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New President For The Planning Officers Society

Date: 17/5/2004

Solihull planning chief, Paul Watson, has become the new President of the Planning Officers Society.  He was elected at the Society's Annual General Meeting held at Chiltern District Council in Amersham on Friday 14th May 2004.

At the AGM Paul stated that it was his firm intention that “the Planning Officers’ Society should remain a respected and influential group” and, referring to the announcement that the Planning Bill had received Royal Assent the previous day, that his theme for the year would be “Making it Work”.

Paul has been the Head of Planning Services at Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council since 2002. He graduated in Psychology from the University of Manchester in 1974 and gained his Diploma in Town Planning from the City of Birmingham Polytechnic (now UCE) in 1978. Prior to moving to Solihull, Paul worked in a variety of planning and cultural posts for Dudley MBC.

Paul was Chair of the Metropolitan Planning Officers Society Environment Committee before the creation of POS in 1997. He served as Secretary and then Chair of the POS Built Environment Topic Group from 1997 to 2003. Paul took up the position of Senior Vice President of the Society in May 2003 and has been influential in fostering effective working relationships with ODPM and the LGA.  Paul is passionate about promoting positive planning and good urban design and, through POS, has worked with English Heritage and CABE on a number of best practice initiatives.

paul-watson-pos.jpgPaul Watson



  1. The Immediate Past President of the Society is Gill Gowing, Director of Planning & the Environment with Chiltern District Council. The new Senior Vice-President is Graham Jones, Chief Planning Officer at Harrow LBC; and the Junior Vice-President is Hilary Herbert, Head of Minerals & Waste at Surrey CC.
  2. The Planning Officers Society was formed in April 1997 by the amalgamation of the former County Planning Officers Society, District Planning Officers Society and the Metropolitan Planning Officers Society. With the formation of a single Local Government Association it was decided by the constituent societies that a single voice for local authority planning practitioners would be the most effective way of pursuing good and effective planning practice within local government.
  3. The Planning Officers Society represents the most senior professionals and managers of planning functions in the English Local Authorities. It sets out to:

    • Act as an advocate and promoter of Local Government planning
    • Assist and advise the Government and the Local Government Association on planning matters and any related issues
    • Act as a centre of excellence, undertake research and promote best practice in planning matters
    • Promote all aspects of the built and green environment by working closely with other organisations and profession
  4. The Society’s website is www.planningofficers.org.uk

Further Information:

Paul Watson can be contacted at Tel 0121 7048038, Fax 0121 7046592, Email paulwatson@solihull.gov.uk

The Society’s Publicity Officer & Spokesperson is John Silvester, Surrey Heath BC, Tel 01276 707214, Fax 01276 707201, Email john.silvester@surreyheath.gov.uk

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