Tracey Crews (nee Birkinshaw)

BSc City and Regional Planning (1996); Diploma in Town Planning (1998)
Current Job: 
Strategic Land Use Manager, Cheltenham Borough Council

Why did you choose Cardiff University as a place to study?

The university was welcoming when I attended for an interview.  I wanted to attend a university in large city.

What was the best thing about your time as a student at Cardiff?

Making lifelong friends - including meeting my husband!

What thing or person inspired you most whilst you were a Cardiff University student?

In an academic context, lectures from Kevin Morgan.  He provided lively debate and expressed personal ideas.  In the early 1990's Cardiff Bay was in the early stages of regeneration and the course used this as a basis for discussion across a variety of modules.  It is great to now experience the regeneration in its final form.

What one thing would you tell someone else about the School of Planning and Geography at Cardiff?

The School provides a sound basis in the fundamentals of town planning, coupled with work experience this provides a career pathway both within the public and private sector.

How did your degree most help you in the career or job you have now chosen?

I chose to implement the knowledge and skills as a town planner within local government.  The degree and diploma enabled me to progress quickly, attaining chartered status from the RTPI.

Tell us a bit about your current job, how you got into what you are doing and what you enjoy about it most.

I have been managing a team of policy planners at Cheltenham Borough Council for about 5 years, this has included leading a local plan inquiry and enabling the transition to the preparation of a local development framework.  I have played a central role in developing joint working between planning policy teams in Gloucestershire including the development of a joint core strategy for Gloucester, Cheltenham and Tewkesbury.  I enjoy developing effective working relationships in order to achieve successful results, this includes working closely with local communities, action groups and councillors.  My goal in all activities is to reach consensus by encouraging active participation.

What opportunities do you feel have opened up to you as a result of being a student at the Cardiff School of Planning and Geography?

I progressed quickly in my career, in part I feel I was able to do this by building on the broad planning knowledge developed at Cardiff University.  I am currently finalising an MBA at Gloucestershire University, skills developed whilst being a student at Cardiff have assisted in managing the workload of the MBA whilst also working full time.

Tell us any interesting facts about yourself, hobbies or interests that you have.

I have recently had a baby, so currently taking a career break.  As you can imagine all my free time is now taken up with a new set of challenges!