Press release

The Planning Inspectorate’s Director for Wales to retire

Richard Poppleton, Director for The Planning Inspectorate, Wales, has elected to retire at the end of September 2014.

The Planning Inspectorate has announced that Richard Poppleton, Director for The Planning Inspectorate, Wales, has elected to retire at the end of September 2014. Tony Thickett has been appointed to replace him and will take up his duties this Autumn.

Having joined the Planning Inspectorate in 1990 after a career in local government, Richard retires after more than 40 years in public service, the last 2½ years of which have been as Director for Wales.

Tony Thickett graduated in 1983 with a degree in Urban and Regional Planning, and a BA in Town Planning in 1985. He became a chartered member of the Royal Town Planning Institute in 1986 and started his planning career in local government before joining the Planning Inspectorate in 1999. His first 10 years as an Inspector were spent working throughout England on appeal and development plan casework, before transferring to the Wales directorate in 2009. Until 2012, he was actively involved in reviewing the guidance and implementing the changes to the examination process of local development plans in Wales. He also conducted a number of examinations in North and South Wales and a wide range of appeal casework.

Tony is returning to Wales after undertaking development plan examinations and other appeal casework in England. He therefore brings with him a breadth of planning experience both in England and Wales that will be of great assistance in responding to the emerging reforms to the planning system now being considered by the Welsh Government.

On announcing Richard’s retirement and Tony’s appointment, Simon Ridley, The Planning Inspectorate’s Chief Executive said: “During his time as Director for Wales, Richard has strengthened links with our key partners and prepared our operations for the challenges that lie ahead.”

“Tony’s drive and determination will build upon Richard’s work in shaping the Inspectorate in Wales, Tony will continue to bring forward organisational and operational changes that the proposed planning reforms in Wales are likely to require.”


Journalists wanting further information should contact the Planning Inspectorate’s Press Office, on: 0303 444 5004 or 0303 444 5005 or 0303 444 5082 or email:

Notes for Editors

Pictures available upon request