How long have you been a planner and is it something you have always wanted to do?
I qualified as a member of the RTPI in 2006 however I have not always wanted to be a planner. Before embarking on my degree and the road to becoming a planner, I had considered being a pilot, marine biologist, civil engineer and sound producer/audio engineer.
Tell me about your planning background…
My planning career has all been spent working in planning consultancy. I started my career working in Northamptonshire and I previously worked for PCL Planning in Exeter for five years before joining Bell Cornwell.
During my career I have worked with both public and private sector clients and have been involved in a wide range of planning work including producing evidence-based studies for Councils, preparing development plans for military bases, progressing applications/appeals for a variety of proposals and promoting sites for development through the plan-making process.
You have recently started working for Bell Cornwell, what have you enjoyed about the company so far?
Since joining I have enjoyed the supportive and open working environment. My new colleagues have been very welcoming and willing to take the time to get to know me and help me settle in. They are also happy to discuss matters related to projects when a second opinion is required.
You deal with many clients on many a wide array of projects, how do you ensure that each client is dealt with personally?
It is necessary to take the time to get to know and understand the client at the beginning of a project. After this, making sure you maintain regular contact and keep them updated, ideally over the phone rather than just by e-mail, ensures that they feel they are getting a personal service.
From your previous experience in what way does hiring a planner help with a project?
I have seen on a number of occasions proposals come up against fundamental issues once the application has been submitted when a planner has not been involved and someone else has taken the lead. I, therefore, think that employing a planner can help ensure that a proposal is founded on realistic parameters/assumptions and is designed appropriately in response to its context and the relevant planning policies. As a result, a proposal will have a greater chance of success.