Where do you work?
I am a Director and Co-founder at Hybrid Planning & Development, an East-London based planning consultancy specialising in urban, mixed-use development. My co-director, Claire Day and I set up the business to offer a fresh perspective and strong female voice in a very male-dominated sector. We pride ourselves on being a planning consultancy that’s enjoyable to work with and for, and have grown to a team of 13. Our work is nationwide and includes residential, commercial, heritage and high-rise schemes. We were proud to be Highly Commended in the 2021 RTPI London Planning Excellence Awards, meaning we’re one of the top two private planning consultancies in the Capital.
Route into planning
Tell us about your route into planning
My route was quite unconventional; I didn’t do a Masters and instead came into the profession through work experience. I did a Geography degree but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do so I took a work experience placement with Iceni. Here, I spent time working in both planning and community engagement teams and I was hooked! I also did a secondment for Harlow Council as a part-time case officer which was one of my best decisions. I genuinely believe every good planner should have experience doing both as it widens understanding and means you are better placed to advise. I left Iceni in 2018 to set-up Hybrid and used the A-APC experience route to become Chartered.
Helping the public
How does your role involve helping the public?
My goal is always to make places better, encouraging regeneration and re-use so that towns and cities can go from being a negative contributor to an asset. Obviously, this benefits those who live and work in these environments, but I try to go further than this and encourage communities to be proactive in the development of their local area. At Hybrid, we operate a dedicated system of public consultation events to ensure local people can comment on and shape their neighbourhood. I also volunteer with Planning Aid England, community action groups and local charities to help the public confidently engage with the planning process.
Helping my community
Tell us about any work you’ve done to help your local community
I’m keen to share my career path with the next generation as proof that a successful planning role doesn’t have to be defined by academics. At Hybrid, we have regular work experience students and interns; support RTPI Young Planners; ran career workshops for local charity, the Jason Roberts Foundation; and I’m just confirming a new partnership with Hertford Regional College to offer work placements/apprenticeships. Lastly, as a female business owner, I’m keen to champion young women and we have sponsored two female race kart drivers since 2018.
Your spare time
What do you do when you are not planning?
I’m a working mother so most of my free time is spent with my 2 year-old daughter, Mia. My husband and I really enjoying spending time with her and our family in Spain; we’re very close. When I get time to myself, I love tap dancing – it’s a great way to keep fit!