from a graduate planner in state government
My first job after university was with state government in another country. In that role, we attended every planning appeal to provide impartial advice to the Town Planning Appeals Board. This particular site was one that I drove past every day on the way to work. When I wrote my report prior to giving evidence, I didn’t do a site inspection, believing I knew the site and the locality very well.
At the appeal, I stood up and expounded my view with great conviction. About halfway through my presentation, the judge looked over his glasses and asked me, ‘… what about the school across the road?’ The existence of a school across the road from the site completely invalidated my argument. I stood speechless, realising I’d made an utter fool of myself in front of colleagues, solicitors and barristers.
My advice from this experience is always, but always do a site inspection, even if you think you know the site. The context of the planning matter in question will greatly influence what you see and the way you perceive the site.