Daniel Lampard heads up the recently opened Thames Valley office of NLP, based in Reading. Lampard, who has delivered a number of housing, leisure and retail schemes in the area, has been with the practice for 18 years and started his career at DPP after graduating in geography from Leeds University in the mid 1990s and training in planning part-time.
Q. What are your objectives in your current role and how are you measured against them?
My objectives are to grow NLP and sharpen our focus on the Thames Valley. We expect to see major developments in the coming years, not least of which in the housing sector. Oxfordshire alone requires an additional 100,000 new homes in the next 15 years, so there are big challenges but lots of opportunities. There is a lot of economic activity in Reading alone, including a major new train station, which is a physical statement of intent that the area is here to do business. It's my role to win our share of that development work. We have very in-depth appraisals and I report to managing director James Fennell. Appraisals cover several performance indicators but it's not just numbers: we look at the wider picture of where we are making inroads and where we are delivering results for clients.
Q. What key lessons have you learned during your career that help you to fulfil those objectives?
A. Be tenacious. Planning moves at its own speed and though we try to make it as fast as possible for our developer clients, the needs of the market and political factors can change over time. You need to be resourceful and, at times, dig in for the long haul.
You can rarely have too much technical knowledge. Local experience, for example, is crucial and you need to be fully up to speed on policy and how it is being interpreted nationally. Success often depends on this kind of in-depth knowledge.
Enjoy yourself. A sense of fun and the ability to foster good working relationships even when you don't agree with those opposing you or planning officers who don’t accept your case is a key to good professionalism. Planning is a small world and you have to get on with people – it also helps when it comes to cadging a lift to the station in the competitor's taxi after a particularly combative planning meeting.