28 April 2015
The wonderful thing about being a town planner is that you can make a positive difference and see the results. This is particularly true for urban regeneration, my specialist area, which transforms places for the better. Making a difference is what drew me to planning in the first place. I studied for a BA (Hons) in Town Planning at Newcastle University, followed by a Masters in the same subject, and joined WYG in 2002.
My first project here was an urban regeneration scheme for Gloucester Quays and we are still working on it now! This project, straddling the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal, includes 1,000 new homes, a factory outlet centre, restaurants, offices and a new canal bridge. It’s exciting to visit the site now and see how we have helped transform an area of run-down, derelict industrial buildings surrounding the listed Llanthony Priory. We’ve worked hard to achieve this, dealing with the discharge of 73 conditions on the original planning permission, numerous alterations and reserved matters, and delivered major infrastructure improvements. We are currently ‘renewing’ the outline planning permission and will then help with the outstanding phases of the scheme. I’m really proud of the impact our work has had - the 25 hectare site now includes a new college campus, pub and canalside walkway which is a much better setting for the priory.
Planning is a fast-changing profession, partly because it’s high on the political agenda, so it’s important to keep up to speed. Working at WYG is a continuous learning process, both through CPD and on-the-job experience, but that keeps it fresh and ensures that our efforts will continue to make a difference.