Where do you work?
I work from my office in Richmond North Yorkshire in a central location from a retrofitted historic church. I believe it is important that we support town centres and add to the life and vitality of place and support the high street through being visible. One day I hope to have a shopfront with a complementary retail concept to promote good design and planning as a lifestyle choice and a regular place for debate and sharing experience.
Route into planning
Tell us about your route in to planning
My initial training was in architecture, and I do still design buildings for social enterprises and for a limited number of clients whose motivation is sustainable design and innovation.
I complemented this with a master’s in urban design after being in a wide range of roles including working for the Probation Service, community furniture stores, children’s playschemes, garden design and maintenance and marketing for the engineering sector in the North East.
I learned a lot about business and society through these roles and this has informed my practice as a Chartered Town Planner. I was part of the last cohort of the Special Entry Route to the Institute.
Helping the public
How does your role involve helping the public?
I am a specialist in participatory planning methods and I have used these in my practice in both the public and private sectors. I am determined to demystify the planning system and process and have worked with all ages and groups revealing the mechanisms behind placemaking and empowering citizens to positively engage with planning.
My practice is all about inclusion and representation and breaking down the barriers for groups that find it hard to engage with the system. My masterplanning work is community led and has led to significant funding being catalyzed.
Helping my community
Tell us about any work you’ve done to help your local community
I have facilitated workshops with the Business and Tourism Association locally to undertake a street audit, access, and connectivity study to engage with the local Highways team and secure improvements to the public realm through engagement with key businesses and landowners.
There are plans afoot for a Neighborhood Plan but this is not the year where I can support this. I work closely with a local social enterprise, Just the Job, supporting the Big Green Build project for a new headquarters and gardens which has just broken ground at the end of 2020.
Your spare time
What do you do when you are not planning?
I am a musician and songwriter and greatly enjoys writing and performing original material. This interest extends also to being an avid music fan, attending gigs and festivals and still one day hope to perform at Glastonbury. To stay fit and to support my mental health I am a keen walker and have walked large sections of the Camino de Santiago. My next pilgrimage will be from Portugal to Santiago de Compostela.