Karen Syrett, Colchester Borough Council’s lead officer for planning and place strategy, has scooped the Head Planner of the Year Award at the East of England RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence 2022.
The prestigious awards celebrate outstanding plans, projects and people that demonstrate the power of planning – highlighting exceptional examples of how planning and planners have a positive impact on people’s quality of life in creating exceptional places and protecting the environment.
Karen, who was one of two regional finalists in the running for Head Planner of the Year, scooped the award at a gala ceremony in Hylands House, Chelmsford, on 30 June. She will now go through to the national finals in central London, in November.
Karen’s nomination recognises her leadership contribution to planning and placemaking in the borough over many years. Karen has worked in local authorities for more than 30 years, including 14 years in Development Management (including enforcement) and 9 years in Spatial Policy, and was one of the first women in the East of England to be promoted to a senior management level in planning at a local authority.
Karen has been influential in the delivery of Colchester’s Local Plan and holds a key directional role in development management, being a strong and well-respected officer for the council and role model for her teams.
Pam Donnelly, Chief Executive of Colchester Borough Council, said: “I am absolutely delighted that Karen’s hard work and expertise in delivering positive planning outcomes for the borough and its residents has been recognised with this special award.
“This is well-deserved recognition for a member of our team who, as an exemplar of excellent leadership and practice, inspires colleagues, clients and the wider planning community. Congratulations, Karen, and good luck in the national finals later this year!”
Karen said: “I was overwhelmed to be nominated and then shortlisted, let alone to actually win the award!
“Planning can often attract negative views from some quarters, but regardless of that I would still recommend it as a profession. This award is testimony to the many fantastic professionals I have worked with over the years.”
Page last reviewed: 11 July 2022