Career view: Rishin Kotecha, senior planning associate at Fruition Properties

Rishin joined Fruition Properties in 2012, following a degree in physics and philosophy at Nottingham University. While some of his peers were going into financial services roles, Rishin had a desire to work on something “more tangible”, enticed by the way that property development could help shape the capital.

He initially rotated through various departments in the company, including land acquisition, construction, sales and marketing, funding and property management. From an early stage he was heavily involved, with one of his first highlights being the building of Fruition Properties’ new land and funding model.

He says: “The rotation was invaluable as it allowed me to gain a full understanding of how the different arms of the business work together. This is more pronounced at a small company as you are exposed to much more than you might be at one of the larger developers, while the flexibility and support from the senior team also allowed me to help shape my own future.”

Following his experience across the business, Rishin was particularly attracted by the pivotal role that planning plays in the wider development process. “Planning was hugely appealing to me – the planning system dictates what can be developed across London. At a granular level, this can be new homes, public or commercial spaces but the bigger picture is that it is the foundation for creating new communities, which is something very exciting to be a part of. It is very rewarding to see the end result; happy residents living in new homes that I have helped unlock.”

Rishin’s current role sees him managing projects in the planning phase, following initial purchase through to achieving planning consent, at which point they are gradually handed over to the technical and construction teams. His day-to-day tasks include financial modelling to ensure that the site’s design is viable, and appointment and liaison with the project team including architects and external planning consultants. Working together, he co-ordinates this team to plan and deliver a proposal that is likely to achieve planning consent, in line with the local authority and/or GLA’s guidelines. A large part of the role revolves around community and stakeholder consultation, which is vital to the success of any scheme.

Rishin has been responsible for the delivery of 2 Scrubs Lane, the company’s largest project to date which is located in the Old Oak and Park Royal Opportunity Area. The scheme proposes to re-provide the City Mission Church and Nursery who currently occupy the site, as well as two retail units and 83 apartments, of which 23 will be affordable.

He adds: “Ultimately we are creating things that will have an impact on the local community, whether residents, businesses or local groups. It is imperative that we work closely with them to deliver a scheme that can help supply high quality homes and create a positive impact, which is particularly important on the larger scale regeneration sites that we are taking on now. Our site is often one piece of a wider jigsaw.”

Rishin is quick to highlight the flexibility and close-knit feel that comes with a business like Fruition Properties: “I can see why people would be attracted to the big blue chip developers but I have found that the flexibility and team spirit that comes with a smaller family owned company is a real draw. Career progression is also good, as if you are ambitious and driven you can learn quickly and carve out a role that suits your skill set, which might take longer at a company with more bureaucracy and red tape.

“Although it isn’t perhaps the most usual route to market, I think that studying physics and philosophy set me up well as it combines both analytical and creative thinking. These skills are well suited to the planning process as my job involves both number crunching but also persuasive discussion with parties such as local authorities.”

 

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