The Things I Know: John Wacher, Planning and regeneration programme manager, London Borough of Islington

- Where did you study planning?

John Wacher
John Wacher

MSc in urban planning with regeneration and economic development at Oxford Brookes University.

- What skills did you have when you graduated?

Various regeneration and planning skills such as viability assessment and a range of research techniques, including how to conduct interviews on a park-and-ride bus without falling.

- What attracted you to planning?

A school lesson on inner cities, a continued interest in urban issues and a desire to contribute practically.

- What did you learn in your first job?

Core consultancy skills such as planning appraisals, retail impact assessments and local plan representations, as well as the importance of accuracy and speed.

- What skills have you had to learn over your career?

Negotiation, management and how to operate in a political environment.

- What or who have been the biggest influences on your career?

My lecturers introduced me to planning obligations and what real regeneration might mean. My family have been a great encouragement and I've worked with great people.

- What are your career highlights?

Negotiating contributions for infrastructure on big schemes and the development of national, London and local section 106 and community infrastructure levy policies.

- What have you learnt outside work that has influenced your career?

Like any other community, workplaces need good communications, leadership, support and forgiveness to operate effectively.

- What further skills do you aim to attain or develop?

Management of complex projects like the local economic assessment and how to set up structures that best deliver neighbourhood regeneration.

- How important is it to keep abreast of developments in allied professions?

Planning has a key role in working across professional boundaries, so it's vital to know what's going on.

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