UK: My Career So Far In Planning

Last Updated: 9 February 2018
Article by Phil Wright

The first lesson my fellow undergraduate coursemates and I were taught at university was that 'planners do not plan towns'. A useful clarification, but what followed was arguably more noteworthy. It was explained that we had picked an exciting time to be involved in planning, even if we were not to be gifted a blank slate on which to design new settlements.

The significance and excitement of planning has only become more apparent to me since joining Deloitte Real Estate in September 2016.

My decision to study planning at university was, in hindsight, a slight jump into the unknown. It was only when completing work experience at a private sector consultancy just before starting university that I began to first understand the planning process. What first attracted me to planning, however, was my love of human geography, as well as a long-standing interest in cities and the buildings and streets which form them. From a young age I always enjoyed seeing the computer-generated images which preview how a new development will look, and my subsequent interest in how these developments came about provided just the incentive I needed to choose the subject.

My university course was a mixture of planning and urban design theories, as well as their practical application. The first year of my degree included an introduction to the history of urban form, lending some explanation to why cities look the way they do today. The year also introduced us to the social, environmental and ecological challenges which need to be addressed. The remainder of the degree focussed heavily on these challenges, whilst gradually covering more on the everyday practice of planning, with modules on planning policy and legislation. Several university trips allowed us to see first-hand some of the case studies we had looked at in class, including the New Town street formation in Edinburgh, and the famous Bijlmermeer development in Amsterdam. The opportunity to sample the local pubs and bars was of course also welcomed...

It would be easy to suggest that much of the theory I learnt at university has been irrelevant to everyday practice in the private sector, especially when much of it has been around for a considerable length of time. However, I have found that an awareness of planning theory has forced me to think more of the wider implications of the work I do on a daily basis. For example, the work we looked at by Jan Gehl, such as his book Cities for People (a personal favourite), has made me think more of how the spaces and projects I have worked on will be used by the people they are designed for. Similarly, the lessons from Kevin Lynch's Image of the City (now more than 50 years old), can help understand the importance of 'legibility' (that is the way we recognise and use places) in major residential developments, and how residents will rely on landmarks to navigate their way around an area.

Learning from historic approaches, successful or not, to challenges, is helpful for me in what feels like an increasingly turbulent time for the planning and housing industry. Four months before I started at Deloitte Real Estate, London saw the arrival of a new Mayor, Sadiq Khan. His priorities were clear. His manifesto explicitly stated that his "...first priority will be tackling the housing crisis...", and the influence of this priority is now evident, through the publication of policy documents such as the Affordable Housing and Viability SPG, and in the higher provision of affordable housing in residential planning applications since Khan came into office. This, combined with the political climate, meant that my first year was far from typical.

I have enjoyed the range of work I have been involved in, and every day seems to present a different range of tasks to complete. At one moment I can be working with colleagues to devise a strategy to secure permission for a large, complex development, and then the next I can be describing the inclusion of a ha-ha wall in a proposed residential development (although admittedly this has only happened once!). I have worked on vast residential schemes, temporary structures in Bloomsbury, historic estates in Greenwich, the major refurbishment of several university buildings, the redevelopment of underground stations, and much, much more. I have enjoyed my involvement in the very early stages of some of these projects, and look forward to seeing how they progress towards completion. Seeing the final, physical results of a project I have worked on is something I particularly like about working in this industry.

The abovementioned variety of projects I have been working on is particularly evident when considering their location in London. Whilst I have worked often on historic, listed buildings in Central London, I have also worked on several projects in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The Central London work has introduced me to some of the issues that only historic buildings present, but also to space constraints; both horizontally and vertically (especially with the protected views which exist across the city). The projects in the Olympic Park, arguably some of the most exciting in London, will help deliver some of the much-promised Olympic Legacy, and to a certain extent do provide some of the 'blank slate' opportunities I never expected to experience.

My fledgling career to date has shown exactly what was meant by my lecturer when they explained that it was an important but exciting time to be in the industry. It is clear the delivery of housing is a crucial issue, and it seems concerns related to climate change are likely to worsen in years to come. However, it is not all doom and gloom, as new technologies will, for example, dramatically alter house-building (e.g. 3D printed homes and flat pack style homes built off-site), and will make us rethink how streets are used (e.g. self-driving cars and 'smart cities'). Whilst it is not clear how these new challenges will play out, the role of planning in addressing them is unquestionable. What an exciting prospect!

See here for details of student opportunities at Deloitte Real Estate, or here for details of our current London Planning team vacancies.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions