Fern Lynch - Planning Officer
Tell us about yourself
I have worked at the authority since July 2016. During this time I have moved from Radstock just south of Bath and after 18 months of an hour and a half commute each way I decided to make Swindon my home. Up until May 2018 I also studied for my masters in Urban Planning at UWE Bristol, this was facilitated by the authority and has massively helped my development and ability to carry out my role. I gained a promotion from graduate to planner within 1 year and currently enjoy working within the development management team determining planning applications and writing their associated reports.
What attracted you to join SBC?
I was offered a Graduate planner position and the council invested in me and my development by assisting me with obtaining my Masters in Urban Planning.
Having worked at Bath & North East Somerset Council previously I saw Swindon as a large contrast. The less ‘red tape’ in planning terms made it the perfect place to develop the early stages of my career as planning officer within the development management team. The borough is very different to Bath and I like that, at first I saw it as a northern town in the south and people may look negatively upon that image but as a Northerner myself it was a home away from home with a professional job role that constantly enables me to develop and change the image of Swindon on both new and regeneration projects that aim to increase vibrancy and vitality making Swindon a place people want to work, live and visit.
What do you most enjoy about working here?
My colleagues within my department and team. We support each other with work and personal matters and they make it enjoyable coming to work every day.
Describe a typical day in your role.
I can arrive anytime between 8-10am (this usually depends on workload). I have a hierarchy of work and to do list which I work through, this tends to include replying to emails from planning agents and applicants, writing delegated reports and considering planning applications. I also assist with the planning enquiries inbox which members of the public send their planning related questions to. Once a week I go on site to visit the applications in their real life context. These visits help officers to properly visualise the proposal in front of them which can be tricky when it's on a flat piece of paper.
What motivates you at work?
Feeling like I am improving the environment that the community is living, working and socialising in gives me excellent job satisfaction but also on a more personal level it's knowing that I can pay my bills and enjoy my annual leave!
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Socialising with friends, going to the gym, watching films and theatre shows. Also I am a bit of a foodie so I enjoy cooking but prefer seeking out independent (and sometimes hidden) places for food and drinks.
Where is the best place you have visited?
In Swindon: Wood Street, I like the variety of independent bars, restaurants and shops.
The Rest of the World: It is a toss-up between Lake Bled in Slovenia and Ubud in Bali.
Who are your dream dinner guests?
Depends on who’s cooking… if it's them, I would opt for a Michelin star chef as my cooking never comes out as good as a restaurant! I would also invite David Attenborough, Adele and my mum!
What is your favourite film or book and why?
There’s too many to choose from but I like a romantic comedy so most chick flicks are a hit with me.
What are your ambitions/aspirations?
Long term goals: Become a senior/ principle planner and potentially a team leader within a local authority development management team.
Create exciting places for people to live, work and socialise through planning.
Personally I’d like to travel more across the world especially around South America and Australia, possibly end up living abroad or at least by the sea somewhere.
Shorter term goals are to learn to ballroom dance and become fluent in Spanish.