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Deborah Baker

Planner, Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners


Deborah BakerThe planning module of my undergraduate History and Environment degree revealed how my fascination for cities and their populations could be transformed into a dynamic career. I was fortunate enough to join Salford City Council's Planning team and to enrol on the University of Manchester's part-time Master of Planning degree. My work time was busy drafting policy comments on applications, carrying out Building for Life design assessments, and undertaking public consultations on the emerging Core Strategy, including trialling the use of Facebook as a forum for comment.

I volunteered with a local Building Preservation Trust, assisting in the production of an Options Appraisal seeking the viable, historically sensitive rescue of a derelict country house estate. I found the time to write my dissertation, a design study seeking the re-absorption of Northampton's much-denigrated Brutalist bus station into the cityscape as a key heritage monument.

Now in consultancy at Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners, I have been busy on a range of assignments, strengthening my skills in heritage impact assessment, and becoming familiar with the requirements of a range of other development arenas including retail and residential schemes. Now the L-APC is over, there are plenty of new challenges!

My tips for new candidates are:

  • Be informed - Interrogate each word of the guidance in order to fully grasp what is required. List the requirements and ensure your submission clearly achieves each one.
  • Ask the right people - Seek out knowledgeable individuals who have tackled the L-APC recently. Ask them lots of questions and ideally persuade them to mentor you. Ask at work, at RTPI Young Planners events, or just call the RTPI.
  • Don't panic: make a start - It's never too early to familiarise yourself with the competencies and start populating the log book with your tasks and projects. 
  • Tell colleagues - Let them know that you are applying for the L-APC and will require varied experience and support.
  • Inform others - As much as you may want to forget about the L-APC once you have your magic MRTPI letters, there is a real shortage of informed mentors who have been through the process themselves. I've found mentoring very rewarding.

Please note: To stay fit for purpose, L-APC requirements do change over time. For the most up to date advice please always refer to the L-APC Guidance on the Licenitate APC webpage. Candidate details provided here are current at time of L-APC submission in 2012.