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The Friday Five 04.08.23

Written by: Simon Percival
Published on: 4 Aug 2023

It's The Friday Five, our weekly round-up of top town planning jobs advertised on Planner Jobs. Plus some 'fun', place-based facts. This week, opportunities abound in the Peak District, London, Wakefield, Peterborough and Windsor and Maidenhead. And we have the tale of the village that moved, a brief guide to Anglo Saxon London and the origins of Dr Dolittle in the trenches of the First World War.


Location: Bakewell, Derbyshire

The job: "As our new team manager, you’ll directly manage two area development management teams, processing more than 1,000 applications per year. Reporting to our head of planning, you will lead the authority’s statutory development management and enforcement functions, providing high quality professional advice, direction and regulatory decisions which realise the best possible outcomes for our valued national park landscape with its rich heritage and varied wildlife. You’ll also be working to provide a great service for residents and our stakeholders and partner organisations.

"This role offers the opportunity to work holistically with the wider function to achieve common goals, including designing, consulting and delivering authority plans. This is a key role for the Peak District and an exciting opportunity to make your mark."

Edensor [square]Fun fact: Edensor, in the Peak District, is the village that moved. Or, to be more precise, it was a village that was moved deliberately, because it spoiled the view from the Duke of Devonshire’s big house. He could do this because he owned the village. His descendants still own the (relocated) village today.

Actually, I exaggerate – but only mildly. The story goes that in 1762 the 4th Duke of Devonshire, who lived in Chatsworth House, arranged for the demolition of a number of buildings in Edensor because they obscured his view of parkland created by the noted gardener and landscape architect Capability Brown. At the time Edensor was a tiny settlement.

A few decades later, a new road was being built through the Duke’s extensive estate and he arranged to have the the village moved to another location within the estate. this involved physically moving the vicarage and the pub and constructing a new village around them. This building project was managed by Sir Joseph Paxton who, among other things, built the Crystal Palace in London and created the Cavendish banana – the curved banana that we all know and love and which a young journalist called Boris Johnson pretended to get hot under the collar about when reporting on the EU (before being sacked for making things up).

Anyway, by 1870 Edensor had a Post Office, an inn, a church designed by the greater Gothic revivalist George Gilbert Scott, 123 houses, and a population of 592. It was considered a ‘model village’, in that rules were enforced to preserve the appearance of the settlement. 

The 21st-century village remains part of the Chatsworth Estate and has a fairly stunning 50 listed buildings – one for every three residents.

Find out more and apply


Location: London

The job: "A London local authority is seeking a principal town planner to join its development management team on a 12 month contract. The ideal candidate will be a PPA specialist with the experience to deal with a challenging caseload of complex and major planning applications and pre-apps.

"Responsibilities will include:

  • Ensure delivery of key strategic projects
  • Lead on major pre-app/ applications for several key strategic development sites subject to planning performance agreements
  • Ensure the service delivery for these key projects in a timely and well managed manner
  • Assist in establishing, developing and keeping under review the structures, procedures and working methods for your team and the wider service
  • Judge and assist in judging the merits of development proposals, determine planning applications  and related matters within delegated powers
  • Defend the council's decisions at appeals.

"You should have an appreciation of main central government and development plan policy issues, planning and related legislation, operation of local government and knowledge of current issues and developments affecting planning, regeneration and local government in London."

Anglo Saxon helmet [square]Fun fact: Although Londinium had been a major Roman city with a large and diverse population before the collapse of the Roman Empire, archaeologists were able to find almost no evidence of continued settlement in the Saxon period that followed the Roman departure.

This is in spite of the fact that there were numerous references to Lundenwic as a busy port and trading town, but the likes of the Venerable Bede, who wrote in the early 8th century that it was “a trading centre for many nations who visit it by land and sea”. So where was this Lundenic, if not in Roman Londinium?

We had to wait until he 1980s to answer this question when independent excavations by archeologists Alan Vince and Martin Biddle began to uncover evidence of an extensive Anglo-Saxon settlement in the area of what is now Covent Garden, a little to the west of Londinium and beyond the Roman city wall.

Subsequent excavations have confirmed that the settlement covered around 600,00 square metres along the north of The Strand (which at that time would have been the bank of the River Thames) from Aldwych in the east to the National Gallery in the west. Basically, it’s the length of The Strand and incorporates modern day Charing Cross, Leicester Square, bits of Soho (including Chinatown) and Covent Garden. This settlement can be dated back to the 600s and multiple digs have yielded a huge number of finds that tell us a great deal about it development and importance to Anglo Saxon England.

Find out more and apply


Location: Wakefield, West Yorkshire

The jobs: Planning officer (development management) x 2 : "The successful candidate will gain experience dealing with a range of planning applications within a diverse local authority area. You will need to be able to demonstrate that you have the necessary skills to work in a challenging and busy environment, dealing with schemes through the planning process and delivering timely, high-quality outcomes. The opportunity to undertake a post-graduate qualification in Planning using the Council’s apprenticeship levy is available for the right candidate."

Planning enforcement officer (development management):  "The successful candidate will deal with a varied planning enforcement caseload. You will need to be able to demonstrate that you have the necessary investigative and people skills to take cases from initial investigation to resolution through appropriate actions, in an outcome focused environment."

Rhubarb [square]Fun fact: Wakefield, as I'm sure you all know, is the ‘capital’ of the Rhubarb Triangle. The what what? The Rhubarb Triangle. You’re familiar with that, right? No? Sigh. Let me explain.

Imagine a geographic triangle, with Wakefield in West Yorkshire as one point of the triangle, Rothwell (about six miles to the north-east) as the second point and Morley (7 miles north-west) as the third and now stuff it full of rhubarb.

It’s true: this area is an internationally important centre for the production of ‘forced’ rhubarb – so much so, that in 2010 Yorkshire forced rhubarb was given protected status in the EU. Yet, rhubarb is not even a native plant of the UK; it’s from Siberia. But some smart soul discovered that it thrives in the cold and wet winters of West Yorkshire. 

The plant spends TWO YEARS in the field before being dug up and transported into to a heated shed, where it’s kept in total darkness. Here, it’s ‘forced’ – the natural carbohydrates in the plant’s roots turn to sugar and give the rhubarb its distinctive sweet taste.

So, now you know. You may also wish to know that the importance of rhubarb to the regional economy is celebrated every year at the Wakefield food and drink festival AND in 2005 a sculpture of a rhubarb plant was commissioned and installed in the city’s Holmfield Park.

Now we’ve found the rhubarb triangle, we’re looking for the custard square...

Find out more and apply


Location: Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

The job: "AEPG is a land promoter, specialising in large regeneration projects with an experienced entrepreneurial team creating places to live, learn, work and play.  We have a number of exceptional projects already under way, with more exciting propositions in the pipeline.  As a result, an exciting new position has arisen for a head of planning.

"This is a new and exciting opportunity to lead the entire planning function at AEPG based in Peterborough, but with a requirement to travel throughout the UK on occasion. This role reports directly into the CEO and will have contact with consultants, local planning authorities, stakeholders, strategic partners and local communities.

"You will bring to the role an excellent understanding of the planning system, inspirational team leadership, persuasive communication and presentation skills, and the ability to deliver a range of complex projects. This role will give you an unparalleled opportunity to shape AEPG’s growth, delivering exemplary new developments.

"The key purpose of the role is to lead and carry out all planning and development appraisals, prepare and submit planning and other related applications within the residential, leisure and industrial and commercial sectors for both immediate projects and all strategic future developments."

Old Scarlett [square]Fun fact: Within Peterborough Cathedral is a 16th-century fresco and statement commemorating the life of a gravedigger. This wasn't just any old gravedigger, but Old Scarlett, who served St John’s Parish Church in Peterborough for decades before his death at the (then) spectacular age of 98. Such was his fame that he may even have inspired the gravedigger in Shakespeare’s Hamlet who uncovers the bones of Yorick (“Alas, poor Yorick, etc”).

Both in 1594, Robert Scarlett served as parish clerk and sexton for St John’s under three vicars. As sexton, his duties would have included ringing the church bell, keeping the churchyard clean and burying townsfolk.

The fresco depicts Old Scarlett with a pick and shovel and it’s said that he buried two queens in the cathedral (Katharine of Aragon and Mary Queen of Scots), as well as scores of clergy and several generations of local people. He was digging graves well into his 80s.

Such was his local fame that when he died, the parishioners insisted that he be buried in the cathedral itself, along with the accompanying painting and text. 

Find out more and apply


Location: Maidenhead, Berks

The job: "The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead takes pride in its exceptional team of dedicated professionals who are passionate about providing quality services to the community. The council values a collaborative and inclusive work environment, fostering creativity and innovation in all aspects of its operations.

"Joining the team means being part of a forward-thinking organisation that continually strives to improve and make a positive impact on the community.

"Working in our development management team, you will find:

  • A recently adopted local plan
  • Strategic and large allocated development sites
  • Interesting, varied, and challenging workload
  • Commitment to ensuring that future developments are at the forefront in terms of design quality, sustainability and maximising the provision of affordable housing in the Borough.
  • Hybrid working – with flexibility
  • Support from team leaders 
  • The opportunity to develop and grown your career
  • Easy access to and from London on the Elizabeth line
  • A fantastic living environment.

"The planning officer role would deal with householder and small minor planning applications and certificates; provide advice and answer enquiries; and deal with written representation planning appeals. You may be asked to help more senior officers with larger and more complex applications and condition discharges. You will be expected to contribute to service improvement projects."

Dr Dolittle [square]Fun fact: Doctor Dolittle. He talks to the animals, for the most part shunning human company in his early Victorian West Country village of Puddleby-on-the-Marsh. The character, who first appeared in print in 1920 (in The Story of Doctor Dolittle: Being the History of His Peculiar Life at Home and Astonishing Adventures in Foreign Parts Never Before Printed) was the focus of 15 books written for children and may seem rather twee and charming.

But the circumstances under which he was created were anything but. Dr Dolittle was invented by Maidenhead-born civil engineer Hugh John Lofting, who wrote escapist tales to his children from the trenches of the First World War. In his own words, Lofting said that reality was “too horrible or too dull” to share with his children. So he created Doctor Dolittle instead and illustrated his homebound tales himself.

Lofting was seriously injured in the war and, once the conflict was over, settled in the United States, where he had studied civil engineering (at MIT). It was here that he published the first Doctor Dolittle tale in 1920, followed by a further 14 over the next three decades. 

In addition to Dolittle, Lofting wrote a number of books for younger children, a novel for older children and a single account of his wartime experience. This, Victory for the Slain, was a long poem in seven parts punctuated by the line “In war the only victors are the slain”.

Lofting died of cirrhosis of the liver at the age of 61, in California.

Find out more and apply

Image credits | iStock; RP Baiao, Shutterstock; cdrin, Shutterstock; iStock; Dovrat Ostroff, Shutterstock