Introducing Claire Hattam

A new chapter in a career can be daunting, however my solid background with a North East local authority, has given me the perfect base from which to leap into a role in the private sector. As a chartered town planner with over ten years’ public sector experience who has practical working knowledge and understanding of planning policy and development management as well as technical expertise in sustainable development, I add a new dimension to the Planning House team.

The planning process is complex and can even be intimidating to some. As such, I am eager to use my local authority perspective and valuable skillset to help navigate clients through it by offering reliable and astute ‘no nonsense’ advice.

My working life has taught me that, to get a job done and well, you need to speak to the right people at the right time to get the right information. In my opinion this makes honest and open communication critical. I truly believe that talking through key concerns and listening to others is the best way to find a solution and way forward on projects; and I find my personable approach allows me to have this with colleagues and clients alike. This echoes the culture of Planning House, a company which always puts the client first, and is one of the main reasons why I am so pleased to be joining the team.

As a Strategy Officer in the Planning Directorate, my day-to-day work was varied and complex. From providing technical planning advice on a range of strategic development proposals and major planning applications (residential, employment, mixed-use and renewable energy development) to contributing to the internal Design Review process and managing the Sustainability Appraisal of the Local Plan and supporting it through the Examination in Public.

As a ‘critical friend’ to the Local Plan process combined with my ability to see the big picture on strategic policy matters as well as the detail of specific land allocations, my advice was often sought by senior management on key issues throughout the plan-making process. I believe my breadth and depth of public sector experience can only be a great benefit to clients of Planning House.

Being a working mum of two young children (4 years old and 18 months), I know how important it is for me to be efficient with my time and that the pressure can sometimes be immense. Losing the flexible working pattern which I am used to and benefited from was a major concern for me when considering a move to the private sector. It felt that if I wanted to advance my career (and do something for myself), I was going to have to give up this flexibility and precious time with my children.

However, when I got to know Helen through the Women in Planning North East network and read her LinkedIn article on how remote/ flexible working with Planning House had changed her life, I had to find out more.

After only meeting with Chris and Helen once, I knew we would make a great team; what with our shared drive and determination, personalities and outlook. I left this initial meeting feeling empowered and excited about the opportunities a role with Planning House could give me. So, when the job offer came through I couldn’t refuse!

I genuinely cannot wait to get started, so if you have any planning matters you would like to discuss, please do get in touch. I look forward to hearing from you!

Claire’s contact details are claire@planninghouse.co.uk or 07984660708

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