Why collaboration is key to planning success 

January 2, 2018

Karen Read talks to North East Times about why forging relationships with partners who excel in their professions is key to planning success

Karen Read, a chartered town planner and owner of klr Planning, specialises in working with a range of commercial companies wishing, or needing, to use the town planning system.

It’s a complex process and Karen excels in resolving a wide range of issues and handling in-depth negotiations with a diverse mix of people to maximise the prospect of a successful outcome for projects. This reflects one of klr Planning’s values of being solution-focused.

Whether dealing with a local authority or one of her clients, Karen’s approach is consistent. She brings together and leads a bespoke professional team covering a range of specialisms to de-risk projects and ensure consistency which, in turn, unlocks development opportunities.

Karen explains: “While planning is a stand-alone profession, detailed matters such as design and layout, transport, ecology, flood risk and drainage, ground conditions and contamination, heritage and conservation, and sustainability are all key factors that must be considered through the planning process. And I firmly believe that building strong, positive working relationships with professional partners operating in these disciplines is integral to secure a successful outcome.”

It is this collaborative approach that has been the driving force behind Karen’s outstanding track record since she set up the business over two years ago, representing esteemed brands like Aldi, Ascent Homes, Newcastle Building Society, Remondis (JBT Waste), KFC and Dysart Developments.

She adds: “Operating in isolation isn’t a feasible option when it comes to town planning. I’ve taken the time to develop an extensive network of professional contacts and have been privileged to team up with a range of excellent business partners to bring some very exciting and worthwhile projects to fruition.”

Karen has secured planning permission for a wide range of prestigious projects across the North of England spanning retail, commercial, leisure, waste, education and regeneration sectors.

Projects include the regeneration of the former Hexham Bus Station for mixed retail, leisure and residential use, a number of new Aldi stores, a new auditorium and outdoor performance space as part of the Sunderland Arts and Culture Quarter and a 2800-capacity Community Sports Arena on Scotswood Road as a permanent home for Newcastle Eagles.

More recently, Karen has led on successfully securing planning permission for the redevelopment of the former Springs Health Club in Gateshead for 22 residential apartments and an Everyman Cinema and café bar in the former Legends nightclub on Grey Street in Newcastle.

At the heart of town planning is the requirement to balance social, economic and environmental needs to shape the way that towns and cities grow and to create great communities for everyone. And it is the visionary strategic leadership role Karen adopts, working in partnership with a range of organisations, which is essential to success.

Karen comments: “It is important that the people I collaborate with share my values and we are on the same wavelength. I really enjoy working with business partners who share my passion for projects that bring positive change, too.

“This means that I can assure my clients that their project will receive the best possible opportunity for success.”

klr Planning 
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