Jennifer Ryan Senior Planning Officer

About Jennifer:

Jennifer Ryan, Senior Planning Officer

Jennifer is a Senior Planning Officer at Adur & Worthing Councils. She's been with the Planning Policy team since 2017 and works on a range of projects including preparation of the Worthing Local Plan which, when adopted, will guide future development in the borough.

Jennifer is excited to be blogging about her work and is keen to talk about how it links up with wider projects taking place within the Councils.

Before she joined the Planning Policy team, Jennifer worked in Planning Policy at Test Valley Borough Council for six years. Prior to that, she was a Teacher Associate at Oxford Brookes University.

Outside of work, Jennifer enjoys travelling and has a passion for architecture and design - London and Liverpool are her favourite cities. She also loves seeking inspiration from Instagram for her travels, particularly keeping an eye out for trendy cafes and restaurants to visit.

You can read Jennifer's current blog posts on this page below:

See also: Planning Policy


25th May 2022: Journey's end

I am thrilled to announce that I have finally completed the London Thames Path Challenge! It was quite a moment approaching the prominent Thames Barrier near Woolwich, which heralds the end of the Thames Path.

Since commencing the challenge in August 2020, my friend and I have walked 40 miles, covering the north-bank and south-bank of the River Thames and following the trail route produced by Transport for London.

2022-05-25 - A Thames Path National Trail information panel

It has been a journey of walking through the changing built landscape of London and observing the contrasting architectural styles and land uses along the River Thames that reflect London's historic past. The river has been instrumental in stimulating social and economic growth of the capital. However, reaching the Thames Barrier and observing its ingenious civil engineering structure served as a stark reminder of climate change.

London is not immune from the effects of climate change with increasing temperatures and rising sea levels resulting in a heightened risk of tidal flooding (caused by tidal surges) in the Thames Estuary. However, tidal flooding has been a long-standing problem in London and in 1953, the North Sea Flood disaster claimed the lives of over 300 people with over 30,000 people being forced to evacuate from their homes.

The disaster led to an investigation being conducted into the way in which flood defences were built to protect London. This resulted in the recommendation to establish a new flood defence mechanism, in the form of a retractable barrier, which could be operated in the event of exceptional high tides and storm surges moving up from the North Sea.

The Environment Agency operates and maintains the Thames Barrier - it receives information on potential tidal surges and can forecast dangerous weather conditions up to 36 hours in advance. When the decision is taken to close the Barrier, 10 steel gates are raised into position across the River Thames.

When raised, the main gates stand as high as a five storey building and as wide as the opening of Tower Bridge. Each main gate weighs 3,300 tonnes. The Barrier will then remain closed over high water until the water level downstream of the Thames Barrier has reduced to the same level as upstream.

2022-05-25 - The Thames Barrier

This is a managed process to provide for different circumstances, and takes about five hours. The Thames Barrier is then opened, allowing the water upstream to flow out to sea with the outward bound tide.

The Barrier has been operational since 1982 and, in that time, it has been closed 205 times (as of February 2022). The Barrier was originally designed to protect London against a very high flood level (with an estimated return period of one hundred years) up to the year 2030. However, it is expected that the Thames Barrier can continue to protect London to its current standard up until 2070.

In recognition of the climate emergency the Environment Agency and its partners have launched the Thames Estuary 2100 Plan. This Plan sets out how flood risk will be managed in the Thames Estuary to the end of the century and the options for improving or replacing the Thames Barrier. Because it is an adaptive plan, the decision on the future of the Thames Barrier is unlikely to be made until around 2040.

For further information on the Thames Barrier, head over to the government website:

Photo: Jennifer with her certificate for completing the London Thames Path Challenge

2022-05-25 - Jennifer with her certificate for completing the London Thames Path Challenge

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13th May 2022: Last Chance - Worthing Local Plan Main Modifications Consultation

Tuesday 17th May 2022 is almost upon us, which means it is your last chance to submit comments on the main modifications (proposed changes) to the Worthing Local Plan. I don't know where the last six weeks have gone!

The proposed modifications have come about as a result of the examination hearings held with the Planning Inspector last November, which are considered to be changes necessary to ensure that the Plan is found to be legally compliant, as well as being able to pass the government's tests of soundness.

Please note that this is a focused consultation relating just to the proposed main modifications and related documents and is not an opportunity to comment on or object to other areas of the Plan which remain unchanged.

For further information on how to view the consultation documents and how to comment please head over to our consultation below. Don't delay and get your comments sent off today!

Submission Draft Worthing Local Plan - cover

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9th May 2022: Watch this space

“In the next few months, a small satellite will be propelled into orbit from the UK for the first time.”

This headline in the May edition of The Planner magazine (official magazine of the Royal Town Planning Institute which provides editorial coverage on planning) caught my attention and propelled me to read more about the mysterious world of the space industry.

In some ways the article was rather timely given that I had just recently watched Return to Space, a Netflix documentary featuring Elon Musk and SpaceX Engineers embarking on a historic mission to return NASA astronauts to the International Space Station and to revolutionise space travel.

2022-05-09 - Satellite in orbit SpaceX Aeronautics (Pixabay - 693216)

It seems like there is a renewed focus on the global space industry among governments and private sector investments with the space race being fully back on the economic agenda. Delving into this more closely, it is understandable why this is the case.

Space plays a critical role in our daily lives, satellites orbit from only 160 kilometres above our heads providing data and communications to allow us to use our smartphone devices, access weather forecasts, to monitor climate change, to enable airspace travel, to navigate oceans and to conduct military and defence operations.

Technology is evolving and cheaper access to space will let us further explore the Earth and the solar system, deliver new ubiquitous services like space-enabled internet, and make new scientific discoveries in zero-gravity.

According to The Planner magazine, launches of small satellites worldwide increased from 50 in 2012 to more than 1,200 in 2020. The global space economy is projected to grow from an estimated £270 billion in 2019 to £490 billion by 2030. The value of the UK’s space industry is £16.4 billion a year.

The Government launched its first ever National Space Strategy (NSS) in September 2021 with the headline announcement that the UK will become the first country to launch a rocket into orbit from Europe in 2022.

The NSS proposes seven locations across the UK (including Spaceport Cornwall) for spaceports to be built, and from which, satellites will be launched into space.

SpaceHub Sutherland was the first spaceport in the UK to be granted planning permission, closely followed by Shetland Island Council granting permission for the SaxaVord Spaceport on Unst, which aims to achieve 30 launches a year of small satellites into low Earth orbits.

The first horizontal launch is expected from a carrier aircraft at Spaceport Cornwall followed by a vertical launch from either SaxaVord or SpaceHub Sutherland.

For Planners, this is a very new sphere with no national policy or guidance to help provide regulatory control. The article interviews a Planning Consultant who was involved in the Sutherland Space Hub and states that:

“Spaceports had not been thought of at the time that any of the planning regulations and guidance had been issued and they weren’t something that had been predicted.”

Moving forward, given the commitment that the Government has attached to putting the UK in the front rank of the global space industry and the development of spaceports, there will need to be new guidance in the form of planning policy to equip Planners with determining applications for Spaceports and the allocation of land for such uses. Who knows, we may see the emergence of a Space Planning System ... watch this space!

2022-05-09 - Rocket launch at night (Pixabay - 693236)

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5th April 2022: Worthing Local Plan Main Modifications Consultation - April 2022

The day has arrived!

It is launch day of public consultation on the main modifications (proposed changes) to the Worthing Local Plan. It is a positive milestone to reach this stage and we are hopefully inching closer to the finishing line, subject to the Planning Inspector issuing his final examination report with the recommendation of finding the Plan to be 'sound'.

The proposed modifications have come about as a result of the examination hearings held with the Planning Inspector last November, which are considered to be changes necessary to ensure that the Plan is found to be legally compliant, as well as being able to pass the government's tests of soundness.

This is a six-week consultation, giving the public an opportunity to have their say on the proposed modifications. Please note that this is a focused consultation relating just to the proposed main modifications and related documents and that this is not an opportunity to comment on or object to other areas of the Plan which remain unchanged.

For further information on how to view the consultation documents and how to comment then please head over to our consultation below:

Don't forget, comments must be submitted in writing by 23:59pm on Tuesday 17th May 2022!

Submission Draft Worthing Local Plan - cover

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28th March 2022: Local Plan progress

I realise that I have been quiet on the blog front lately but rest assured, there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes in the planning policy team.

Progress is being made on refining the proposed modifications to the draft Worthing Local Plan as a result of the hearing sessions that took place with the Planning Inspector last November.

The Inspector has recommended that a number of amendments are to be made to the policies in the plan in order for them to be found effective and justified by way of meeting the soundness tests for adoption.

It is expected that we will soon be able to press the green button and launch consultation on the modifications very soon so please do keep an eye out!

Photo: Worthing Pier at low tide

2022-03-28 - Worthing Pier at low tide

In other news, work is progressing on the review of the Adur Local Plan, which was adopted back in 2017. There is a legal requirement for a Local Plan to be reviewed every five years following the date of adoption to ensure it is still fit for purpose.

We are mapping out the work needed to be carried out and new evidence that needs to be commissioned. Once this is underway, I will be sure to blog on key progress.

Photo: Adur district pictured from Mill Hill, Shoreham

2022-03-28 - Adur district pictured from Mill Hill, Shoreham

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28th February 2022: A tale of two halves

I visited Malaga in Spain a few weeks ago and it felt very surreal to step on a plane and venture abroad after two years of staycations in the UK. One thing that I have missed about foreign travel is observing how other cities in the world plan and design their urban areas.

During my time in Malaga the Guadalmedina River captured my attention and became a focus of interest. The reason being that it was a rather odd sight to see a dry and deserted riverbed dominating the city - given that it divides the historical areas of the city into two halves. The Guadalmedina has its source at the La Cruz Peak, in the Sierra de Camarolos mountain range. It is 47 kilometres (29 mi) long and passes through Malaga - diverting the course of the Guadalmedina River through two large tunnels that would allow the large avenues of water to flow into the Mediterranean sea.

The redundant riverbed space that once held water has now become an informal concrete playground for skateboarding, cycling and walking dogs. However, other sections of the river have become overgrown with vegetation to the point where nature has begun to reclaim the area.

2022-02-28 - The Guadalmedina River, Malaga

The state in which the river finds itself has become a topic of interest for the residents of Malaga, with many debating the need for a long-term vision and management of the redundant space. It is considered by some that the dry riverbed represents a scar and historical border that separates and divides the city. A proposal has been recently agreed by Malaga Council and the regional government which will result in the creation of a 'river park' comprising five kilometres of paths and green zones (including trees and shrubs to provide shading) for pedestrians and cyclists beside the Guadalmedina River. It is considered that this proposal to reinvent the river embankment will allow the two sides of the city to unite as well as provide an attractive and vital public realm and green space.

However, opponents of the proposal state that the plan could go against the European Union's Water Framework Directive, which urges member states to regenerate all water bodies. Surface water, unless channelling, has benefits " for human health and maintenance of safety".

Regardless of how the proposal is found, it is nonetheless intriguing to see how a geographical landform that has represented historical separation of a city is now being treated as a solution to unite two halves.

Photo: The Guadalmedina River in Malaga

2022-02-28 - The Guadalmedina River in Malaga

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7th February 2022: Home Working: What does the future hold for office spaces?

I was recently reading an article in the 'Planner' about the changing ways in working practices brought about by the pandemic and growth in technology and what this changing office landscape may mean for our towns and cities.

Whilst remote working existed in some shape or form prior to March 2020, working from home has now become mainstream and a growing body of evidence is showing that it is here to stay. Digital virtual platforms have become enhanced and refined to accommodate large numbers of attendees, as well as streamlining the ability to undertake virtual presentations and workshops online with virtual post-it notes.

Most people I know have said that they can work productively from home, provided they have good internet access, a dedicated work space area with equipment and the ability to contact colleagues virtually. There are many benefits associated with working from home such as reducing time spent commuting and thus reducing carbon emissions.

However, despite some of the positive benefits of remote working, there are other elements that an office environment brings that can't be recreated at home, for instance the office-banter, seeking an opinion or advice from a colleague, or just simply having a change of scenery from being cooped up at home. Therefore many organisations and companies are adopting a 'hybrid' working model for the long term. However, this means that there is no longer the same floorspace requirement to accommodate office workers / equipment and subsequently many employers are now downsizing their office space.

So, what does the future hold for office buildings across the country? One thing that planners are now having to think about is the demand for office floorspace and whether sites need to be allocated for such uses. Also, are towns and cities going to be faced with an increase of redundant office space that is no longer desirable or meet the needs of businesses that are embracing hybrid-ways of working?

Many public sector organisations and companies are still in a period of transitioning to their new working practices so it is too early to say how pronounced and long term these impacts might be. It’s widely accepted that there will be many implications for the local economy.

In terms of Local Plan-making, the Submission Worthing Local Plan (which is going through examination by a Planning Inspector) has been designed to provide a clear framework for development and it must be accepted that, in these uncertain times, there may need to be an even greater requirement for adaptability and flexibility.

When the Plan gets adopted, all employment policies will be monitored on a regular basis to ensure that they remain effective and deliverable. Adur District Council is embarking on a review of the Adur Local Plan (adopted in 2017) and thus will be reviewing existing employment sites and may potentially need to undertake new evidence to forecast long term employment needs in the area.

2022-02-07 - Home working

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24th January 2022: Back on the Thames Path

It was really good to be reunited with the Thames Path after taking a break for a few months, unfortunately we haven't yet reached our destination which is the Thames Barrier but we are not too far off now!

We resumed the path at Blackfriars Bridge with the route taking us past various iconic landmarks along the Southbank including Shakespeare's Globe, Tate Modern, London Bridge, HMS Belfast and Tower Bridge. It is always wonderful seeing London in its glory and observing the contrast in architectural styles and land uses along the River Thames that reflect London's historic past and how the river has been influential in stimulating social and economic growth of the capital.

Once we reached Rotherhithe it was obvious that we had stepped away from the bustling tourist heart of Southbank and had entered into a residential district characterised by former dockyards, warehouses and cobbled back-streets home to Victorian public houses.

2022-01-24 - former dockyards and warehouses

Historically the area was the most northeastern settlement in the county of Surrey. The district is positioned on a peninsula facing Wapping, Shadwell and Limehouse on the north-bank, with the Isle of Dogs to the east of the Thames.

Rotherhithe is famous for its maritime heritage comprising shipyards (shipbuilding industry) dating back to the Elizabethan times until the early 20th century with working docks operating until the 1970s. In particular, the Mayflower Ship and its captain, Christopher Jones began its journey from Rotherhithe to Plymouth in July 1620 collecting Pilgrims and transporting them to the New World (America).

2022-01-24 - New Concordia Wharf

Following the decline in the shipbuilding industry, in the 1980s the area was targeted for regeneration with redundant warehouses being converted into residential apartments complemented by new-build developments. The arrival of the Jubilee line in 1999 and the London Overground in 2010 along with Uber Boats have resulted in Rotherhithe becoming a desirable residential location for city workers commuting into the city and also to Canary Wharf / Isle of Dogs.

Despite being a densely built up area, Rotherhithe does boast a number of parks, marinas, a Local Nature Reserve and green spaces along the banks of the Thames making it a family friendly area. My friend and I were particularly surprised and amused when we stumbled upon Surrey Docks Farm, a working city farm right by the Thames Path!

2022-01-24 - Surrey Docks Farm, a working city farm right by the Thames Path

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10th January 2022: Call for Green Sites in Adur District

Happy New Year to my blog readers! After enjoying a short break over the festivities, it’s back to the Local Plan making mode again.

Preparations are now being made for the review of the Adur Local Plan which was adopted back in 2017. There is a legal requirement to review a local plan every five years from the date of adoption to ensure that the Plan meets the identified needs of the area.

As a starting point of this review, Adur District Council has launched a general Call for Sites with future development potential which closes until 20th January.

2022-01-10 - Great tit on tree branch

As well as allocating sites for new development in the Adur Local Plan, the Council is required to address a range of issues such as nature conservation and restoration, open space and green infrastructure, and climate change mitigation and adaptation. In order to identify suitable locations for these uses, the Council is inviting landowners, developers, communities and members of the public to propose sites suitable for a range of 'green' uses. These are:

  • Local green space
  • Local wildlife site
  • Nature conservation/recovery
  • Biodiversity net gain offsetting
  • Open space
  • Green/blue infrastructure
  • Carbon offsetting
  • Natural flood management
  • Renewable energy generation, storage and infrastructure

Photo: Solar panels on Portland House, Worthing

2022-01-10 - Solar panels on Portland House, Worthing

Promoted sites will be considered for inclusion in the Adur Local Plan. If appropriate, sites may also be considered for inclusion in the emerging Green Infrastructure Strategy and Local Nature Recovery Strategy.

Is there a special space in the district which you think could become a suitable green landmark? This is an opportunity to have your say! For further information on the kind of sites the Council is seeking, and how to submit sites, please see the guidance note below:

If you have a site(s) you wish to inform the Council of, please complete a Site Assessment form(s) by 10th February 2022 which are available here:

Photo: Wildflowers at Eastbrook Manor Community Centre

2022-01-10 - Wildflowers at Eastbrook Manor Community Centre

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Page last updated: 25 May 2022

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