What is a chartered town planner?

planning consultant

Welcome to the very first proper post on martingaine.com! The website launched several months ago and I have lazily been postponing this moment for a long time but, fuelled with caffeine, am finally ready to dive in.

A little about me…

I have been working in the planning system since 2008. I was an administrator and then a planning officer in the Environment Agency (dealing with planning applications in flood zones), then as a planning officer at Watford Borough Council before moving to join the planning term at London Borough of Waltham Forest, where I assessed and decided hundreds of applications for homeowner extensions and smaller development projects (new homes, commercial applications, signage etc).

I was not a chartered tow planner when I worked in the public sector – most planning officers aren’t and there is no requirement to be. But when I left in 2014 to set up my own consultancy, Just Planning, I decided that I needed to be chartered to demonstrate to potential clients my knowledge and experience. It took me two years to prepare the relevant documents and essays and submit to the RTPI for approval.

So what is a chartered planner?

Professional planners in the UK are represented by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). It was founded in 1913 and received its royal charter in 1970. To be a member, planners must have diverse experience and be able to demonstrate minimum competencies.

The process of election to membership is rigorous and the RTPI decribes chartered status as the “gold standard of planning practice”. Chartered planners, it says, “are recognised by employers, clients and members of the public for their skills, expertise and professional practice”.

“Chartered Town Planners represent the gold standard of planning practice. They are recognised by employers, clients and members of the public for their skills, expertise and professional practice.”

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI)

If I need a planning consultant, must they be chartered?

No, there is no requirement to be a member of the RTPI in order to practice as a planning consultant and many great consultants are not chartered. Chartered status simply gives you comfort that the consultant you have chosen has been assessed for membership, has varied industry experience, has a minimum level of knowledge and competency and adheres to the RPTI’s professional standards and ethics.

What services do chartered planning consultants offer?

If you have a planning problem or you are applying for planning permission, you don’t necessarily need the services of a planning consultant – many architects and other professionals understand the basics of the planning system and can handle smaller-scale planning applications.

You need a knowledgeable and experienced planning consultant when things get tricky.

Through the planning advice service on my website (martingaine.com/ask-martin), I help people who have run into planning difficulties. Some have had a planning application refused and are considering submitting an appeal. Some have received an enforcement notice, asking them to demolish an extension or to reverse some other works. Others have submitted a planning application and are not sure whether to agree to amendments requested by their case officer. I also help people who are just starting out on their planning journey and want to understand more about what kind of planning permission might be granted at their property.

All of these services, and more, are also available through my planning consultancy, Just Planning, which is a planning and enforcement appeal specialist. Every year, Just Planning wins hundreds of appeals for homeowners and smaller property developers who have been refused planning permission or received an enforcement notice.

To learn more about the planning system, check out my bestselling book, How to Get Planning Permission – An Insider’s Secrets, available from all good booksellers now! πŸ™‚

Get in touch!

It is no fun writing blog posts like this and having no idea whether anyone has read them or what they thought. Please do not hesitate to drop me a line with any comments, questions or feedback. You can email me at: martin@martingaine.com.