A Pembrokeshire planner is to play a key role in her profession this year.

Cath Ranson was inaugurated as President of the Royal Town Planning Institute this month.

The mother-of-three from Crymych takes over in the Institute’s Centenary year at a time when planners across the UK and Ireland are facing the demands of difficult economic times, a housing crisis and controversial issues such as fracking.

Cath, who has been Development Plans and Conservation Manager for Pembrokeshire County Council since 2009, is looking forward to meeting the challenges during her year in office.

“The Centenary is about both our past and our future,” she said.

“We must use the anniversary not just to reflect on what has gone before in the 100 years of professional planning, but also look to the future in both the medium and long term and try to anticipate and meet the challenges we will face.”

Born and raised in the Midlands, Cath came to Wales initially to study Geology at the University of Wales, Swansea.

Cath says planning is not merely a process but something to feel passionately about because it affects everybody’s lives.

“It affects the way that we live and regulate ourselves in society and without it there would be chaos,” she said.

“As planners we plan for and manage new development, to secure the right development, in the right locations and at the right time and to ensure that the community has a voice in such decision making, to deliver development that is sustainable, fair and transparent.”

Councillor Rob Lewis, Deputy Leader said he was delighted with Cath’s new role.

“She is a wonderful ambassador for both planning and Pembrokeshire,” he said.