Profile

Rosie Peniston

"I have always been interested in the built environment and the functionality of space within towns and cities. I love how buildings and places can stimulate our senses..."

Job Title: Strategic Planner

Employer: Story Homes Limited

Job: Planner

About my job

What does your department do?

The Land department are tasked with identifying land with the potential to obtain planning permission for new homes and the creation and enhancement of sustainable communities. This involves identifying new sites in areas where there is a shortage of homes available to the community and in areas where the impact of development on the environment would not be damaging.

My department is therefore responsible for acquiring housing land from landowners, land promoters and agents through legal agreements that then enable other departments in Story Homes to operate in obtaining planning permission through the council, designing and eventually building the houses on site.

What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

On a typical day I usually have a number of potential land opportunities to assess from a planning perspective. I need to look into any policy and environmental constraints that would affect development obtaining planning permission for example Greenbelt or flood risk. I also need to assess whether the land is suitably placed within a settlement to promote sustainable lifestyles and happy communities such as measuring distances to shops and schools so people have the option to walk rather than drive. I then need to understand whether the council have a Local Plan than is up-to-date and prepared positively top plan for the communities and new homes that are required. This involves putting together a planning strategy with a number of scenario’s and calculations which then justify why this land is suitable for new homes. My day can then involve either a site visit to check that the land is in a good location or a meeting with a landowner to discuss Story Homes, our planning strategy for their land and timescales in obtaining planning permission.

What do you like about what you do?

I love that I am so actively involved in a wider process that brings homes to people that need somewhere to live and in the places they want to live. So many people do not have this choice because housing delivery has not met housing need in past years.

I also really enjoy meeting landowners and interacting with a number of professionals in the development industry with creative and intelligent ideas for new development. The whole process of finding land and coming up with strategies for its promotion through the planning system is exciting with new things to learn everyday!

Why did you choose this career?

I have always been interested in the built environment and the functionality of space within towns and cities. I love how buildings and places can stimulate our senses so I decided a career in planning would allow me to explore many avenues in the creation of communities and enhancement of the places we live in and love.

What qualifications did you need to get this job?

I needed GCSE’s, A-levels and a degree in Town and Country Planning. I also undertook a Masters degree in Town Planning to further my career options.

Is there any particular advice you would give to someone looking for a career in your area of work?

I would definitely encourage someone to get as much experience as possible, which I know is commonly encouraged. Rather than weeks and weeks at once particular company however (which is still worthwhile experience!) I think it’s really beneficial to get experience in both the public and private sector. Try your local council for development control or spatial planning experience. In the private sector, there is a range of opportunities in planning consultancies, house builders or even in specialist and technical consultancies such as ecology.

Questions & Answers

What hobbies or interests do you have?

I really enjoy up-cycling furniture, sourcing it from charity shops and car boots and transforming it with chalk paint.

What’s your favourite type of music?

I’m into rock music and classic rock mainly but I also really enjoy R&B and Indie music.

What’s your favourite film / film genre?

I’m not a huge film lover really but when I do I prefer comedy films and anything light hearted. Nothing scary for me! I did see Inside Out recently which I thought was brilliant.

Where’s your favourite place to go on holiday?

Has to be the South of France, it always delivers the best of everything, food, wine, sun..did I mention food?

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