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Raymond Yeung is currently working as a Planning Enforcement team manager at a local authority in London. He is a mentor supporting junior members of the Network

1. What do you do in your current job role?

I manage a team of 10 officers varying from enforcement planners to conservation and heritage and tree and landscaping officers.

I have been working on some larger projects such as an unauthorised change of use from a listed historic pub into a House of Multiple Occupation.

I am also the deputy South-West representative of the National Association of Planning Enforcement (NAPE).

2. Can you outline your career journey?

I have been in planning and a chartered RTPI member for 17 years. I have worked for 10 local authorities, one development corporation and the Planning Portal. I believe working predominantly for the public sector indicates who I am - A person who gives back to the greater good while balancing the powers of market forces. 

Some of the projects I have worked on:

  • Assisted in launching the ‘One App’ (online planning applications system) for the Planning Portal; 

  • Altered the Permitted Development rights for basements; 

  • Acted as planning witness in a public Inquiry vs the Indian Government and; 

  • Acted as an expert witness and won a prosecution on an enforcement case generating £1.2 Million for my council.


3. Can you share one of your favourite projects in your career and tell us why? 

I dealt with the first-ever full subterranean underground hotel in the UK. I handled over 100 comments and objections including one from Sir Kier Starmer and presented this to the planning committee. I recommended approval for the scheme. Although it was overturned by councillors by 1 vote, the planning inspectors subsequently dismissed the appeal and agreed with my initial assessment and recommendation for approval.

During the building work, I developed my career from a planning officer to an enforcement officer. I was involved in many of the enforcement complaints about the project. I even considered applying for an injunction to the court. Threatened by potential legal action, the developer eventually complied with the approved plans and submitted a new planning application to increase the number of rooms by 10% which I dealt with and recommended approval for.  The hotel will be opening soon in central London.

4. How does the BAME Planners Network benefit you? 

I feel being part of a community within the BAME Planners Network despite joining only a matter of months ago. I am currently volunteering as a mentor and have been networking with other members online and in person.

I started my career at a local authority in Somerset in the mid-2000s. I was the first planner of colour at the Authority and was the only officer under the age of 25 at the time. I feel empowered to join this group to share similar experiences and to help members who face any kind of barriers in getting into the planning profession.


5. What are your aspirations for the Network?

I would like to raise the profile of BAME planners. Also, young BAME planners are sometimes disproportionately represented in planning roles. As a young BAME planning enforcement officer from a lower-income background, I can help reach out to young BAME planners and advocate new bloods in these under-represented planning roles. I have been volunteering as a mentor to a couple of members. I am also a registered RTPI mentor to help members on their APC route to become fully chartered.


6. Can you share your thoughts on the future of Planning?

Due to the ever-changing global economic and political situation, market-force pressures are shaping changes to planning legislation to de-regularise and transform planning the way we knew it before, such as additional permitted development rights, compulsory purchase orders, new ‘planning zones’ akin to American urban planning system and bringing in developer’s past behaviour into consideration of planning decisions.

Further to the above, the RTPI compiled a report in 2022 which stated that planning application numbers have significantly reduced. The number of enforcement planners has reduced by almost 50% over a 12-year period, and planners are the number 1 profession which is hardest to recruit and retain within the public sector.

As someone who has been at the heart of decision-making for planning permissions in the public sector for most of my career, it appears to me that political and market pressures are reducing the role of the public sector and trying to build housing and commercial properties faster and cheaper through de-regularisation. Whilst this may sound good, a balancing act is needed between meeting these demands and creating a sustainable environment with heritage conservation, provision of affordable housing and community facilities, and design and construction quality.

Raymond Yeung

Meet the Members Series

Raymond Yeung


Enforcement Team Leader

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