Coming from a background in graphic design my career has spanned the spheres of not just Landscape Architecture, but Urban Design and Planning since my graduation in 2006.
My first job was at Gillespies in Leeds. At this time the north of England was a focus for urban regeneration and government spending. These were good times and I was lucky enough to work on masterplans for towns such as Gainsborough, Featherstone, Carlisle and Spennymoor. I also prepared public realm guides for Gateshead and Rotherham. This was exciting work where we designed spaces, created concept plans, wrote public realm guidance and undertook community events.
But in 2009 the recession hit and I made the move to North Devon. I was unemployed for 6 months so entered a competition to build a show garden at the BBC Gardener’s World Live Show in 2010. As it turned out not that many people entered and I was one of three winners. I had visions of being a successful Garden Designer…I would make it to Chelsea… I would be on tv….but where were the lucrative clients that I needed to fund my dream?… I needed a job.
One month later I was working part-time as a Planning Policy Officer at Mid Devon District Council. Government spending had now shrivelled up like the lib dems promise to protect student fees. But as luck would have it, the Council had no money for consultant fees and the task of managing and writing the Mid Devon Landscape Character Assessment, and later the Mid Devon Town and Village Character Assessment, solely fell to me. To increase my hours I was seconded to the North Devon AONB where I worked on a European Funded Project writing a design guide for the Hartland Peninsula. These were good projects and I enjoyed my time as a public sector worker.
In 2012 my secondment came to an end and the realisation that I needed full time work hit home. Fortunately employment opportunities had started to improve by early 2013 and I decided to leave North Devon and move back to Gloucestershire. Now I work for Pegasus Planning Group writing Landscape and Visual Impact Assessments for residential and solar schemes, and producing Landscape Ecological Management Plans and Landscape Mitigation Plans for the same. On occasion I produce water colour sketches to support the work of our Landscape Design team. In my free time (if such a thing exists) I do assignments for my Masters in Urban and Rural Planning which I hope to finish one day. But perhaps the most fulfillment I derive from my career is the voluntary work I do for my local Parish Council and its Neighbourhood Plan. If the Government has got anything right… perhaps this is it.