Where do you work?
I work at Hill Group, a leading 5-star housebuilder delivering both private sale and affordable homes primarily in London and the south east of England. Life at Hill is exciting, as the company is growing exponentially and we’ve embarked on a journey to be the leading, most trusted housebuilder, creating exceptional homes and sustainable communities. Hill has won a number of accolades, including ‘Housebuilder of the year’ at the highly coveted WhatHouse? Awards in 2020. This follows several industry awards of 2017, 2018, and 2019.
Tell us about your route into planning
- Although born in London, I grew up in South America and the Caribbean. I was lucky to do my undergrad in Jamaica, where I was Student Union President and keenly interested in politics. I decided to move back to the UK and applied for masters courses which involved politics, international relations and international development. However, after submitting about 10 applications I decided to apply based solely on the name of the course (yes, I was being lazy).
- One such course was the ‘MSc International Planning and Development’ from Cardiff University, which I thought related to politics and international relations BUT it turned out to be International (town) Planning and (real estate) Development. I received a scholarship from a charity called the West India Committee and well, the rest is history…
Helping the public
How does your role involve helping the public?
I manage the development process from concept to delivery meaning I appoint and supervise a project team, oversee the budget, secure planning consent and add tangible economic, social and environmental value. I’m heavily involved with public consultations, engagement with elected politicians, meetings with key stakeholders and listen to residents to understand local issues. I believe that planning must be delivered in the public’s interest and I’m proud to be involved in schemes which regenerate dilapidated areas, deliver sustainable developments and provide solutions that will bring about a positive lasting impact on neighbourhoods.
Tell us about any work you’ve done to help your local community
On a few occasions I found myself as the de facto local spokesperson when planning applications were submitted in my local community. Although massively pro development, I’ve successfully objected to schemes to which locals were opposed, but only when there was substantial planning merit for making the case against the applications.
What do you do when you are not planning?
I love sport, especially football and cricket - I’m a keen Chelsea FC fan and often go to matches with mates. I also support the West Indies, which brings me much heartache. Sport aside, I’m a bit of a foodie and of Caribbean descent, so I really enjoy popping into 'Lulu's Caribbean Cuisine' and 'Granny's Caribbean Take Away', both in north London. I also frequent 'The Faltering Fullback' for a good pub quiz night and ‘New Beacon Books’ to have a nosey for new reading material.
Since joining the planning profession I’ve served as a member of both the South West and West Midlands Young Planners Committee, where I was Chair in 2020. I was a Planning Aid England volunteer and member of the RTPI West Midlands Regional Activities Committee.
I was delighted to be awarded the RTPI West Midlands Young Planner of the Year Award in 2020 and Commended as the RTPI Young Planner of the Year at the national awards in 2021.