This week we sat down with one of our Chartered Planners, Alannah, to find out more about the work she does and why she enjoys doing it.
Could you please tell me your name and your role at EP.
My name is Alannah and I’m a Chartered Planner here at EP.
And how long have you been at EP?
I started in October of 2018.
What would you say your biggest highlights have been in your career?
Being lead planner for the Northumberland Line project which includes the construction of six new railway stations between Newcastle and Ashington and the re-introduction of passenger services on an existing freight line.
At the end of 2021, I stepped in last minute to be an expert witness at my first public inquiry for the Transport and Works Act Order. I felt very nervous and inexperienced but having been involved in the project since April 2019, my knowledge of the scheme gave me the reassurance to undertake the challenge ahead. The experience has been invaluable for my career and bolstered my confidence exponentially.
As of March 2022, all six stations have been granted planning permission. This is a massive milestone having worked on the project since I was still a planning student.
And how did you get into your role?
I got into planning because I have always been interested in how the world works and how social, economic and environmental factors influence the built and natural environment. This led me to study an undergraduate degree in geography. I decided to study planning because I realised that planning gives me the opportunity to shape the places I have always been interested in learning about.
I completed a MSc in Urban Planning part-time over two years. In my second year I worked part time at EP, becoming full time in September 2019 following the completion of my studies.
What is your favourite sector of planning to work in, and why?
Whilst working on railway infrastructure projects is certainly challenging I really enjoy working on schemes which I know fundamentally will have a significant positive impact to the locality (and region). I am an advocate for sustainable transport and the huge impact that a well-organised and well-funded public infrastructure can have to achieving better social, environmental and environmental outcomes. Every completed project is another step towards removing greenhouse gases from our highway network and an improvement in social mobility.
And finally, how do you enjoy spending your time outside of EP?
I very much enjoy going to the theatre, to see musicals in particular. I play tenor saxophone. I have been an explorer scout leader for a number of years and enjoy getting outside when I am not at my desk. I love exploring places, and desperate to tick a few more countries off my bucket list as we emerge from the pandemic.
More recently, I started playing netball, and I am currently attempting to train for my first Great North Run in September, raising money for Motor Neurone Disease Association.
Thanks for your time Alannah and I hope you have a great rest of your day!