Where do you work?
I work in Swansea Council’s Planning and City Regeneration department within the Placemaking and Strategic Planning Section. Our team promotes placemaking as the overarching planning principle governing development across Swansea and delivers an ambitious strategic planning agenda that enhances the built and natural environment for all.
Since starting my role, I have been supporting staff in all matters including the preparation of plans, policies, guidance, and strategies. This has included working on our third Annual Monitoring Report (AMR), an extensive Section 106 Agreement project, policy responses to planning applications and other related tasks.
I am very lucky to be working in a local authority which is witnessing exciting developments that have already emerged, are in progress or are planned for the future. Furthermore, I am looking forward to assisting with Swansea Council’s LDP Review Process in preparation for a new and updated Local Development Plan over the next few years.
Route into planning
Tell us about your route into planning
Although I was interested in planning as a career whilst studying Geography as an undergraduate at Swansea University, I decided upon graduating that I wanted to enter the field of teaching instead. I studied for a PGCE in Post-Compulsory Education and Training at UWTSD, with the intention of teaching Geography at A-Level to a post-16 audience. Despite achieving a Distinction, my teaching placement was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and I finished my studies with a lack of confidence and ability to teach Geography at this level, which led me to consider an alternative career path.
After becoming aware of numerous public and private posts in planning and learning of the need to complete a RTPI-approved planning qualification to secure such opportunities, I reignited my interest and made the decision to study for a master’s degree in Spatial Planning and Development at Cardiff University. My dissertation focused on the effect of COVID-19 in planning public spaces in Swansea City Centre, which provided me with valuable knowledge and ultimately led to my success in the recruitment process to my current post in Swansea Council. Without a shadow of a doubt, studying for a master’s degree and completing my career-change to planning is the best decision I have ever made!
Helping the public
How does your role involve helping the public?
My role includes so much more to help the general public than just simply addressing planning queries. Our section strongly encourages public engagement and always acts in the public interest by ensuring that new developments comply with key policies of Swansea’s local development plan. This means that any new development should promote sustainability and well-being, as well as benefitting members of the public across the county.
A recent example that I have been involved with concerns the redevelopment of Castle Square in Swansea City Centre, which I have provided an effective input by making important suggestions based on the findings of my master’s dissertation in which I studied the site. I ensured that my recommendations would promote an accessible, socially dynamic, and safe environment at Castle Square with an enhanced public realm in order to benefit the people of Swansea.
Helping my community
Tell us about any work you’ve done to help your local community
Swansea Council is responsible for providing new homes, jobs, infrastructure, and community facilities to support economic growth and raise standards of living, while respecting the County’s cultural and natural heritage. It is crucial that we plan growth properly to maximise community benefit and that we, as a team, help to bring forward development that is in the best interests of the County and its people. This is what our team is striving to achieve through all aspects of our work.
Aside from my role, I have previously held the responsibility of a key worker during the COVID-19 pandemic whilst working part-time in a supermarket during my studies. This primarily involved ensuring that shelves were stocked with enough essential supplies for customers within my local community.
Your spare time
What do you do when you are not planning?
Outside of planning, I am a keen electric guitar player with over 10 years of playing experience and I am currently studying for my Grade 6 certificate. Naturally, I am very fond of rock music, particularly hard rock and punk rock, with my favorite artists including Arctic Monkeys, Royal Blood and IDLES just to name a few. Furthermore, I have previously enjoyed singing within the Bass section of seasonal choirs, especially around the festive period.
As a Geography graduate, I am motivated to travel and expand my coverage of countries and places around the world, but I always remain intent on spending time in the natural environment closer to home, with the Gower AONB as one of my preferences.
Skiing is one of my personal favourite hobbies and I am excited to be heading to Courchevel and the Three Valleys to ski this winter after eight years away from the slopes! I also enjoy testing my general knowledge by taking part in weekly pub quizzes, as well as engaging in other social activities with friends.