Malcolm Hockaday FRTPI, Director, Lichfields
Learning something new every day is the greatest challenge and pleasure of having a longterm career in town planning.
From my early days in local government – working first on employment studies, environmentalimpact of roads and Heritage Coast and later introducing the then-'new' local plan system to a small local planning authority – to a current-day workload including 5-year housing land supply, heritage assessments, opencast coaling and superstore development means that you always have to open to new information and understanding.
In town planning, whilst there are a variety of career options involving such specialisms and each requires constantly updated professional knowledge, I have followed the more generalist approach of knowing enough about most things, so that the 'skill' becomes the understanding and articulating the balance of competing concerns and opportunities whilst seeking the support of colleagues for necessary specialist inputs. Being an expert witness means that you need such wide-ranging knowledge.
Now FRTPI and Company Chairman of Lichfields, this allows me to still handle a mixed workload of commissions for both public and private sectors; being advisor or promoter at different times ensures that I have to act with full professional consistency, whatever the pressures, in order to sleep at night.
With change being the only certainty.