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The Friday Five 08.09.23

Published on: 7 Sep 2023

It's The Friday Five - our weekly round-up of five of the best jobs on Planner Jobs. Plus some place-based facts to inform and entertain. This week, new opportunities in Matlock, PINS, Hull, Chinnor and Ambleside. Plus the Amazon of Matlock Green, motorway numbering and The Land of Green Ginger.

1. PLANNING AND ESTATES MANAGER, LONGCLIFFE GROUP

Location: Matlock, Derbyshire

The job: "A fantastic opportunity has arisen within the Longcliffe Group for an experienced professional within the quarrying / minerals / planning sector to join our successful and growing business. Both a strategic and hands-on role, the successful candidate will lead our approach on planning, estates and mineral management for the group.

"Longcliffe was established in 1927 and is one of the very few independent hard rock quarries left in England, and one of the largest which is still family owned. We employ over 190 people, some of whose forebears also worked for the company, and we're proud of the fact that many others have been with us for more than 25 years.

"Duties will include:

  • Responsibility for the management and development of the Longcliffe land and mineral portfolio.
  • Ability to communicate with people at all levels both internal and external, including regulatory authorities, stakeholders, contractors and local community.
  • A proven track record in a similar role within the extractive industry sector would be an advantage.
  • Providing a strategic input into the future development of the portfolio."

High Tor, Derbyshire [square]Fun fact: At The Friday Five, we’re drawn to eccentric and idiosyncratic characters of the kind around whom myths and legends develop. So let us introduce Phoebe Bown, the Amazon of Matlock Green. Born in 1771, she was so-called on account of her physical stature (she was more than six feet tall), strength and general athleticism, as well as her preference for activities and occupations that were traditionally male: among other things, she was a blacksmith, a carpenter, a stonemason, a crack shot, a farmer, a horse trainer (said to be one of the finest judges of a horse in the county) and a pugilist who would happily fight any man.

However, she was also reputed to be a skilled musician who could play the bass viol, violin and flute) and able to recite extensive passages from Shakespeare from memory. An account of her life was written by a near contemporary whose father knew Phoebe well. Of her he says: “She was rough, rude, uncouth, eccentric, and masculine, but she knew what was right, and in her rough way abided by it. She was occasionally spoken rudely to and insulted in her loneliness by those who ought to have known better, but her assailants, whether singly or in numbers, always were worsted, either by tongue or by sheer force.” She was said to have been terrified of being attacked and filled her home (opposite High tor, pictured) with home-made weapons.

Phoebe lived to the heathy age of 82 or 83, dying in 1854. Although easily able to support herself as a younger woman, her later years were made easy by an annuity bestowed by the local aristocratic family. An epitaph was written for her (although it doesn’t appear on her headstone at St Giles’ Church):

Here Lies romantic Phoebe
Half Gannymede and half Hebe
A maid of mutable condition
A jockey, cowherd and musician.

Find out more and apply

2. INFRASTRUCTURE INSPECTOR – BAND 3, PLANNING INSPECTORATE

Location: Remote (anywhere in UK)

The job: "As a band 3 inspector, you will be appointed to undertake a broad range of infrastructure casework on some of the most complex applications across various consenting frameworks, such as nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIPs). 

"You may be asked to lead a panel where you will have overall responsibility of the examination. This will include leading and managing panel members confidently and with conviction, identifying and agreeing work areas of responsibility, mentoring and supporting panel members at a personal and professional level, managing the panel dynamics to ensure good and practical working relationships and ensuring work packages are delivered and things are kept to programme. 

"Band 3 inspectors can also be appointed as single inspectors to more complex and challenging cases on their own. You may also be appointed to other areas of infrastructure casework such as permits and wayleaves in the field of energy and water resources and orders under the Transport and Works and Highway Acts which are currently done by way of either written reps Secretary of State (SoS) at the Department for Transport (DfT) or by inquiry run by the Inspectorate.

"We’re looking for people who can make impartial recommendations and decisions based on sound judgement and evidence and can communicate those decisions clearly – in writing and speaking. You will be able to thrive in an autonomous home-based environment, whilst being a team player working collaboratively with others. Band 3 inspectors will need to have the experience and skills to lead panels of senior professionals and resilience to manage the most complex and controversial cases."

M6 motorway [square]Fun fact: On infrastructure… much of the major infrastructure investment in the 20th century was to enable and support a vehicle-based economy. Most notably, perhaps, 1958 onwards saw the introduction and expansion of the UK’s motorway network.

Britain's first motorway was an eight-mile stretch of road offering a bypass around Preston that was opened on 5 December 1958. It’s now part of the M6. Not the M1, note – as you might expect, but the M6. Of course, the M6 itself is much longer now and carries hundreds of thousands of vehicles a day.

What followed this first stretch of motorway was the M1 (1959, London to Birmingham, then Leeds), the M6 (linking Rugby to Manchester and Preston), the M50 (Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire), the M4 (1965, heading west out of London).

This is all well and good, but isn’t the numbering system a bit haphazard? Why aren’t motorways named for the order in which they opened – ie, M1, M2, M3, M4, etc?

This is, in fact, possibly the most interesting thing to be said about the motorway network, and the UK road network generally. Road-numbering has nothing to do with the order in which roads were opened, but their location. Every road number (M, A or B) follows a zonal numbering system which follows a clockwise arrangement around London (which, as we all know, is the centre of everything, right?). 

So, starting with 1 (north/north-east of London), we go 2 (south-east/south of London), 3 (south-west/west of London) and 4 (west/north-west of London). You then jump across zones 3 and 4 to 5 (the west, including south-west England, Wales, north-west England) and across zones 1 and 4 to 6 (West Midlands and the North).

Head into Scotland and you’re looking at the M8 (Glasgow to Edinburgh) and the M9 (Edinburgh to Dunblane). The observant among you will have noticed that THERE IS NO M7. It seems a remarkable oversight, but the more prosaic truth is that the A7, which runs from Carlisle to Edinburgh and is partly incorporated into the M6, has been considered sufficient enough to date. There’s an M7 in Ireland, however.

Find out more and apply

3. PLANNING OFFICER (CONSERVATION), HULL CITY COUNCIL

Location: Hull, East Yorkshire

The job: "An exciting opportunity has arisen in the planning department at Hull City Council for a planning officer (conservation). 

"The role presents a great opportunity to be involved in a wide range of planning activities. This will include assisting with the review and update of the Hull Local Plan and other relevant planning policy documents, including supplementary plans and masterplans. It will include production and maintenance of evidence to support policies, as well as providing support for consultation activities. The post will include a particular focus on conservation and may therefore be particularly attractive to those with an interest in the historic built environment assisting with a wide range of conservation and heritage work including appraisals of conservation areas and other heritage assets. 

"The post is career graded, offering opportunity to progress as skills and knowledge develop. The opportunity to undertake a post-graduate qualification in Town & Country Planning using the Council’s apprenticeship levy is available for the right candidate."

Land of Green Ginger [square]Fun fact: The Land of Green Ginger. No, it’s not a new sequel to The Wizard of Oz, but a street name in Hull. No, really, there’s a street in Hull that is actually called The Land of Green Ginger. As if the name isn’t weird enough, it probably has absolutely nothing to do with green ginger and is most likely a corruption of something entirely different (and possibly in a foreign tongue).

Anyway, The Land of Green Ginger is a narrow street at the bottom of Whitefriars in Hull’s old town. It was, apparently, once known as Old Beverley but a some time in the 17th/early 18th century its name changed. The name may derive quite simply from the storage of the spice ginger in the vicinity during the Middle Ages. But that’s exceedingly prosaic and doesn’t explain the whole ‘Land of...’ bit. Why not just Ginger Spice Lane or some such?

A more poetic and thus satisfying explanation is that the name comes from that of a Dutch family with the surname Lindegreen, who lived in Hull in the early 19th century. The Land of Green Ginger could thus be a corruption of Lindegroen jonger (Lindegreen junior). 

There are other suggestions, all groping in the dark equally. Truth is, no one knows the origin of this slice of place-based whimsy. It has, however, spawned novels, plays, songs and community art projects; there’s even a train named after the street. More whimsy, that’s what we need.

Find out more and apply

4. PLANNING OFFICER, CHILTERNS CONSERVATION BOARD

Location: Chinnor, Oxfordshire

The job: "The Chilterns Conservation Board (CCB) is a statutory body established by Parliamentary Order in 2004. It is one of only two conservation boards set up so far under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. Our primary role is to promote to conservation and enhancement of the natural beauty of the Chilterns AONB. Where it would be compatible with that role, we also promote the understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities and seek to foster the economic and social well-being of local communities. 

"In doing so, we are required to have due regard to the needs of agriculture and forestry, the economic and social interests of rural areas, and the protection against pollution of water, whether on the surface or underground.

"Influencing planning policies and decisions is a key means of achieving these objectives, and CCB employs a small planning team for this purpose. The Board has no specific planning powers and relies on engaging with policy- and decision-makers and, principally, responding to consultations, in order to fulfil its role.

"We are therefore seeking a qualified planning professional with practical knowledge and experience of working with development plans, who can take on a large proportion of our planning policy casework, focusing on statutory development plans and other plans and strategies. This will also include transport and other infrastructure plans, with opportunities to engage with a broad range of other casework types.

"A demonstrable interest in landscape, natural beauty and both natural and cultural heritage would be an advantage, as would experience of planning for transport, minerals and waste and/or other infrastructure planning projects."

Nadine Dorries [square]Fun fact: There’s recently been much talk in the media of the Chiltern Hundreds – specifically in relation to the office of Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Chiltern Hundreds,  which provides an archaic mechanism for a member of Parliament to resign their seat without actually resigning.

British politics is full of peculiar traditions, but this has to be one of the oddest. Basically, since 1623 an MP has been forbidden to resign their seat. They can die. They can be expelled. But they cannot resign because at that time being an MP was an office that could only be occupied by a few privileged members of the landowning classes and it was considered an obligation and not much of a choice. MPs were often elected against their will and would resign. The 1623 law prevented them from doing so.

MPs were also considered to be profoundly important as a counterweight to the power of the Crown. As such, from 1680, it was forbidden for an MP to occupy a position of employment by the Crown. If they took one up, they would be expelled because they would not be able to carry out their MP duties impartially. 

Which brings us to the Crown Steward and Bailiff go the Chiltern Hundreds. It's an office of the Crown, but one which has been practically obsolete since the end of the 16th century, though maintained as a kind of ceremonial position. As such it provides a useful device for those MPs who wish to resign their seat without breaking the law. They can be ‘appointed’ to a Crown Stewardship, making them an employee of the Crown and disqualifying them from maintaining their role as an MP. They resign without actually resigning. This sleight of hand was first used in 1750 to enable an MP to resign a seat in order to contest another.

Currently, there are just two Crown Stewardships that fulfil this role: for the Chiltern Hundreds and for the Manor of Northstead. And why are they in the news? Because both positions, usually, are currently filled: Nadine Dorries is Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Chiltern Hundreds; meanwhile, erstwhile planning minister Christopher Pincher (‘Pincher by name...’) is Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead. How the mighty fall, eh? Still, he's getting paid for it.

Find out more and apply

5. ASSISTANT PLANNING ADVISER (PART TIME), NATIONAL TRUST

Location: Ambleside, Cumbria, or Altrincham, Greater Manchester

The job: "A fantastic opportunity has arisen in our North region for a planner seeking to develop their career with a varied and interesting workload. The properties you’ll support include the Lake District National Park, Dunham Massey, Lyme Park, Quarry Bank Mill, the Beatles houses and other nationally significant buildings and sites. 

"Our planning team has a meaningful role to play in promoting a coordinated approach to sustainable development. It’s a busy and exciting time to join, with challenges ranging from major infrastructure projects to the sensitive development of our own properties to sustain their future, tackle climate change and enable them to welcome everyone.

"You’ll primarily support the work of our planning adviser within the North of England. You’ll be based at either our Grasmere or Altrincham office, but have the flexibility to work from home, and properties.

"You’ll be working alongside specialists including archaeologists, ecologists and curators. You’ll support and collaborate with colleagues in the regional team and, importantly, at many of our properties.

"You’ll have the opportunity to engage with a wide range of planning issues with a particular focus on the conservation of heritage, ecology and the coast. Under the guidance of a senior planning adviser, you’ll assist with planning matters across our regional portfolio of properties, advising on our development proposals. You’ll also monitor and respond to external planning applications, and consultations on local and neighbourhood plans. You’ll engage with officers at local planning authorities and with statutory consultees including Historic England and Natural England."

William Wordsworth [square]Fun fact: This particular position can be based at the National Trust's Allan Bank property in Grasmere, Cumbria. This Georgian villa itself is not that remarkable - though its location is spectacular; what makes it special is the identity of one of its past residents.

For several years Allan Bank was home to the poet William Wordsworth (and later on to National Trust founder Hardwicke Rawnsley, but let's talk a little about Wordsworth). In fact it was to some extent a kind of base camp for the early 19th century Romantic movement. At various times it also provided home and lodging to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Thomas de Quincey and later to other towing figures such as Matthew Arnold.

Wordsworth, though, settled at the recently built property in 1808 and stayed for three years with his wife, children, sister Dorothy (herself a noted poet and diarist) and various guests. Born on the edge of the Lake District in Cockermouth, Wordsworth had taken inspiration form he scenery and landscape (as well as excursions into revolutionary politics) to drive his Romantic vision of the world and the self. The Lakes were integral to his craft.

After time spent in London, Dorset, Somerset, France and Germany he had returned to the Lakes in the early 19th century and settled near Grasmere, remaining close by until his death in 1850.

Wordsworth had already written the poems that made his name (Lyrical Ballads, Tintern Abbey, Intimations of Immortality), though he was still struggling somewhat for reputation. While at Allan Bank he worked on the first version of his influential Guide to the Lakes (Wordsworth was an inveterate walker) and most of The Excursion, the long autobiographical poem that was intended to be part of a much larger work.

Wordsworth and his family moved from Allan Bank in 1811, at leat in part because of its very smoky chimneys, and relocated to the old parsonage in Grasmere. Dorothy is reported to have missed the wonderful views. 

Find out more and apply

Image credits | Greens and Blues, Shutterstock; Kevin Buckley, Shutterstock; Kerry's World, Shutterstock; ERic Johnson Photography, Shutterstock; iStock