Planning Enforcement Officer
Westminster City Council

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Caption: Nicole, Planning Enforcement Officer, Westminster Council
00:03 My name is Nicole Norman. I work for Westminster City Council and my job title is a Planning Enforcement Officer.
00:12 Planning Enforcement Officer goes and looks at what potential breaches of Planning Control have been say, the property’s already been built but they’ve done an extension but they haven’t applied for planning permission. A Planning Enforcement Officer will go and have a look at that extension and see if it complies within permitted development.
00:34 So Town Planning is a multi-disciplinary subject. You have economics, where you look at regeneration, you look at innovation, you try and get businesses in. You have the social aspect where you look at people being healthy and what makes people happy.
00:49 How can you make environments for people be thriving human beings? You look at the legal side, what policies do you have to put in place to create good development for people to live in and then you have the design part. How do we design areas for people to use, so it’s nice for people to look at. So I’d say those are the 4 core elements, really.
01:17 The City of Westminster are a really good organisation to work for. They have really nice people in it.
01:21 I get to go out every day. I don’t think I could be tied down to a desk. It’s not really who I am.
01:27 The worst part of  my job is that I think it’s very resource intensive. I think that when you look at some of the laws, there are quite a few loopholes, so trying to prove that people have done breaches becomes very, very time-consuming and getting people to reply to your letters is very, very difficult as well.
01:47 I used to look after people with significant learning disabilities. I just used to support them to go out, you know, do their shopping, tidy their room, anything really.
02:00 I really enjoyed that job. I did it for 3 years and then I worked as a waitress where I dealt with all different types of customers, you know, some happy, some not happy.
02:09 I think Sheffield University’s a good university. I think it’s a really good place to do Town Planning. I think in final year I started learning different perspectives that I hadn’t learned before. I really enjoyed the social aspect of university. I had a really enjoyable experience
02:26 And with my Town Planning degree, I was able to take a year abroad, to Australia and I really enjoyed that experience.
02:33 The job that my dad is, he’s a quantity surveyor, so he works in the built environment already. It probably subconsciously influenced my decision, even though I didn’t want to be a quantity surveyor. My mum is a legal secretary.
02:50 Got GCSEs, I wanted to become a dancer and my mum was like no, performing arts school cost like 50 grand a year and if you’re unemployed then you will ask me for money, so no.
03:02 Yes I decided at that stage to do Town Planning because I liked all 3 subjects, so I thought, Geography, Economics ad Design and Technology is a mix of what makes Town Planning, so I thought, I’ll do Town Planning.
03:18 You have to be able to speak to local people, understand them and get on their level. You have to be able to speak to the councillors and understand them and get on their level. You have to be able to speak to developers, you have to be able to speak to architects and then you have to speak to other planning professionals and I think you have to understand all the stakeholders’ views. I think communications are really a key part of being a good town planner.
03:44 Because I’ve got quite an interest in housing, I quite like watching Homes Under The Hammer as well and you know, Ugly House to Lovely House. So I think my ambition actually is to restore derelict buildings, restore derelict housing.


“I get to go out every day. I don’t think I could be tied down to a desk – it’s not really who I am.” Nicole looked after people with learning disabilities and then worked as a waitress, before going to university to study town planning.

More information about Town planning officers

average salary

The UK average salary is ÂŁ29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

70%  male 
30%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Town planning officers direct or undertake the planning of the layout and the co-ordination of plans for the development of urban and rural areas.
Entrants usually possess either an accredited degree or postgraduate qualification and must have completed at least two years’ work experience in town planning before gaining professional status.
  • Analyses information to establish the nature, extent, growth rate and likely development requirements of the area;
  • Consults statutory bodies and other interested parties to ensure that local interests are catered for and to evaluate competing development proposals;
  • Drafts and presents graphic and narrative plans affecting the use of public and private land, housing and transport facilities;
  • Examines and evaluates development proposals submitted and recommends acceptance, modification or rejection;
  • Liaises with national and local government and other bodies to advise on urban and regional planning issues.
Employment by region
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Architectural & related 13234
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Other professional 1064
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