Huw Evans is a private planning consultant based in Ruthin, Denbighshire, and was chair of the judging panel at December's Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Cymru Planning Awards 2014. The planning graduate of Liverpool Polytechnic spent 35 years in the public sector, at North East Derbyshire District Council, Swansea City Council, Alyn &Deeside District Council and Flintshire County Council where he became chief planning officer in 2000. During this time he was also part of the Dee Estuary Forum at a time of the closure of British Steel's Shotton works. At Swansea he helped pull together the Gower Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty management plan, which was the first of its kind in Wales. In 2008 he joined Capita as a planning associate before setting up as a solo practitioner in 2011. Evans is chair of the North Wales chapter of RTPI Cymru.
Q. What are your objectives in your current role and how are you measured against them?
I still do a little consultancy work for Capita but mostly my objectives involve putting together planning applications, helping out with enforcement issues and offering development plan representation – people appreciate the personal touch of a solo planning consultant, whereas as part of a big planning team you can become distanced from your clients. How am I judged? Simple, on results: I have never had to advertise my services. Being able to demonstrate you have good access public authorities is another measure of how well you are achieving success in your objectives.
Q. What key lessons have you learned during your career that help you to fulfil those objectives?
A. Appreciate the bigger picture. A really good planner can look beyond a development plan and appreciate the wider picture with all its subtle nuances; this is what makes great and successful planning input.
Understand not just planning but people. A good level of understanding is crucial in this profession but it's only of limited help if you can't grasp – and be sensitive to - the pressures that people work under in planning situations.
Be positive. Planning is full of innovative, committed people; you're lucky to be part of such a great profession.