Meet the team – Natasha Blackmore da Silva

Natasha has worked as a town planner for more than eight years and gained a wealth of experience across a range of residential, commercial and rural projects. This has enabled her to understand what clients want, what is feasible in planning policy and what the local community will support. She is able to combine all three elements to provide a comprehensive service with clear, honest and transparent advice to her clients.

What is your job title and where are you based?

I am associate director at Sheldon Bosley Knight. I split my time between the Stratford-upon-Avon and Shipston-on-Stour offices.

What is your role and what does your job entail? Is there a typical day?

I am the head of the planning and architecture department. My job entails co-ordinating my team to prepare current projects as well as talking to potential clients about the planning and development opportunities their building or land may have. On a typical day I will be liaising with consultants, updating clients and negotiating with case officers to get projects approved. I may even have a chance to undertake a site visit or two.

What did you do before this job?

I starting working for Sheldon Bosley Knight two weeks after finishing my masters and have been here ever since!

How did you get into the property industry and how long have you worked within it?

I grew up around town planning as my grandfather was a councillor who worked closely with our local council’s planning department. Later, whilst preparing my undergraduate dissertation, I undertook a six-month internship in a local authority planning department. I learnt a lot about the industry during this time and whilst I realised the public sector side was not for me, this opened my eyes to working in planning consultancy. I have been working in the industry for more than eight years now.

What attracted you to working for Sheldon Bosley Knight?

The company’s planning and architecture department is unique in that we provide services from beginning to end. We have the opportunity to see projects through to completion, due to the range of land and property services offered by the company. I don’t think there are many planning consultancies where you can undertake an initial site visit, then prepare a scheme and a few years later see these proposals become a reality!

What’s the best bit about your job?

The best bit of my job is discovering what can be created out of something else. Whether this is a listed agricultural building that gets a new lease of life as a home, or a woodland with potential to become an outdoor recreation and education resource.

What qualifications or training do you need to do this job?

For town planning being chartered with the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) represents the gold standard of planning practice. This qualification is recognised by employers, clients and members of the public for the high standards the Institute expects from its members. However, most of the knowledge and training I have acquired has come from doing the job day-to-day and learning from my more senior colleagues.

What motivates you to work hard?

Seeing the happy faces of clients when I am able to tell them their application has been approved, especially if it has taken a few tries to get through. My job may not change the world, but for that person, I may have just changed theirs.

Who or what inspires you?

My family, they always told me I could do anything I wanted.

What are your career goals?

When I first started at Sheldon Bosley Knight I wanted to be qualified as a chartered town planner. Now I have reached that goal, I want to train the next generation of town planners and assist them with progressing their own careers.

What do you do when you are not at work?

When I am not working you can usually find me at a dance class or DIYing a new piece of décor for my home.

What is the best piece of career advice you have ever been given?

“Past is experience, present is experiment, future is expectation.” I’ve always interpreted this to mean, I need to learn from my past mistakes (experience), apply them to my current endeavours (experiments) to achieve my own goal (expectations).