This October Senior Planner, Geoff Megarity joined the team based in the London office. Geoff brings with him a range of knowledge on the planning system in London. We find out more about his planning background.
How long have you been a planner and is it what you have always wanted to do?
I have been working in the industry for over six years. My childhood dream was to become a firefighter, but as I got older I became very interested in property and development. When choosing what to do at University I spoke to family friends who worked in property development and they suggested I look into planning. Having read around the subject it really interested me and I went on to study Town Planning at Newcastle University.
Tell me about your planning background…
After graduating I joined the London Borough of Newham and worked there in a student position with the responsibilities of a planning officer. Following the completion of my contract at Newham, I had a brief stint at the London Borough of Ealing before I joined St George, part of the Berkeley Group, in January 2014. This gave me great exposure to how the business of property development and property management worked and gave me good experience at various different stages of development and the importance of planning within it. I then joined RPS, where I was for three years and was able to form part of project teams on some incredibly interesting projects in many different sectors.
You have recently joined Bell Cornwell, what have you enjoyed about the company so far?
What I have enjoyed is that the company has a clear ambition of what it wants to be and how this is reflected in all members of staff and the importance of the company ethos. The company having that common goal has really helped me settle at Bell Cornwell.
You deal with many clients on a wide array of projects, how do you ensure that each client is dealt with personally?
It all boils down to being organised and efficient. Each client and project has various unique requirements and without having the ability to manage your own workload and time effectively, then it is difficult to be able to give the client the attention and performance they need. It is important to understand what the client needs at an early stage and being able to establish an effective planning strategy for them.
From your previous experience, in what way does hiring a planner help with a project?
Employing a planner from the start of a project, no matter what scale, offers clients with an advisor who is able to help navigate them through the complex and sometimes frustrating planning process. Planning is constantly evolving and having a consultant who can help assess planning risks at an early stage usually results generally in a more positive outcome. I have been involved in developments where planning has been more of an afterthought and those are generally developments where more planning issues occur.