We’d like to extend a warm welcome to our newest member of staff, Suzanne Holloway, who joins us as an Associate from Crawley Borough Council where she was Principal Planning Officer.
She specialises in planning advice and will be joining our property planning consultants based at our Crawley office.
So that our staff and clients alike can get to know Suzanne better, here’s a little Q&A session that she did with us earlier this month, with everything from careering down ‘Death Road’ in South America, to signing the Official Secrets Act.
Suzanne, how long were you in your previous role, and what did you specialise in?
I was in my previous role for 21 years, and specialised in commercial development facilitation and regeneration at Manor Royal, in Crawley, Section 106 & Community Infrastructure Levy.
What attracted you to your new post at Vail Williams?
I have been fortunate to have worked alongside a number of Vail Williams colleagues for a couple of years in my previous role at Crawley Borough Council, on two really exciting and major commercial developments:
- Project Nexus for Surrey County Council – the council’s first hybrid application.
- A major office development for Elekta – a prestigious landmark building on a cleared gateway site.
I admired the way the Vail Williams team all worked together, and the friendly and supportive ethos of the company and its values.I was also attracted by the opportunity to bring my expertise and local knowledge to the role, at a time when we are awaiting potential unique opportunities relating to Gatwick Airport. Having been involved in the Manor Royal Business District, I was also keen to remain actively involved in promoting the success of the site alongside the BID so I can use my 22 years’ experience in my local area.
What are your ambitions in the role?
I want to understand better the development process and assist clients through the formal planning process.
What’s the best thing about working in property, and why?
For me, it’s the people that make our job so rewarding, on both sides of the planning spectrum – from the developers you assist to the residents you listen to, as well as the colleagues you get to know along the way. I particularly enjoy helping residents by explaining in layman’s terms what can often be a very complicated process. To have the opportunity to take part in making something happen that could be there for generations, is amazing.
What was your first ever job?
A long way from property, my first ever job was working in a kitchen and gift shop.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Worry about the things you can change, and not about those you can’t.
If you had to recommend a good book, what would it be, and why?
I read a lot with my book club, but I would have to choose The Magic Faraway Tree, as I have re-experienced the joy of the book with my two daughters. Everyone loves the idea of the exploding Toffee shock sweets and the lands at the top of the tree.
Tell us a surprising fact about yourself
I have signed the Official Secrets Act (but I guess I shouldn’t have told you that!)
Have you ever had a hair-raising moment, if so, what was it?
When my husband and I took a sabbatical, whilst on our travels we cycled the most dangerous road in the world from La Paz in Bolivia to Coroico.
We took all day to travel at speed downhill, far too fast, on a mountain bike. Unfortunately, we had to share the road with hurtling buses and lorries, and some less fortunate vehicles that clearly hadn’t made it. I don’t think I have been on a bike since!
If you could work in any other profession, what would it be and why?
A vet, as we grew up with rabbits, fish, birds, Guinea pigs, dogs, cats… a happy house of animal chaos!