and businesses in the national park.”