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Rachel Clements

Planner, Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners

I gRachel Clements - APC Outstanding Achiever 2013raduated from the University of Sheffield in July 2011 after obtaining a BA (Hons) and Master of Planning Degree in Urban Studies and Planning.

I worked full time for two organisations over the two years prior to my APC submission. Between July 2011 and September 2012 I worked for Breckland District Council (BDC) as an employee of Capita Symonds (CS) who undertake the delivery of BDC's Planning Services. I joined as an Assistant Development Management Consultant in the Development Management Team and managed a case load of planning applications.  Initially I researched and responded to informal enquiries, and in just over a year I was responsible for the determination of 265 planning applications including: householder, listed building, change of use and advertisement applications, discharge of conditions, lawful use certificates, extension of time limits and non-material amendment applications. With experience I also became involved in appeals work for the Enforcement Team and also wrote and submitted an appeal for a refused householder application (outside of BDC) as part of CS external working arrangements.

Since October 2012 I have worked at Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners in the Economics and Regeneration Team. This involves a different type of planning work to my previous job with this role focused largely towards planning policy and the production of evidence based studies. Up until the time of my submission I also had involvement in the production of SHLAAs, SHMAs, ELRs and EIA socio economic chapters. As a result of the two jobs I had a thorough grounding in development control, as well as the preparation of plans, policies and related documents.

Rachel's top tips for future candidates:

  • Have the assessment criteria in front of you when you are writing every component of your submission. It can be really easy to not appreciate that you are displaying these skills when you are undertaking a task, but on reflection, whilst looking at the list, there will be things that come to mind.
  • Do not feel the need to be too knowledgeable, too soon. It is ok to acknowledge that at the start of your two years of professional experience that there are gaps in your knowledge and assessment criteria you are not yet meeting.  Allow yourself to show progression by reflecting on when you did achieve certain criteria. Make it easy for the assessor by linking back within your log book to identify where you previously noted a need to develop knowledge/a skill (at a given date) and that you are now achieving it.
  • It is probably self-explanatory, but give yourself enough time to complete the submission. The submission will take up a significant amount of time; it cannot be done quickly. Re-drafting it to get to the right word count, tweaking the wording to get across how you have met the criteria and proof reading alone takes several days.    
  • Get a mentor as early as possible. Constructive criticism from someone who has been through the process is by far the most useful advice you can receive.


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 2013.