The Torridge Planning Team has been selected as a finalist for the ‘Planning Authority of the Year (South West)’ award at the Royal Town Planning Institute Awards for Planning Excellence 2023.

The RTPI Awards showcase and celebrates the region’s best plans, people and projects. The annual event recognises and highlights the positive contributions planning professionals make to the communities they serve.

The team has recently undergone a positive restructure to streamline and improve workflows and customer engagement. This included a broadening of opportunities for young people to gain professional qualifications through the appointment of a number of degree-level apprentices. The service’s recent focus has been on encouraging good development, pragmatic decision-making, and willingness to negotiate with agents or reach out to customers to achieve positive decisions and outcomes. The team were also involved in re-establishing a five-year housing supply for northern Devon, which will allow a great degree of control over future developments matched to the needs identified for the district.

The winners will be announced on Monday, July 3, at Somerset County Cricket Ground in Taunton during a special presentation event.

Chief executive Steve Hearse said: “As a council, we are incredibly proud of the Torridge Planning Team! This national-level recognition is proof of the exceptional customer service that Torridge consistently aims to provide.

“We hope they will be successful in the final stages of the competition, as it would be fitting to have the progress they have made in recent years rubber-stamped by their peers through this award process. To be considered as a finalist is already a great achievement.”