How do they do it? Catherine Wood

Written by: Jez Abbott
Published on: 24 May 2016

Catherine WoodWith A levels in geography, economics and biology, Catherine Wood chose Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, to study town and country planning with a sandwich year at the then Department for the Environment. Graduating at the start of the early 1990s recession, she was managed to secure a graduate planning position at consultancy Healey & Baker in London and completed a distance-learning diploma in planning and development surveying at the College of Estate Management. Wood has spent the last 20 years setting up Scottish planning divisions for consultancies DPP and King Sturge. Four years ago she joined Gladman Developments as strategic planning director in Scotland. She is a member of the planning policy committee at Homes for Scotland. 

What are your objectives in your current role and how are you measured against them?

My role, together with the wider team, is to negotiate promotion agreements, agree planning strategies, and run applications and appeals with the aim of securing permission. I negotiate legal agreements and am involved in the end sale of the land to a housebuilder. We have a high success rate in securing planning permission and this is the key objective we are measured against. 

What key lessons have you learned during your career that help you to fulfil those objectives?

Integrity. Understand the wider context for a project and be professional throughout however hard dealing with different factions affected by a development may be.

Communicate. This is important internally for team working as well as understanding the needs and requirements from development. 

Keep learning. No one ever knows everything – when you listen you learn something new.