Interview with recently promoted Principal Planner – Kristina Wall

30th August 2017

We are pleased to have promoted staff member Kristina Wall to Principal Planner earlier on this year.

Kristina has spent a significant part of her planning career working in the Minerals and Waste and County Matter areas of planning. This involves considering planning applications for mineral extraction sites and new waste technology. She also has extensive experience working on new and large school extension planning applications.

Kristina now takes on more responsibility for the complexity of cases considered and the need to develop a personal client base.

Here we discuss her promotion, life as a planner, her career background and of course what she gets up to outside of work!

You have recently been promoted from senior planner to principal planner, was it something you were expecting?

After having worked for Bell Cornwell for two years as a Senior Planner I was hoping that I had demonstrated I had gained the relevant skills, knowledge and attributes required to progress to be a Principal Planner.  I wasn’t expecting a promotion quite so early on in the year so it was a pleasant surprise!

What do you hope to achieve from your promotion?

I hope to continue to develop my skills and knowledge base.  I would like to extend my client base to broaden the depth and scope of the planning work I undertake.  I would also like to help colleagues develop their planning knowledge and expertise through having them assist me on projects where appropriate.

How long have you worked at Bell Cornwell?

Two years and three months.

How many years’ experience do you have as a planner?

I started working in planning back in 2006 before taking a break to travel the world.  I came back to planning late in 2007 and have worked in the public and private sector within planning policy and development management roles ever since.  I therefore have 10 years’ experience.

What has been your greatest planning achievement?

Granting planning permission for the first anaerobic digestion facility in Hampshire and becoming a Chartered Member of the RTPI.

How did you first become involved with Bell Cornwell?

I was working at Hampshire County Council in the Minerals, Waste and County Projects planning team and I received a couple of planning applications from Bell Cornwell LLP relating to waste planning.

Have you seen many changes in the industry since you started?

Planning is continually changing but the biggest changes I think I have seen in my 10 years is the introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework and its associated guidance.  Also, the abolition of regional planning leading to the revocation of the South-East Plan.

What do you find most challenging about being a planner?

Each day planning is different and this is something that I really enjoy about the job as it provides great variation.  However, the continual changes in planning policy can be hard to keep up with!  Also, planning can be very subjective and so it is sometimes hard to anticipate how a scheme will be perceived by the local planning authority and therefore hard to manage the client’s expectations.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of becoming a planner?

If you enjoy variation, getting out on site, meeting new people and working hard then planning is the job for you!  Working in planning is very different from what you learn at university.  University gives you the theoretical background, it allude to planning policy and development management matters but doesn’t go into detail on these topics so be prepared to keep learning when you start working.  You will always be learning as nothing stays the same for long!

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I really enjoy being busy, I love to exercise and will often be seen at my local leisure centre taking part in an exercise class.  I also enjoy getting outside into the countryside on my bike.  Travelling is a great love of mine, I love to visit new places around and the world and see my family who are increasingly spread across the world – Canada and Australia for example!

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