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The Friday Five 01.04.22

Published on: 1 Apr 2022


Location: Worcestershire

The job: As the planning policy manager you will lead on matters relating to the statutory planning policy function within the city council, including the South Worcestershire Development Plan review, neighbourhood planning, development plan documents, supplementary planning documents, infrastructure planning, site-specific policies, evidence gathering, implementation and monitoring, responding to government consultations on national planning policy changes and provide advice and guidance to the council, internal and external customers. The role includes direct line management responsibility for the planning policy team.

“You will be expected to ensure high standards in the provision of advice and written reports to council committees, elected members and other stakeholders. You will contribute to the wider south Worcestershire partnership, including Wychavon and Malvern Hills District Councils, and lead in the preparation of evidence and act for the council as the expert planning policy witness in public examinations and planning appeals. You will also work with other service areas across the council and generally assist and support the head of planning in the preparation, implementation, administration and monitoring of project plans and performance management frameworks, to support a culture of continuous improvement.”

Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce [square]Fun fact: Worcester is, unsurprisingly, home to the producer of the original Worcestershire Sauce, Lea & Perrins. It was first sold in 1837 from a dispensing chemists in central Worcester, by John Wheeley Lea and William Henry Perrins.

The sauce was allegedly inspired by 3rd Baron Sandys, an ex-governor of Bengal who asked the two apothecaries to recreate a fish sauce he had tasted there. However, there never was a Baron Sandys who was governor or Bengal.

Another dubious story surrounding the sauce has it that the original effort was so disgusting the two men simply left in a barrel in the basement of their shop. A few years later, when clearing space for storage, they rediscovered their failed sauce and found that the long fermented liquid had become palatable.

This rather ignores the fact that fermented fish sauces had been around in the Mediterranean since ancient times. And fermented anchovy sauces were popular in Europe in the 17th century.

The sauce, now a popular condiment used to add extra flavour to a wide range of foods from Welsh rarebit to burgers,,  has been made in its current factory in Midland Road, Worcester, since 1838. Its recipe remains a secret although an original 19th century ingredients list was found in a skip at the factory in 2009 and the sauce then contained anchovies, vinegar, molasses, salt, onions and garlic.

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Location: Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

The job: “We are looking for a self-motivated, enthusiastic and well organised individual who has substantial experience of dealing with major applications. You will have a keen eye for design and be confident in your negotiation skills.

“The planning team is recognised within the council as being vital to the continued growth of the city and you will play a significant part in delivering growth. As unitary authority, we can offer you a varied mix of applications to challenge and diversify your existing experience including exciting proposals to regenerate the city centre. As well as dealing with a caseload of complex applications you will have the opportunity to deliver service improvements and mentor more junior staff including apprentices.

“Peterborough is a unique combination of a new town with a historic medieval core that has ambitious plans for the future. It is currently experiencing considerable investment in the city centre, including a new university, and experiencing the growth of new urban extensions on the edge of the city.”

Peterborough Cathedral [square]Fun fact: A portrait above the great West Door of the 12th century Peterborough Cathedral, shows a local folk hero, 'Old Scarlett', a gravedigger who buried both Mary Queen of Scots and Catherine of Aragon.

John Scarlett spent music of his life as sexton at the cathedral and lived to the (still) astonishing age of 98, dying in 1594. During his lifetime he buried both Catherine of Aragon, King Henry VIII's first wife (1536, when Scarlett was still a young man) and Mary, Queen of Scots (executed in 1587, when Scarlett would have been over 90). 

Both women were buried in Peterborough Cathedral. Catherine remains there. Mary was disinterred and reburied in Westminster Abbey.

It's thought that Old Scarlett may have buried two people from every Peterborough household during his life. This is not as far-fetched as it sounds. The population would have been around 1,500 and there was at least one outbreak of plague during his lifetime.

Old Scarlett was said to be "Second to none for "strength and sturdye limm", and the exercise provided by gravedigging may well have contributed to his long life. The phrase comes from a poem beside the portrait in the cathedral.

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Location: Lyndhurst, Hampshire

The job: “This is an exciting time to join our infrastructure and planning policy service as we move forward with a local plan, significant initiatives around infrastructure and our green agenda, and support the delivery of the Solent Freeport. This senior post will report directly to the executive head for planning, regeneration and economy and provides an opportunity for an experienced, motivated and forward-thinking individual to play a key role within the planning function of the council.

“We need someone who can support us in delivering an ambitious agenda whilst being committed to delivering quality development and a quality service to our customers. You will have evidence of relevant experience and a proven track record of local plan work, together with a strong knowledge of the environmental agenda and project delivery. You will have experience of managing and mentoring a team of planning, environmental design, heritage and ecological professionals and the ability to build and manage high performing teams.

“We are looking for an inspirational individual with a progressive ‘big picture’ outlook. Corporate and political awareness and an ability to analyse a range of considerations is a must.”

Otter in the New Forest [square]Fun fact: The New Forest is one of the largest remaining tracts of unenclosed pasture land, heathland and forest in Southern England and contains a catalogue of rare and unusual species in its alley bogs, alder carr, wet heaths, dry heaths and deciduous woodland.

These include insects such as the New Forest cicada (Britain's only native cicada)and mole crickets. It has all three of Britain's native snakes - the grass snake, the adder and the rare smooth snake. Specialist healthland birds are widespread, including rare Dartford warblers, along with woodlarks, curlews, lapwing, nightjars and hobbies (wonderfully agile small birds of prey that catch dragonflies in flight).

And there are mammals, too, Aside from all the British deer species, within the forest can be found otters and even the European polecat, which is making a comeback. Sadly the red squirrel, common in the forest until the 1970s has been outcompeted by greys.

The New Forest, first recorded in the Domeday book in 1086, is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), an EU Special Area of Conservation (SAC), a Special Protection Area for birds (SPA) and a Ramsar Site.

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Location: England (home/office)

The job: “TEP (The Environment Partnership) is an award-winning consultancy providing multi-disciplinary environmental services to our clients in the private, public and voluntary sectors. Established in 1997, TEP provides independent high-quality environmental planning and design advice, with a strong emphasis on personal service. We have grown steadily by sticking to our core skills and we now have a track record of over 7,000 projects, large and small, which demonstrate high-quality and sustainable development.

“Due to a number of exciting new projects and a long term workstream we are recruiting across the environmental planning team. We will consider all levels/grades of town planners. We are flexible with location and offer a work at home / office package. If you would like to work in a forward thinking, friendly team, with a wide range of interesting projects, please get in touch.”

Hay bales on farmland [square]Fun fact: The idea of England's 'green and pleasant' land may be technically correct, but it's not too wise to associate the phrase with a healthy and thriving natural environment. Indeed, environmental degradation (calculated loss of natural habitat and loss of biodiversity) is a major worry in the UK. A study released by the Natural History Museum lat year concluded that the UK had lost almost half it's biodiversity in the industrial period - more than almost anywhere else in Western Europe, most of the G7 nations ad even countries such as China that are industrialising rapidly.

The global average is around 75 per cent of pre-industrial biodiversity. Ecologists reckon that 90 per cent is needed to avoid ecological meltdown. 
Bu where to place the blame. 

It would be easy to say that built development is the guilty party, but, while extremely polluting, it's not that simple. Government stats tell us that only around 8.5 per cent of England, for example, is built on. Around 70 per cent is designated as agricultural land. Around 20 per cent as open land or water.

Intensive agriculture is often pointed to as one source of nature depletion through its maximisation of space for farming which has seen traditional field boundaries such as trees and hedgerows stripped away to make space for crops. this has a devastating effect not just on natural refuges for animals, but also on soil drainage and quality, and water flow.

Another profit making industry - extraction - has taken its toll. Britain's natural capital is estimated to a be worth around £1.2 trillion, a hefty figure. But 'natural' here doesn't necessarily mean green, environmental or biodiverse - it simply means, of the earth. Oil - for extraction - is natural capital, as is coal, as are various minerals, peat and anything that's taken out of the ground. The value of extractable materials dwarves the value of biodiverse places within such calculations. 

Solutions? ELMS - the Environmental Land Management System being introduced in lieu of Common Agricultural Policy payments will see farmers being paid to improve the biodiversity of their land. This could potentially make a sizeable difference. As could the principle of biodiversity net gain, mandated in development in the Environment Act 2021. But much is up in the air and time is running short. Can we save our natural environment? Maybe.

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Location: Torridge, North Devon

The job: “We have an exciting opportunity within our operational management team which will see the post holder oversee the council’s planning services, to include development management, planning support, planning policy and building control, with a view to facilitating good development, consistent with the ambitions of the council and government policy. The post holder will have a pivotal role in the delivery of the council’s joint People and Place initiative and a new joint local plan for northern Devon.

“You will directly manage a group of staff and co-ordinate the work of the wider planning team including case management, enforcement, providing professional advice and the development of appropriate policies. You will contribute to the wider management and leadership of the council and, as such, will accept joint responsibility with other managers for the council’s overall performance.”

Catherine wheel [square]Fun fact: During World War II, Bideford became an important centre for secretive war preparations and weapon experimentation. A large number of American GIs were stationed there and it was used as a training centre for preparation for D-Day and for specialist troops who would act as resistance in the event of a Nazi invasion.

It was also the location for the trial of The Great Panjandrum, an extraordinary secret weapon created by the Admiralty's Directorate of Miscellaneous Weapons Development. This almost Medieval looking device
was composed of two wooden wheels, ten feet in diameter, with steel treads a foot wide, joined by a central drum fitted with an explosive payload. It was to be propelled by sets of cordite rockets attached to each wheel. It was predicted that when deployed with a full 1,800 kg load, Panjandrum would achieve speeds of around 100 km/h, simply crashing through any obstacles to reach its target.

It was designed to smash through the 3m high, 2m thick concrete defences that made up part of the 'Atlantic Wall' of coastal defences in Europe and Scandinavia created by the Germans. 

The device was tested on a beach in northern Devon in September 1943. It was supposed to be secret, but the location was a popular bathing spot and word got out almost immediately. It basically proved impossible to control, despite numerous officiations over the ensuing months. The weapon was finally abandoned in January 1944 after a disastrous final trial that saw it almost take out all the watching military.

The project seems to have been largely overseen by sub-lieutenant Nevil Shute - the same Nevil Shute who wrote novels such as A Town Called Alice he maintained a career as an aeronautical engineer alongside his writing career.

The high comedy surrounding The Great Panjandrum has given rise to the theory that the whole thing was a hoax devised to fool the germans into believing the Allied forces were preparing to invade via the heavily fortified defences surrounding the Pas-de-Calais, rather than the less fortified Normandy beaches. Certainly the germans were well aware of the goings-on at Bideford and had detailed maps of the area in preparation for an invasion of their own.

Find out more and apply 

Image credits | Studio Dagdagaz, Shutterstock; Alexey Fedoronko, Shutterstock; iStock; iStock; Zora, Shutterstock