How do they do it? Tracy Harvey

Written by: Jez Abbott
Published on: 22 Feb 2016

Tracy HarveyTracy Harvey is head of planning and building control at St Albans City and District Council. She developed her local authority planning skills working for Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council. Before that Harvey worked for Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation as head of estates and development.

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

A key objective is to finalise an up-to-date strategic local plan for the district to help us manage the huge development pressure the district is under and protect the green belt. We dealt with around 4,000 applications last year. Another objective this year is our recruitment drive: we have several vacancies we want to fill. Ultimately, I am measured on success in protecting the district from insensitive development.

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

See other people’s point of view. This means being flexible enough to think outside the box, which comes into play during discussions with developers when trying to achieve the best possible outcome for a community. 

Pay attention to detail. This is not just in terms of assessing applications, but in customer care - just as every brick sample counts, so does every letter and phone call. 

Take opportunities as they arise. This could be in training and development or networking, especially in a busy local planning authority where no two days are the same.