PlanSupport is the trading name for Steve Besford-Foster, a Chartered Town Planner recently retired from local government in Cornwall. Steve trained in Liverpool with a placement in the City Council, before moving on to Runnymede Borough in Surrey, where he worked first in Development Control and later in Local Plans. He transferred to Cornwall, where he had a number of roles, and headed up the former Caradon District’s Forward Planning, Leisure and Countryside Services and Economic and Community Services Units for nine years. These were strong teams that forged effective links between planning and regeneration activity and generated significant community benefits, bringing national recognition to Caradon with a 3* Best Value review by the Audit Commission and subsequently Beacon status for Supporting the Rural Economy.
Steve finished his time at Caradon as Director of Services with strategic policy and service management oversight of Economic and Community Services, Development Control, the Spatial Policy Unit, Operations and Technical Services, Environmental Health, Housing, and elements of the Executive’s portfolio of improvement projects. He was also lead officer for scrutiny.
On local government re-organisation Steve became Cornwall Council’s Localism Manager for the east of Cornwall and gained additional experience in working with communities and politicians, often at a very local level. From 2011 Steve became Localism Manager for all of Cornwall, providing oversight of the Community Network Areas before retiring in April 2013. During this latter period Steve worked closely with colleagues in Localism and Planning to help create Cornwall Council’s neighbourhood planning support arrangements and chaired its Neighbourhood Planning Management Board.
Steve has provided advice and support to several local councils in Cornwall and Devon, is volunteer Project Manager for the Neighbourhood Plan covering his home town – Liskeard – and is a Planning Aid England volunteer. From January 2105 Steve began supporting Falmouth Town Council on its Neighbourhood Plan, and is now also assisting the Falmouth Area Coastal Community Team prepare an economic plan and applications to the Coastal Community Fund. In February 2015 Steve was commissioned to give project management help to Saltash Town Council with its Plan, and in September 2015 Steve was contracted to provide similar services to Looe Town Council. As the earlier Plans now move towards completion, Steve has capacity to support additional Council’s, and is keen to help rural parishes in particular.