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The Friday Five 09.06.23

Written by: Planner Team
Published on: 8 Jun 2023

It's the Friday five, our weekly round-up of five of the best town planning job vacancies on The Planner Jobs this week. Plus some place-based facts. This week, great jobs in Borehamwood, Torbay, Portsmouth, Buxton and Leek; and the tragic tale of the real life adventurer who was the inspiration behind Indiana Jones.


Location: Borehamwood, Hertfordshire

The job: "We are looking to appoint a motivated and ambitious principal planning officer to join a vibrant team at a point in time when we are preparing a new local plan in Hertsmere.

"You will have the opportunity to be involved in a wide range of planning and transport projects, including progression of the council’s local plan, assisting with the delivery of strategic site release for housing and employment land delivery and dealing with major strategic site applications.

"Hertsmere is a dynamic borough located in south-west Hertfordshire close to Watford and St. Albans. The council offices are situated in Borehamwood, home to the world-famous BBC Elstree and Elstree Studios, the new Sky Studios Elstree, within Zone 6 and with a fast direct rail link to London St. Pancras.

"Hertsmere Borough Council is bringing forward an innovative growth programme delivered through a new local plan. We are working closely with our public and private sector partners to identify and deliver new growth opportunities in our towns and villages. The post holder will be a key appointment within our planning and economic development service, given the scale of our ambitions as a progressive local planning authority."

Tv cameras [square]Fun fact: Grange Hill, arguably the greatest children's TV series ever (yes, I grew up in the 80s) was filmed during its peak years at the BBC studios in Borehamwood. 

From 1985 until around 1990 - years during which Zammo's drug problems and Gonch's moneymaking schemes dominated storylines - the show attained massive reach and popularity, with cast members even visiting the first lady of the United States as part of an anti-drugs campaign. It was famed for its hard-hitting storylines and its very open treatments of issues such as bullying, teacher-pupil relationships, learning difficulties, racism, teenager pregnancy, suicide and the like. 

Its aim had always been to be realistic, but media interest drifted and by the mid-90s the show had lost its way with storylines becoming ever more issues driven and, as such, somewhat unrealistic. By 2008, the programme had been subsumed into CBBC, meaning that it had to cater to an audience under 12 and its lost original character completely. It didn't last much longer.

It's rumoured there may be a movie in the works, written by Grange Hill's  founder and original writer Phil Redmond. Watch this space.

Find out more and apply


Location: Torbay, Devon

The job: "Torbay is breath-taking, captivating, and welcoming, occupying a prime position on the south coast of Devon. Currently experiencing unprecedented levels of investment and the council’s own ambitious transformation programme have given Torbay the opportunity to capitalise on the area’s profile and many assets.

"As a small unitary authority, you’ll discover Torbay is a place where you can make things happen quickly. To deliver our ambition and to Make Torbay Better, we are now seeking a head of development management. You will lead a critical part of our organisation, ensuring that the team delivers an exceptional customer experience, working with our partners to help shape the future of Torquay, Brixham, Paignton and the surrounding areas. Developing upon our heritage led regeneration projects and the transformation of our town centres, you will lead and motivate our exceptional team, driving transformation and performance improvement, supporting our broader ambitions for our businesses and residents."

Indiana Jones video box [square]Fun fact: The British adventurer upon whom the character of Indiana Jones is allegedly based, was born in Torquay in 1867.

Percy Harrison Fawcett had one of those lives that you would assume was made up if it weren't for the fact that all aspects of it (except for his untimely demise) can be attested. 

A  geographer, artillery officer, cartographer, archaeologist, and explorer of South America, was best known for his repeated visits to the Amazon America in search of a rumoured ancient lost city. It was on one of these trips - along with his own son and a son's friend - that Fawcett disappeared in 1925. Fawcett was well known for his cordial and respectful relations with the indigenous peoples of the Amazon, yet rumours persisted for a long time that he and his companions had met a violent death at the hands of an Amazonian tribe.

Indeed, 20 years later a Kalapalo chief related the story of how three unwelcome strangers were killed and even provided bones as evidence. Analysis proved that the bones were not those of Fawcett or his companions (so God knows who else they killed).

The truth, as ever, is likely to be more prosaic. The trio had intentionally travelled light. Quite probably there were simply too few of them with too few resources and too little support to survive for very long in the unforgiving environment. They probably died of illness and starvation - and the lost city, if it even existed, remained undiscovered. 

Find out more and apply


Location: Portsmouth, Hampshire

The job: "This is an exciting time to come and join our Planning Service. We are looking for a principal planning officer, a senior planning officer and a planning officer to help champion the delivery of high quality, sustainable new communities with green space, residents’ stewardship and infrastructure delivery as guiding principles.

"Portsmouth is surrounded by internationally important habitats, voted the coolest city outside of London in 2022 and home to over 600 listed buildings and 25 conservation areas, along with a vibrant seafront, it is a city of interesting and diverse challenges for any planner.

"The planning team is responsible for dealing with planning proposals and associated appeals, as well as providing guidance and advice to a wide range of customers inside and outside of the organisation. You will be part of a team that will deliver a responsive development management service focused on delivering sustainable development and growth within Portsmouth."

William Turner [square]Fun fact: Ah, Bruges, Amsterdam, Birmingham,... Portsmouth? Pompey might not be the most obvious candidate for the title of ‘The Venice of the North’, but according to a curator at the Tate Britain gallery, we’ve all mistaken a pair of Turner paintings of Portsmouth for the famous Italian lagoon city.

The paintings, Festive Lagoon Scene, Venice (1840-5) and Procession of Boats with Distant Smoke, Venice (1845), have now been the paintings have been renamed The Arrival of Louis-Philippe at Portsmouth 8 October 1844 and The disembarkation of Louis-Philippe, 8 October 1844. Art historian Tim Marlow said the news was “Bloody marvellous", and praised curator Ian Warrell’s findings, which hinged on the presence of red-coated figures in the paintings- more likely to be British soldiers in Portsmouth than Venice, it was reasoned.  

Find out more and apply


Location: Bexley, London

The job: "At Bexley we have just adopted a new local plan which is clear about what we want to happen, where and to the very high standards our communities expect. Making this happen falls to a wide range of people across our team, but none more important than development management and regulatory services who help our borough flourish and grow with buildings and businesses that are well designed, well managed and safe. And that’s where you come in.

"You’ll lead a number of expert, high-performing teams who are monitoring and advising on a range of regulatory issues. Development management and building control are probably the larger elements of the role, but you’ll also be responsible for trading standards, food safety, environmental health, licensing (including HMOs) and health and safety. A clear understanding of development management and building control is essential, and you should be comfortable with acquiring the level of subject-specific knowledge – including legislation – that’s required of the wider aspects of the job. Strong candidates will additionally bring experience of enforcement and prosecutions, land charges, street naming and numbering."

Stage with microphone [square]Fun Fact: One of Britain's best loved - and much-missed - comedians hailed from Bexley. Linda Smith, who was also president of the British Humanist Association, was born in Erith in the borough in 1958. A regular on radio and TV comedy panel shows, she was voted "Wittiest Living Person" by Radio 4 listeners in 2002.

Smith also had an extensive career as a stand-up and wrote and starred in her own radio sitcom on radio 4, Linda Smith's A Brief History of Timewasting. After appearing on the same station's Devout Sceptics show in 2004, she was invited by British Humanist Association to be its president, a role she filled until her untimely death of ovarian cancer in 2006.

The Linda Smith Collection at the University of Kent contains notes, diaries, scripts, audio-visual recordings, photographs, press cuttings, correspondence and publicity material from throughout her life and career. 

Find out more and apply


Location: Leek, Staffordshire, and Buxton, Derbyshire

The job: "High Peak Borough Council and Staffordshire Moorlands District Council have a long  running and successful shared service. Both councils are forward thinking and  committed to shaping the future, support economic growth and sustainable development, and protect and enhance the environment.

"An opportunity has arisen for a planning policy officer within our development  services team. You will be playing a key part in delivering sustainable development  and contributing towards our ambitious economic growth plans. 

"High Peak has recently completed an initial consultation on its local plan and  continues to develop evidence to support the development of policy. The post holder  will be expected to lead on sustainability assessment for the plan review as well as  contributing to the development of strategic policies. 

"The successful candidate will support the delivery of our planning policy function across the alliance and take responsibility for a full range of planning policy work which  contributes towards the development of planning policies in accordance with national  policy, regulations and best practice."

Leek, Staffordshire [square]Fun Fact: Leek, Staffordshire, was home to over 300 French prisoners of war from 1803 to 1815- the height of the Napoleonic Wars. It’s unclear if the Frenchmen referred to their new home as Le Poireau (pronounced in a similar fashion to Agatha Christie’s moustachioed detective), but the soldiers were allowed a level of freedom in the town, a curfew of 5 o’clock in the winter and 8 o’clock in the summer, and some are buried in the graveyard. The last Napoleonic prisoner died in Leek in 1874, and some settled in the town. There is a memorial plaque to the prisoners in the churchyard of St Edward’s. 

Find out more and apply

Image credits | iStock and Shutterstock