Hope - Planning Development
I initially applied for the 2020 12-week summer internship during my second year studying History at Newcastle University. Unfortunately, due to COVID this sadly did not take place. However, to my delight, they re-opened their internship for the summer of 2021!
During my 12-week internship working in the Planning Development team I have been fortunate enough to work on some exciting projects and also meet some wonderful people. Working within the council has provided me with invaluable experience of working within local government. I was tasked with an appeals database with application appeals that dated back to 2017. These appeals needed to be logged and the policy in which they were accepted of dismissed needed to be highlighted. This project allowed me to gain a greater understanding of the relevant policies that are used by the planning department.
Climate change has been a significant factor which has influenced the work I have been doing within the planning department. I have led the development and execution of a sustainability checklist that future minor and major planning applications will have to complete alongside their application. My skills and knowledge from my degree came in extremely useful with the research I conducted in order to arrive at the finished product.
2021 has proved to be an exciting year for the Planning Development team. I have been fortunate enough to work on some once in a lifetime opportunities. For instance, I have been involved in discussions regarding the potential site for the new Bury Hospital. I have also partaken in the hearings for the New Sizewell Power Station site and additionally I have visited this site in Pakenham where the new Fen Meadow land is being proposed.
Despite the setbacks faced due to COVID and agile working I have still been able to go out on site visits with planning officers which has allowed me to gain a real sense of how the local planning policy is implemented throughout West Suffolk. I have also been lucky enough to be able to come into the office and shadow various sub-departments within the Planning department, such as Technical Support and Building Control. These experiences have allowed me to observe the process of planning applications from start to finish.
Alongside the work I was doing for the team. We were also tasked with a group intern project that involved all the interns working together to fulfil the brief which was to create a resource for staff to reduce the council’s carbon footprint. By working together, we successfully met the objectives through the creation of a questionnaire, e-learning module and a video highlighting the council’s existing initiatives that aimed at reducing its carbon footprint.
If I were to describe my overall experience of this internship in one word, I would describe it as invaluable. The council has welcomed all interns with open arms and all staff have made you feel part on the team and the council as a whole. Specifically, my manager, who has made my 12 weeks here! The projects I have worked on have not just been interesting but also positively challenging. As a result, I would thoroughly recommend the internship to anyone as I have had the most brilliant time here.