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The Friday Five 05.07.24

Published on: 5 Jul 2024

It’s The Friday Five, our weekly round-up of five of the best town planning jobs currently advertised on Planner Jobs – plus some fun place-based facts to distract you on a day when everyone is talking about some other thing that happened. This is an election-free zone…

1. PRINCIPAL PLANNER, GREAT YARMOUTH BOROUGH COUNCIL

Location: Great Yarmouth, Norfolk/Hybrid

The job: "In the pivotal role of principal planning officer, you’ll play a key part in shaping the future development of our vibrant community. And now is a particularly exciting time to join Great Yarmouth Borough Council: we have recently become one of the first local authorities in the country to adopt a borough-wide design code, which is already helping to improve the quality of design in the area.

"A new local plan is under preparation and there will be an opportunity to contribute to this and help deliver it. Additionally, new modern planning software is on the horizon which will help streamline our processes and enable us to deliver high-quality customer service.

"What's more, Great Yarmouth is at the heart of a multi-billion-pound clean energy revolution as the closest place in the country for UK offshore energy sector growth. Our inspiring programme of regeneration includes the recently announced rejuvenation of the historic Winter Gardens, a new waterfront development at North Quay and improvements to our historic marketplace. In addition, Great Yarmouth will become a university town in 2024 and will see the completion of an operations and maintenance campus which will support the offshore energy sector.

"With these strategic projects and issues as diverse as economic regeneration, housing need, coastal change, internationally protected habitats and flood risk, Great Yarmouth is the perfect place for a planner to get experience of unique and interesting planning applications and other casework."

Great Yarmouth Hippodrome [square]Fun fact: Great Yarmouth has been a seaside destination since 1760 but it really took off with the opening of the railway in 1844, ensuring easier, cheaper access and some new settlement. By 1858, it had two piers and was catering to large numbers of visitors.

This being the UK, however, the weather could not always be relied upon, so the town developed a number of indoor attractions, too. Chief among these, arguably, is the famed Great Yarmouth Hippodrome, which hosts (still) an indoor circus.

Designed by architect Ralph Scott Cockrill and built by George Gilbert, it opened in 1903 and is the last remaining purpose-built circus building in Britain. As such, it has such wondrous features as a circus ring that sinks into a pool for waterbound extravaganzas.

This original feature was painstakingly restored in 1981 after the building, which had seen better days, was bought by one-time pop star Peter Jay of Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers fame (they toured with The Beatles, don’t you know?) Anyhow, each summer season of performances at the Hippodrome still promises a ‘Circus & Water Spectacular’!

It’s had a variety of other uses throughout its history, however. It’s been a cinema, a shooting range during the Second World War, a place for political rallies by Lloyd George, a showcase for the talents of the likes of Lillie Langtry and Harry Houdini and a popular venue for all-in wrestling.

More recently, it has hosted The Berlin Symphony Orchestra, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Julian Lloyd Webber and The Russian Philharmonic, Circus of Horrors, BBC TV’s Question Time, and The Kooks. 

According to its own website, the Hippodrome was dubbed by The Daily Telegraph as “One of the seven wonders of the British seaside”. Can't say fairer than that.

Find out more and apply

2. SENIOR PLANNING OFFICER, SCOTTISH ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION AGENCY

Location: Scotland/Flexible

The job: "As senior planning officer at SEPA, you'll play a critical role in a small national team that is pivotal in enabling us to fulfil our statutory duties as a key agency in Scotland’s planning system. The focus of the post is to support delivery of the Scottish Government’s climate change ambitions that are at the core of National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4).

"This will include:

  • Supporting the rapid expansion of development for renewable, low-carbon and zero emission technologies, including through alignment of planning and our regulatory regimes
  • Supporting the delivery of infrastructure for zero waste and to develop Scotland’s circular economy in appropriate locations that maximise opportunities and minimise impacts for communities and the environment
  • Supporting a place-based approach to delivering climate resilient places.

"You'll achieve this by providing specialist support and guidance to SEPA’s frontline planning teams and across the Agency to realise the opportunities presented through our engagement with local development plans, development management applications and Energy Consent Unit proposals, as well as by working with the Scottish Government and other partners to influence new legislation, policies and guidance relating to land use planning and climate change."

European eel [square]Fun fact: The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), or Buidheann Dìon Àrainneachd na h-Alba in Scottish Gaelic, is Scotland’s environmental regulator; a big part of its work is focused on water, monitoring quality and flood risk. 

And water forms a pretty big part of one Scotland’s most famous features: Loch Ness. It’s only the second biggest loch in Scotland, after Loch Lomond, but is immensely deep – a quite vertiginous 230 metres at its deepest. Its volume is so great, in fact, that it contains more water than all the lakes in England and Wales combined. 

This depth, and its murky, peat-saturated water has given rise to a few fairly notable urban (or in this case rural) myths; but for now, we’ll steer clear of Loch Ness’ most famous, and elusive, resident. What is certainly in the loch, but no less mysterious, is the European Eel. 

The European Eel, which is at risk across the continent, confounded fishermen and naturalists alike for centuries. No one ever laid eyes on what they considered a ‘baby eel’ – indeed, Aristotle hypothesised that they spawned from mud, growing from the "guts of wet soil". 

Eels indirectly gave us a psychological revolution; as a young student in Vienna, Sigmund Freud became so frustrated with dissecting hundreds of eels in search of their reproductive organs that he gave up and pursued other interests, such as psychoanalysis.

The mystery of the missing baby eels was finally resolved in the early 20th century when it eventually became clear that the eels spawn in the Sargasso Sea, an area of the Atlantic between North America and the Caribbean. They then migrate all the way to European waters, arriving as fully grown adults. Isn't nature amazing?

Find out more and apply

3. PLANNING POLICY DATA AND SPATIAL TECHNICIAN, BABERGH AND MID SUFFOLK DISTRICT COUNCILS

Location: Ipswich, Suffolk/Hybrid

The job: "We're looking for a planning policy data and spatial technician to join our team in strategic planning. The team is also responsible for monitoring the implementation of policies in our recently adopted joint local plan part 1 and our emerging joint local plan part 2, together with supporting neighbourhood planning groups develop their neighbourhood development plans.

"As planning policy data and spatial technician, you'll provide a proactive and leading role to maintain high quality data sets, including the use of planning spatial data. This data forms an ongoing, fundamental aspect of the councils’ joint local plan evidence base and associated monitoring.

"Information being maintained will include:

  • new development build progress
  • local plan settlement boundaries
  • site boundaries for proposed land-use allocations.

"This will need to be kept up to date, as well as, maintaining constraint layers, and policies maps, showing visually how the policies will be implemented."

Old lawnmower [square]Fun fact: Lawnmowers. You probably don’t give them much thought. Although it’s fair to say that we wouldn’t have the Wimbledon tennis tournament but for the invention of the lawnmower, which made lawn tennis a playable sport. We digress.

Lawnmowers. Let us introduce you to the venerable firm of Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies, Ipswich’s finest manufacturers of machinery for use in the agricultural trades since before the French revolution of 1789, ie, quite a long time ago.

We won’t give you the particulars, as we need to get to the point. But, among other devices, Ransomes has, over the years constructed traction engines, trolleybuses, ploughs, combine harvesters, forklift trucks, First World War military aircraft – and the world’s first commercially available powered lawnmower driven by an internal combustion engine. Oh, there had been lawnmowers before, including Ransomes’ own ‘Automaton’ hand-powered mower of 1867. But there had been nothing like this before 1902.

The motorised mower was, of course, a sensation. Indeed, as late as 1910 it was awarded the very prestigious gold medal in the South Russian Regional Agricultural Industrial and Crafts Exhibition for steam-threshing machines and portable steam engines. You’ve heard of that, right? Everyone's heard of that, no?

Anyhow, flush from their mowing success, Ransomes expanded into early battery-electric commercial road vehicles, fighter planes and forklift trucks. And the firm remained in operation until 1989, when the bulk of the business was sold to Electrolux. Ransomes itself continued to produce lawnmowers for a few more years until snapped up by an American company in 1998 – bringing more than 200 years of independent history to an end. Cut short, but neatly, we hope.

Find out more and apply

4. SENIOR PLANNING ENFORCEMENT OFFICER/PLANNING ENFORCEMENT OFFICER - DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT, GUILDFORD BOROUGH COUNCIL

Location: Guildford, Surrey

The job: "We want to appoint an enthusiastic and committed officer to join our skilled planning enforcement team. The team investigates and enforces planning regulations to ensure a high quality built and natural environment. 

"As a senior planning enforcement officer, you'll have good working knowledge and experience of planning enforcement and legislation and proven ability to:

  • enforce legislation where appropriate
  • liaise with members of the public about planning enforcement complaints
  • draft reports and notices on planning enforcement investigations
  • represent the council on enforcement related appeals
  • represent the council in court proceedings in relation to enforcement cases, where appropriate. 

"This is an exciting opportunity to join a motivated development management team to help shape the borough for the future. Guildford is an attractive and thriving market town, being a regional centre for leisure, business, education, retail and culture.  It has brilliant transport links with by road and rail with London, the South Coast and the Surrey Hills National Landscape all accessible by train. The town centre is currently under going regeneration and with a number of large strategic developments in the surrounding area."

Carry on Sergeant stamp [square]Fun fact: Back in the 1860s and 70s, the British Army found itself at a bit of crossroads. Having basked somewhat complacently in its superiority through many decades of Empire building, it was rather rudely shocked out of its torpor by the performance on the battlefield of the much more professional and far better-equipped Prussian Army which had absolutely stocked the French Army on the battlefield (yes, we know all this Imperial stuff is ridiculous and profoundly anachronistic, but this does end with a spot of classic British humour).

What to do, what to do? Simples, take the army to the people, recruit locally and professionalise. Between 1868 and 1874, the secretary of state for war (‘war’, seriously?) Edward Cardwell oversaw a programme of building local barracks around Britain to create a standing reserve army, amend a whole bunch of other reforms intended to professionalise the whole shebang.

One such barracks could be found in the Stoughton district of Guildford a few hundred metres from where – ahem – your writer may have grown up. Even as late as the 1980s there was still some kind of army presence at the barracks, a rather imposing Gothic fortress of red brick beside an infants’ school. 

This is all a very roundabout way to tell you that possibly the most interesting thing to be said about Stoughton Barracks – indeed, perhaps even the most interesting thing to be said about Stoughton, unless you count the time a very young U2 played in a pub owned by all-in wrestler Mick McManus – is that in 1958 it launched a British comedy institution.

For Stoughton Barracks – or Cardwell's Keep as it came to be known – was the filming location for the very first Carry On film, Carry On Sergeant. Starring William Hartnell, Bob Monkhouse and Carry On stalwarts Kenneth Williams and Charles Hawtrey, it was a massive success, being the third most successful movie at the British box office in 1958. The rest, of course, is history.

As for the barracks, it limped along until the early ’80s when it was sold to Countryside Properties. Parts of the keep remain, while the rest of the barracks has been redeveloped as a housing estate called, unsurprisingly, Cardwell's Keep.

Find out more and apply

5. PLANNING POLICY TEAM LEADER, CHERWELL DISTRICT COUNCIL

Location: Banbury, Oxfordshire

The job: "Following an internal promotion, Cherwell District Council needs a new planning policy team leader to push forward our local plan review and other planning policy work.

"The local plan is one of the council’s most important strategies and is a highly visible area of the work. Working with our planning policy, conservation and design manager, you'll lead a team of officers to deliver the plan, engaging with other services, elected members, communities, developers and neighbouring authorities.

"You'll need the skills, drive and commitment to lead and deal with a complex and varied planning policy workload. You'll need to be a good planner. You should also be proactive, delivery focused, innovative and highly adept in group working and problem solving. The ability to stay focused whilst being aware of wider challenges is essential. You should be good with people and strong at team working."

Historic racing car [square]Fun fact: The district of Cherwell is famously home to plenty of rolling countryside, but perhaps surprisingly it’s also played its part as a centre for British motoring heritage. Across the area you’ll find specialist motor manufacturers and even Formula One teams.

Today, the area’s motoring heritage is perhaps best accessed through Bicester Heritage, described as “the UK’s only hub for historic motoring excellence” and “the national centre for an £18 billion per annum industry that employs over 34,000 skilled people”.

It’s a genuinely intriguing site that’s been built on the former RAF Bicester, a World War Two RAF bomber training station – itself a good case study, the site having formerly been added to Historic England’s ‘At Risk Register’ in 2008 and designated the most ‘at risk’ of all Defence Estates in the UK).

This is a really interesting story about a specialist industrial site developing history-preserving careers and bringing together world-leading specialists in the automotive industry. All in the middle of Cherwell’s very leafy green part of England.

Find out more and apply

Image credits | Wirestock Creators, Shutterstock; Martin Pelanek, Shutterstock; Anutr Yossundara, Shutterstock; Neftali, Shutterstock; Stephan Hoerold, iStock