A Sandwell Council planning officer is celebrating after being named the UK’s Young Planner of the Year.
Jenna Langford, the council’s Regeneration Manager, won the award for her work on a range of schemes and for championing planning as a career to young people.
She was named the national winner by the Royal Town Planning Institute after scooping the West Midlands title before Christmas.
Jenna was shortlisted along with five other finalists and was declared the winner at a ceremony last week.
The judges said Jenna had been recognised for her commitment to supporting others and specifically for assisting people to take up planning as a profession through the Planning Futures programme.
Jenna visits schools, colleges and universities to promote career opportunities in planning. She has been a member of the council’s regeneration team since 2010 and has worked on important schemes which have transformed Sandwell, including projects such as the New Square shopping centre, Sandwell College Central Campus and the Providence Place office development.
Jenna, who is 34 and from Wednesbury, said it was an honour and a privilege to win the national title.
“Being from Sandwell makes me incredibly passionate about delivering better places and prospects for our community, as well as raising aspirations for our young people,” she said.
“Winning the award means I can share my passion and experiences with other professionals and work together in generating innovative ways to overcome regeneration challenges and deliver places which truly reflect the needs of our communities which are visionary and aspirational.
“I am fortunate in that Sandwell Council recognises and supports its employees and I have a fantastic team around me, who put me forward for this award – thank you.”
The judges said: “Jenna has huge enthusiasm for planning and the role it plays in building successful and prosperous communities.
“The judges were inspired by her drive to get the community involved with the work of planners and her commitment to the community she serves.”
Sandwell Council’s Director for Regeneration and Growth Amy Harhoff said: “We’re very proud of Jenna. She’s a talented officer and she’s contributed to some fantastic developments that have really changed Sandwell as a place to live, work and visit.
“Her commitment to championing planning as a career to young people is inspiring. We’re thrilled that she’s won national recognition for her hard work and commitment.”
Congratulations, Jenna, from the Think Sandwell team!
[Jenna is pictured above with David Cowans, Chief Executive at Places for People and Trustee of the Julie Cowans Trust.]