Where do you work?
I work at Lanpro Services, a multi-disciplinary company that has planners, architects and experts in heritage, archaeology and landscape. We opened our new offices in York this year at the old Terry’s Factory where they used to make the Chocolate Oranges. Some of our team were involved in the scheme so it’s great to be working at a site we helped regenerate. I am really excited to be working at Lanpro because we are growing as a company and it is a fantastic opportunity to share my experience with the wider planning team and new staff.
Route into planning
Tell us about your route into planning
My undergraduate degree was in History and my first ‘job’ was a 3-month voluntary position at the National Trust in a 16th-century coaching inn. Payment was in free accommodation – in a haunted room. Next, I worked at Historic England as an assistant in the planning and development team while I did a postgraduate degree in historic building conservation. I learnt a lot from the inspectors advising on sites as diverse as huge wind farms to ruined monuments.
I worked for the Diocese of Lincoln for two years, advising the 631 parish churches how to care for, manage and reinvigorate their ancient places of worship. This was a very people-focused role where I helped communities do the best with the limited resources they had.
For the last seven years, I have been a heritage consultant at Purcell Architecture in York, working with public and private clients to understand what is special about their historic buildings and help inform a sustainable long-term future.
I made the switch to Lanpro in August this year and I am really excited to see what the future holds!
Helping the public
How does your role involve helping the public?
Planning for change to our historic environment is much more than protecting grand stately homes, it is about sustaining the places we interact with on a daily basis in our towns and cities. Historic buildings give a sense of place to our everyday lives and make a big contribution to the economy and tourism. In the current climate emergency, we need to make our historic buildings resilient to the impacts of climate change as well as ensure they don’t contribute to future carbon emissions. I work with clients to help ‘retrofit’ historic places to improve energy efficiency and find new uses, which is vital if we are to meet our net zero targets.
Tell us about any work you've done to help your local community?
I am an elected member of the Chester Cathedral and Southwell Minster Fabric Advisory Committees, which are panels of experts who advise and approve change to each of England’s 42 cathedrals. Southwell Minster have just finished a major lottery-funded project to conserve the medieval carvings in the chapter house, provide education opportunities and make it accessible to all. It has been a privilege to work with the team to produce a conservation management plan there and I am excited to be supporting them in a voluntary capacity going forward.
Your spare time
What do you do when you are not planning?
When I am not planning, I still like to go exploring historic sites, especially industrial ruins and abandoned places. I have only been to a third of England’s 42 cathedrals – so the rest are on my bucket list. I have a collection of vintage cameras that I like to try and use as much as possible when I visit sites. Also, I am up for any ridiculous team building events on offer!