Where do you work?
I work at DWD, a property and planning consultancy based in Central London but working across the UK. The company employs a mixture of chartered planners and surveyors and serves residential, commercial, retail, infrastructure and private clients. My team specialises in energy infrastructure and industrial development, including the delivery of Development Consent Orders (DCOs) for large scale energy projects, which are consented under a dedicated planning regime.
Route into planning
Tell us about your route into planning
When I was at sixth form, I was a bit lost when deciding what to study at university until my dad, who knew I enjoyed geography and had been playing SimCity for years, suggested I watched The Planners, a BBC Two documentary which followed local planning officers and their day-to-day work. I could instantly see that planning was a worthwhile career where every day you can make a genuine difference and shape developments that might influence people’s lives for hundreds of years. I did a week’s work experience at Rushcliffe Borough Council and decided to go on and study City and Regional Planning at Cardiff University. While at Cardiff University I undertook a very valuable Placement year at the Vale of Glamorgan Council before finishing my degree and starting at my current company.
How does your role involve helping the public?
A lot of the projects my team works on are for renewable or low carbon energy generation, particularly solar farms and carbon capture power stations. Each one of these projects improves our ability to produce clean energy, reduce reliance on fossil fuels and fight climate change.
More personally, much of the work I do involves organising and carrying out public consultations ahead of submitting planning and DCO applications. The DCO process requires developers of infrastructure projects to consult the widely, and have regard to all consultation responses, before submitting a DCO application. This can involve explaining technical concepts and jargon in a way that is concise and accessible for everyone. I work to ensure members of the community have the information they need and answer queries about proposed developments and the planning process.
Helping my community
Tell us about any work you’ve done to help your local community
While at university, I volunteered with Planning Aid Wales. While I contributed as an office volunteer my work helped to create events and guidance that assisted community councillors and regular members of the public to understand and navigate the Welsh planning system. I was also on the Young Planners Cymru Steering Group for two years and President of Cardiff’s Geography and Planning Society for a year, doing my best to help planning students and those at the beginning of their careers.
Your spare time
What do you do when you are not planning?
I love watching and playing just about any sport but have been a huge football fan my whole life and played in many teams over the years, including my current work 5-a-side team. When I get the chance, I follow Nottingham Forest home and away, while also visiting new grounds around London. This summer I am looking forward to attending the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and the Women’s Euros.