My planning career began in March 2009 when I joined Michael Burroughs Associates – a Belfast based independent planning consultancy engaged in all types of spatial planning work.
I have always had a keen interest in the law and while on a Masters course in 2009/10 at Queen's University Belfast I decided to develop my knowledge and understanding by preparing my thesis on planning and judicial review; which was and continues to be a key growth area for the private planning sector.
I learned a lot during this period of individual study and have enjoyed being able to transfer that knowledge into my professional life. The interpretation and developmentof planning law is now one of my main work interests. I particularly enjoy learning about new case law and legislation and thinking how it might be applicable to our clients'portfolio of land and property interests. This helps ensure my advice to clients is soundly based. Achieving a successful outcome for them is one of the most satisfying aspects of the job.
Working in a small firm has many benefits. I have gained experience of a wide range of projects including retail and waste and have had the opportunity to develop another of my main interests, enforcement.
Because MBA has an associated London office, I have also gained experience on many English projects. This has developed myknowledge and understanding of how planning can be suitably adapted to deal with differing circumstances and contexts.
Looking to the future I intend to consolidate and expand my experience gained in the private sector and further pursue my planning law and enforcement interests. I look forward to seeing how the NI planning sector develops as powers are transferred to new District Councils under the Review of Public Administration.
My tips for upcoming candidates are:
- Complete the log book every month.
- Do not adopt a tick-box approach to the assessment criteria – use one or two case studies if possible.
- Ensure case studies are well contextualised so that the assessor understands the issues, as well as demonstrating an understanding of context.
- Be reflective and self evaluate your performance at all times.
- Ensure all components of the submission are interrelated.
- Specify realistic and timetabled objectives in the PDP.
- Talk about your submission to your peers and more established members of the profession.
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.