How long have you been a planner and is it what you have always wanted to do?
I have been a planner for just under 4 and a half years. I became interested in planning during my undergraduate degree at university. Modules in Conservation and Transport and Development allowed me to explore different areas of planning and become more interested in the sector.
Tell me about your planning background…
I have always been aware of the planning process through discussion with members of my family. My Uncle, Auntie and Grandpa have been involved in planning through working in architecture, building surveying and local government. I then started my first planning job after university working at Hertsmere Borough Council; gaining experience of dealing with a variety of planning applications, including residential and commercial schemes. Applications I dealt with included certificate of lawfulness applications and minor residential schemes in the Green Belt. I also dealt with schemes in Conservation Areas and involving Listed Buildings. I completed my master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning while working at the Council and gained further experience, knowledge and contacts in the industry over these 2 years of study.
You have recently started working for Bell Cornwell, what have you enjoyed about the company so far?
I started working for the company on Monday 4th February 2019. So far, I have enjoyed the friendly and helpful nature of staff and company and the willingness to work effectively with clients to help them achieve their objectives. The social element of the company also allows for staff to feel rewarded and creates a desire to work hard for a company you feel a part of. In addition, the organisation of the company is something to admire with up-to-date technology, computer systems and effective staff processes to allow for a successful and relaxed working environment.
You deal with many clients on many a wide array of projects, how do you ensure that each client is dealt with personally?
As planners, we ensure that clients are listened to and their project needs and objectives are clear so that successful work strategies and useful advice are delivered. Also, having face-to-face meetings to work through ideas is an efficient and more personal way of communicating. We can make meetings convenient for the client to make working with Bell Cornwell a smooth and pleasant process.
From your previous experience in what way does hiring a planner help with a project?
In hiring a planner, clients have their own, so-called, project manager who can deal with their requests and provide realistic advice before a formal planning application submission. This smooths the process of a formal application submission and determination, with the planner being the point of contact for a planning department. This means any concerns can be dealt with appropriately to minimise work for the client.