Five minutes with Steve Hughes, Associate Director Planning at Countryside

 A lot of work goes on behind the scenes here at Countryside and this month we’ve been speaking to Steve Hughes from our planning department to give you a taste of what goes on before we even start on site.

Tell me about your career so far… 

Studying law and economics at school sparked an interest in land issues and my curiosity about what you can and can’t do with it led me to taking a vocational degree at university. I knew that as a profession, planning had good prospects and so I became a Chartered Town Planner. I have since worked with a mix of public and private organisations and joined the planning team at Countryside over one and a half years ago now, bringing with me over 16 years experience.


Describe what a typical day is like for you.

The role itself is extremely versatile, so no two days are the same. I could be working with the land team one day to assess new opportunities and with the design and development team the next day to find solutions to obstacles faced in the planning process. I’m often away from the office as well, either visiting potential new sites, or attending committee meetings to talk residents through our proposals.


What do you like the most about your job?

I love working with so many different characters and I love watching a development come to life – we can start off with a piece of land that has a number of planning restrictions on it and it is sometimes a challenge to find the right resolution. It is really satisfying when a planning application is accepted, especially if it has been a tricky one – it’s nice to know that build can begin because of the work I have done and that new homes and communities will be made.


What would surprise people most about your job?

I imagine that most would be surprised to know how much public speaking is involved, but I spend a lot of time presenting to planning committees and consulting with local residents. The process of submitting planning permission is far more complex than most realise – it’s my job to forsee any issues and try to ensure that new developments are built with minimum disruption to the local area.


What job would you do instead of planning?

In another life, I may have owned my creperie business – it’s a little bizarre I know, but just something I always fancied doing. I think I’ll stick to what I know best for now though!

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