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District Council Senior Forward Planning Officer Maria Dunn has been shortlisted for the Royal Town Planning Institute’s (RTPI) Young Planner of the Year award.

Maria received the Regional Young Planner of the Year Award from the West Midlands Branch of the RTPI in 2013, following this success she is now down to the last four contenders for the national title of ‘Young Planner of the Year’. Maria has been shortlisted from a competitive long-list. The award, sponsored this year by the National Planning Forum, seeks out the brightest planners who are in the early stages of their planning career.

The finalists now face an interview with the RTPI’s panel of judges, chaired by Steve Quartermain, Chief Planner at the Department of Communities & Local Government (DCLG).

The winner will be announced at the RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence held in London on 23rd June 2014 and will receive a free place at the RTPI Planning Convention. They will also have the opportunity to speak at the annual RTPI Young Planners' Conference, to be held in Bristol this October.

Maria has been employed within the District Council’s Planning Policy Team since August 2006 and has led on a number of projects and made a significant contribution to the development of planning policy. Most recently, she has taken responsibility for delivering the District Council’s response to the neighbourhood planning initiative, and has supported Chaddesley Corbett Parish Council in progressing their Neighbourhood Plan to publication.

Maria has volunteered with Planning Aid since 2005 alongside her full time job. This work has focused primarily on community engagement events. For the last three years she has been assisting in the delivery of a support programme for neighbourhood planning as well as sitting on the West Midlands Planning Aid Sub-Group.

Maria was a member of the West Midlands Young Planners’ committee between 2010 and 2013 where she held the post of secretary and treasurer. She is now a member of the RTPI West Midlands Regional Activities Committee and takes an active role in positively promoting the planning profession.

Pictured: Maria Dunn celebrating her Award for Regional Young Planner of the Year in July 2013.

Mike Parker, Wyre Forest District Council’s Head of Economic Prosperity & Place said “We are really proud that Maria has been shortlisted for the National Young Planner of the Year award. She is a key member of the Council’s Planning Policy Team and has helped to progress the Local Development Framework for our District. It is encouraging to see the proactive role Maria has taken in progressing Neighbourhood Planning within the area. This nomination is testament to her hard work for the Council and in promoting the planning profession more widely.”

To find out more about the award and the shortlisted candidates read the RTPI’s press release.

Wyre Forest District Council