So it’s half term holidays for the kids, which comes with it’s own pressures but also means the roads are less ridiculously busy, away from Hallowe’en events and trampoline parks in any case.
Today we are in the north – a meeting with clients at the site of their proposed new flats in Leeds but first a check through the week’s schedule and reminders to follow up where we are with a number of client’s proposals with Councils, calls to officer’s where needed (or indeed, possible – they’re all off it seems), discussions had, points listened to and rebutted where deserved, actions noted and who to do what and when, then brief updates to clients themselves. I set aside at least an hour for this each day but more often it takes more – a lot is spent waiting for council’s browsers to load (or be maintained), phones to be answered – crucial but often very frustrating parts of the role!
A good client meeting in Leeds is followed by an impromptu look around two other sites they have in mind, a long call with our web team, and then it’s up the road into North Yorkshire for another meeting – this time with planners ona planning application for 8 new houses. The site is perfect in all but classification – its brownfield, well connected but not classed as being within the ‘urban boundary’ (it sits squarely between two parts of it, each not more than 100m east or west, so an anomaly of sorts) but a strong case has been put forward after lengthy discussions with officers over its status under the National Planning Policy Framework, as well as the continued lack of a five-year housing sites in that borough. Today’s meeting is principally about access – the regional bus operator rather inconveniently put a bus shelter right next to the access a few years ago – Great for sustainability and enter-cnnectedness but it affects the vehicle-vehicle sight lines ‘required'(‘required’, as we are not changing the access, nor is it getting busier, but the Highways officer feels new users will need some added safety). Our view is the access has operated quite safely for decades and that ‘new’ users will soon get used to it (they will live there after all), but in the end it might be easier to pay for the shelter to be moved further up the road – it’s one of those cases where costs don’t just mean material expenditure but time, and if moving it saves two months of going back and forth for council AND Bus operator approvals, supervisor approvals and more, and removes any uncertainty on the issue we can then just concentrate on the big ticket issue of gaining officer support for the planning permission. We put a strong case forward. The highways officer is sympathetic, but we shall have to wait for their conclusion – its resolvable either way.
Since we’re well out of the office its then a case of finding a wifi-ed up office (in this case a cafe by the sea, autumn waves crashing in off the north coast) to finish off the day project managing some imminent submissions, catching up on emails and calls, consultant queries, and putting the finer detail to a Design and Access Statement for a new development of flats and shops in London. Oh, and coffee, and cake, just a bit. It is autumn after all,.. and will be heading back to Harpenden the day after to continue from there,…