MZA Planning – founded by Yussuf Mwanza MRTPI nominated for prestigious planning industry award


February 2019

  MZA Planning – founded by Yussuf Mwanza MRTPI nominated for prestigious planning industry award

MZA Planning

MZA Planning – founded by Yussuf Mwanza MRTPI has been named as a finalist in the category for Small Planning Consultancy of the Year at the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Awards for Planning Excellence 2019.

The RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence are the most established and respected awards in the UK planning industry. Running for over 40 years, they celebrate exceptional examples of planning and the contribution planners make to society.

MZA Planning based in Chiswick, provides clients with a flexible and valuable resource. Planning permission without the Headaches lies at the heart of their service.

Team MZA Planning


“At MZA Planning we adopt a vigorous approach when dealing with planning matters. We regularly submit planning applications for changes of use, new dwellings and  householder developments to name a few. We are delighted to be nominated in this category and receive validation of the outstanding service that we provide to our clients.” Yussuf Mwanza MRTPI, Managing Director MZA Planning


Yussuf Mwanza of Guyanese parentage started his planning career in London Borough of Brent as a Junior Planning assistant and after moving between different Council planning departments and the Private sector setup founded MZA in 1997 and has never looked back.


From his work in local planning authorities Yussuf Mwanza was acutely aware that certain applicants particularly those from the BAME community through no fault of their own simply did not understand the planning system, could not afford a planning agent or just framed their application incorrectly. As such he noticed that a disproportionate number of applications from the BAME community were refused and subsequent enforcement action taken.


As a result of this when he started MZA Planning Yussuf made a deliberate effort to reach out to these groups. Often this included minority groups seeking to submit applications for a range of developments including changes of use, enforcement appeals, householder developments etc. From the outset MZA has strived to work with the disenfranchised and unrepresented groups but also serves a much wider client base.


His planning skills, tenacity and integrity of his work are widely admired. His planning work for Reigate and Banstead Borough Council, London Borough of Camden, London Borough of Enfield, London Borough of Redbridge and Elmbridge Borough Council especially at appeal hearings and Public Inquiries defending the Council’s decisions, was highly praised. Yussuf has gone onto work on Major projects including Channel Tunnel Rail Link, West London Tram Project and Reading Station Redevelopment. Yussuf has also worked as a consultant Inspector for the Planning Inspectorate handling a wide range of appeal cases. Yussuf has been a member of the Royal Town Planning Institute since 1994



RTPI President Ian Tant MRTPI said: “Many congratulations to all this year’s finalists, who demonstrate outstanding contributions to planning, producing a positive effect on our communities, the economy and the environment. They have shown how planners can use their passion and skills to meet needs, deliver high quality design and tackle environmental challenges – they should all be proud of their role as a force for good in society.”


The winners will be announced during a ceremony held at Milton Court Concert Hall in central London on 24 April 2019.


Andrew Jones MRTPI, Practice Leader Design Planning + Economics at AECOM, said: “AECOM is proud to once again be a headline sponsor of this year’s RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence. The finalists are a diverse mixture of outstanding examples of planning, which demonstrate the breadth of the impact the profession has on quality place making and delivery in the built environment.”


David Jackson MRTPI, Head of Planning at Savills, said: “Savills is delighted to be a headline sponsor of the RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence. The finalists reflect the positive impact planning has on our communities and wider society across the UK, Ireland and internationally through exemplary projects, plans and people.”


The RTPI champions the power of planning in creating prosperous places and vibrant communities. It is the only body in the UK that confers Chartered status to planners, the highest professional qualification sought after by employers. It supports its members – over 25,000 worldwide - throughout their careers.




For more information, please contact Will Finch, Communications Officer, Royal Town Planning Institute


Tel: 020 7929 8182






About the RTPI


1.    The Royal Town Planning Institute champions the power of planning in creating prosperous places and vibrant communities.

Using our expertise and research we bring evidence and thought leadership to shape planning policies and thinking, putting the profession at the heart of society's big debates. 

We set the standards of planning education and professional behaviour that give planners, wherever they work in the world, a unique ability to meet complex economic, social and environmental challenges. 

We are the only body in the UK that confers Chartered status to planners, the highest professional qualification sought after by employers in both private and public sectors. We support our members – over 25,000 worldwide - throughout their careers, offering them a wide of range of opportunities to learn and share ideas and skills.


2.    Share your updates about the Awards for Planning Excellence on social media using the hashtag #RTPIAwards. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for the most up-to-date information.


RTPI is a charity registered in England 262865 and Scotland SC 03784.

Three female founders are building the most powerful network for women in tech with funding from Y Combinator


In February 2019, Leap by Y Combinator, a private online community for women in tech, spun out into its own independent company called Elpha. Led by three female founders Cadran Cowsanage,Kuan Luo and Abadesi Osunsade, its mission is to build the most powerful online community for women in tech.



In an industry where women represent only 10% of founding teams and 2% of venture capital recipients, there could be no better time to provide a platform for women to connect with each other and share information to help them excel in the industry.


Elpha is free to join and allows individuals who identify as women or non binary working in tech to discuss their most pressing questions relating to work and life in general, make connections, find and share opportunities, and more.


Popular Q&A threads on Elpha include topics like fundraising, salary negotiations, parenting, book recommendations and industry trends.


Elpha supports anonymous and untraceable posting so women can ask topics that may be too sensitive or personal to bring up in the office or with friends.


Elpha has received funding from Y Combinator and the founders will participate in Y Combinator’s accelerator program in Mountain View this summer joining the ranks of well known alumni like Airbnb, Reddit and Stripe.


Quotes from the CEO, Cadran Cowansage:


“We want to make Elpha your go-to place for accessing industry experts and finding thoughtful, relevant content, delivered through the female lens. We’re also going to explore how best to provide access to information about companies that prioritize a culture that’s welcoming to womxn and share those job opportunities with you.”

“We chose the name Elpha by riffing on the word alpha and the idea that we wanted to create a place where womxn come first. We combined alpha with the French word for she (“Elle”) to create ellepha. We shortened it to elpha from there.”

Link to press kit here.