Jessica is a Senior Planner at Aspbury Planning Ltd. and is a Co-Chair of the East Midlands Women in Planning Committee. She has a diverse planning experience including large- and small-scale residential development, industrial, business and commercial, leisure, tourism, agricultural and renewable energy developments. She has also previously worked in Development Control as a Consultant Planning Case Officer handling householder planning applications on behalf of a Local Planning Authority who contracted the services of Aspbury Planning. In her spare time, Jessica likes to bake, travel to new places and has recently discovered a passion for vegetable growing!
What does your typical working day look like?
My working day is very different to what I am used to but I am quickly adapting to our new reality. Although I miss being in our office environment with the team around me, we are keeping in touch with daily virtual meetings, whatsapp and emails. The joys of modern technology!
Morning tea and toast. The start of every great day!
8am – 4
I have always been an early bird at work and I have continued that in my lock down routine. We have a team meeting at 9:30am every day at the moment to catch up on various projects, any management matters and just to check everyone is still doing well and if anyone requires any support. I also tend to organise and programme in all of my tasks each week so I can stay on top of everything and track the progress of my various jobs. We are continuing to progress many applications and are working proactively with Local Planning Authorities, consultees and consultants to ensure we maintain momentum as best we can!
When I finish work, I will write a list of all my tasks for the following day to make sure I am clear on my priorities as soon as I sit down in the morning. I then tidy my workspace (the spare room!).
On an Evening…
I usually head out for a walk locally but I’m also enjoying getting out in the garden and cooking more adventurously!
How do you unwind on an evening or weekend?
I usually spend a lot of time with family and friends, since I can’t see them at the moment we are facetiming much more. We have also been getting on with all sorts of DIY projects that have been put off previously. I’m diversifying my baking and cooking repertoire and I’ve even had some success with growing vegetables from seeds.
What is the most rewarding project you have worked on?
I would say that the most rewarding project in my planning career was a scheme that I worked on for the sub-division of a large farmhouse to provide several residential units, the conversion of two historic barn buildings, to provide two dwellings and the erection of a new dwelling. The site was disused and vacant, the development ensured the preservation and enhancement of the buildings in an attractive and prominent village location. I am also extremely proud of all that we have achieved on the Women in Planning East Midlands Committee and I am excited to continue growing the branch and our network in the future!
What are the best and worst bits about your job?
I am always pleased to achieve a positive outcome in whatever I am working on but I also enjoy getting out on site, meeting new people and working through complex issues to achieve a desired outcome. In terms of the negatives, there are always elements which are less enjoyable in any job, from my perspective, I sometimes find policy research to be arduous.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career and why?
My University Lecturers were a big influence on my early years, their enthusiasm for planning really encouraged me to follow the career path that has led me to where I am now!
What is the best piece of advice you have received in your career?
To be open minded about the work you will do. Throughout my career I have been involved in a wide variety of projects, everything from large residential schemes and bespoke developments on historic country Estates to new pig barns and polytunnel development, every day is different which has been a brilliant experience and keeps things interesting.
What is your favourite place?
I really enjoy visiting new places so I wouldn’t necessarily say I have a favourite place however I do love to be in the countryside or by the sea!