Burnley mum’s passion for town planning

Paula Fitzgerald

Paula Fitzgerald

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Paula Fitzgerald is a woman in a man’s world.

Chartered town planner Paula is used to working in a male-dominated profession.

It is all about dealing with people, their lives and how they live, from working on an extension to a home to a big housing development

Paula Fitzgerald

Only a third of the members of the Royal Town Planning Institute, which Paula belongs to, are women which means that, out of the 23,000 members, only 8,000 are women. But the Burnley businesswoman is not phased by the statistics and admits she has a real passion for her work.

Paula (37) said: “While a lot of people may see the subject of town planning and design as rather dry, to me it is anything but. It can be very exciting and is a really rewarding career to go into especially when you see something being built which you have played a key role in, and it offers a wide range of specialisms to go into.

“It is all about dealing with people, their lives and how they live, from working on an extension to a home to a big housing development.”

After graduating from Heriot Watt University with a degree in town planning, which involved studying for a year at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, Paula spent several years working for Hyndburn Council until she was made redundant.

This was what spurred her to launch her own business last May and she now works from her home in Ightenhill, juggling a demanding job with looking after her two little boys, Patrick (five) and three-year-old Archie.

Paula’s working day begins when she has done the school and nursery run. She said: “It has been a challenge as I have only ever worked for a local authority but I am building up my portfolio and currently working on five projects this month.”

Paula, whose husband Tony was Padiham Town Centre Manager before being appointed to a post in Altrincham, is doing her bit to encourage more women to follow in her footsteps by helping to mentor final year students into the workplace at Manchester University.