Buildings in the Lake District

Development Management

We help people with the planning advice they need and manage the applications they make to carry out work in line with national planning legislation - as the Local Planning Authority for the Lake District. Our work includes assessing proposals with our planning policies, which seek to achieve the Vision for the Lake District and taking planning decisions. We advise our Development Control Committee on significant casework and take action when unacceptable work is carried out without permission. You can find out more about what we do, helpful guides, advice, who we are and how to contact us on our planning webpages.

Meet Phil Nicholls, Planner

What does a typical work day in your role as a Planner look like for you?

My main role is to determine planning applications that are submitted. This can range from extensions to new housing developments, changes to the use of land through to new agricultural buildings. My typical day is either in office or out on site.

When I’m in the office I am often writing reports recommending decisions on planning applications. This involves considering the submitted plans, documents and context of the proposal and whether a scheme is acceptable taking into account planning policies of the National Park and other material considerations.

When I’m out on site I undertake site visits and site meetings to assess schemes on the ground. This will involve viewing sites from the surrounding properties and public vantage points to gather an understanding of its context.

What do you enjoy most about your role as a planner?

The variety of the work makes the role interesting as we deal with such a range of applications and sites across the whole national park. Each site has its own individual set of characteristics and challenges and working through these means that one application is never the same as another

What do you enjoy most about working for the Lake District National Park Authority?

There are many good things about working for the Lake District National Park Authority but the highlight has to be the opportunity to work in one of the most scenic areas of the country. Not much beats a morning meeting at Wast Water followed by afternoon site visits in Borrowdale!

What advice would you give to someone that would like to work in the same role as you in the future?

If you are able to contact your Local Council to see whether they would be prepared to allow you to undertake work experience. This will give you first-hand experience of the job and stand you in good stead for applying for jobs or courses that may arise.

What is your biggest personality trait and how does it help you in your role as a Planner?

Being organised as a Planner is key. The role requires you juggle a mixed case load of 20 to 30 applications at any one time and make timely decisions on all of them. The ability to successfully manage this work to a high standard whilst also meeting deadlines is crucial.

What route did you take to get into your career?

I went to University and did both an undergraduate and masters degree in City and Regional Planning. Whilst at University I spent my summer holidays gaining work experience at my local council. Once I graduated I works through a succession of short term placements until finally I managed to get a full time permanent job. A few roles later I arrived at the National Park where I have been ever since.