SBK’s Tasha up for a prestigious planning award

Sheldon Bosley Knight’s (SBK) associate director, Tasha Blackmore da Silva is celebrating after having been shortlisted for a prestigious planning award.
Tasha, who heads up SBK’s planning and architecture department, is nominated in the Royal Town Planning Institute’s (RTPI) category for West Midlands Young Planner of the Year.
Now in their 46th year, the awards celebrate the best plans, people and projects across the country.
After being nominated by SBK co-owner and director, Dan Jackson, Tasha had to demonstrate her contribution to planning and her significant career achievements in the last few years, both in a written submission and an interview.
She said: “I am delighted and shocked to be shortlisted for this award. I am nominated alongside some incredible people including someone who went to the same school as me!
“I have learned a lot about all aspects of the planning sector since joining SBK in 2015. It’s the variety of the role and the fact I have been encouraged to take on and lead on projects myself rather than be hand held which has given me so much experience in a short space of time.
“It’s also given me the confidence to develop my skills and encourage other junior members of the team to do the same.”
Tasha joined SBK seven years ago as planning assistant, after completing her masters in geopolitics and security at Royal Holloway University.
She quickly got to grips with the job and the planning process and all its regulations, preparing and submitting applications, working with case officers, local authorities and clients.
In the years since, she has taken on more responsibility, gaining accreditation as an RTPI Chartered Town Planner, the ultimate qualification for her profession in 2020, becoming associate at RICS and then promotion to head up SBK’s planning and architecture department this year.
She said: “I love the variety of the job, no two days are the same and I think it is this, combined with the fact I have learned on the job and gained my professional qualifications quickly that contributed to my nomination and shortlist for the awards.
“As part of the process I had an interview in which I was able to illustrate how I managed to obtain planning permission for a Woodland Disc Golf near Stratford. The sport is a relatively new concept and was quite controversial as it involved using a woodland area.
“There is little case law about it and so I did a huge amount of research on behalf of the client and SBK in order to show how it wouldn’t cause any loss of biodiversity, or harm the existing woodland and the habitat there.
“After numerous site visits and many months working on the case, I invited local people and the planners to see what it was all about by setting up a temporary course and getting them to try it out.
“It was a huge success and I was delighted when the application was passed and since it was set up, it’s been very popular.
“This is one of the things I love about this job – being able to make a difference for a client, whether it’s getting an approval for an extension for a family home or gaining approval for a barn conversion or something like the Disc Golf. And while it’s not going to change the world, it will change someone’s life for the better and making a meaningful difference to them – and for me that is the best thing about the job.
“I am also passionate about being a good role model to others in the business as well as the team, and encouraging new members of staff and other young people to pursue a career in planning. I love going into schools to talk about what a great career it is.
“I’d like to thank Dan Jackson and Mike Kelly, my RPTI sponsor, for their continued support and encouragement throughout my career at SBK and my qualification journey.”
SBK director and co-owner Dan Jackson said: “Our staff are the most important element of our business and without them we wouldn’t be here so it’s fantastic to celebrate their successes and achievements.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Tasha. She has worked so hard in the seven years she has been with SBK, not only in the day job and securing many approvals for our clients, but also in terms of achieving certain milestones in her professional career.
“We wish her many congratulations for being shortlisted and we are all rooting for her to win in Birmingham at the end of June!”