CBRE associate director James Sheppard graduated in environmental planning from Liverpool University and gained a masters degree in planning from Manchester University in 2005. He is also accredited by the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (IEMA). Sheppard's first job with was with Jones Lang LaSalle where he stayed for over four years before spending three and a half years at GVA. He joined CBRE at the start of this year.
Q. What are your objectives in your current role and how are you measured against them?
Advising developers, investors and landowners is a big part of my job and I tend to specialise in residential and commercial work such as offices and industrial projects. We have annual appraisals and regular evaluations with senior directors. But ultimately the success of our consultancy is governed by client feedback in terms of success at application and appeal stages.
Q. What key lessons have you learned during your career that help you to fulfil those objectives?
A comprehensive understanding of the development process is key. Knowing planning processes and legislation is of course vital but you also need a rounded understanding of development control so you can advise clients on procedures, feasibility, viability and funding.
Networking and CPD is vital. These will help you understand the political and economic fluctuations that have a direct impact on the planning system and ensure more holistic advice to clients.
Pre-application stages are important. Early dialogue with planning officers and stakeholders can iron out technical issues and make the application process, in some instances, almost a formality.