Ellie Laws

Planning Consultant

Ellie works in our Town Planning team in Bristol. Currently studying for her MSc, Ellie sees her role as a chance to shape sustainable places across a broad range of projects and regions.

What’s your favourite project you’ve worked on to date?

The conversion of a dairy barn – which still had its milking machines and cows in situ – to our family home. We bought the farm buildings in freezing February 2016 and moved in that July, still in a bit of a building site with no hot water! The planning and conversion process gave me so many insights in to construction and the compromises needed to be made when working with old buildings. There were plenty of highs and lows – discovering the entire rear wall had no foundations being a particular low point – however overall it has been the most exciting move we have had made, and we’ve moved house 12 times!

What is the current big trend in your sector?

Planning is very political, the issue of housing need and how to meet this gets a great deal of attention, through converting offices to residential or the consideration of student accommodation as part of the housing provision. The idea that the UK needs ‘family homes’ bucks the trend of what studies show the housing need is, with more and more people living in HMOs and house sharing growing. Electioneering uses the need for affordable family homes as a vote winner, so changes to planning policy often follow a change of government.

Interesting fact that nobody knows about you?

I am a really good baker – I make awesome cakes.

Best building in your city?

The Wills Memorial Building. It’s where I studied my undergraduate degree, in the law department of Bristol University and my graduation ceremony was there as well. When I had my interview for my degree it was held there and I remember thinking that it was a very imposing building. It holds great memories of my time as a student, and I love the fact that it can be seen all around Clifton.

Best book you’ve read?

My favourite novel is Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, I still have my A level English literature annotated copy.

Industry bodies
  • Royal Town Planning Institute – currently a student member, until October, when Ellie will become a licentiate member and begin APC training.

Does a junior school poetry competition count?