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The Friday Five 12.05.23

Published on: 12 May 2023

It's the Friday Five – our weekly selection of top town planing jobs on Planner Jobs. Plus some place-based facts. This week, great jobs in Woking, Chelmsford, Addlestone, Dalkeith and Bakewell; and the tale of the last fatal duel in England.


Location: Woking, Surrey

The job: “This is an exciting time to be joining a forward-thinking and ambitious council committed to continual change and modernisation and ensuring the needs of all residents, businesses and visitors are met. We’ve just completed a planning peer review which has endorsed the quality and success of our service with an excellent track record of delivery. A review of the local plan will take place in 2023 and precede the commencement of work of a new local plan in place for 2027.

“Reporting into the head of planning, you will take responsibility for the preparation and delivery of the council’s statutory local planning duties in accordance with government legislation and the National Planning Policy Framework. You will also lead on infrastructure planning for the Council including the collection and monitoring of S106 receipts, and the Community Infrastructure Levy. As a key member of the planning service leadership team, you will work across the organisation and with external partners to secure our place ambitions. As the council’s planning policy advisor, you will be advising senior officers and members on key matters.”

The Spice Girls [square]Fun Fact: The relatively anonymous commuter town of Woking as a thriving hub of pop brilliance? Well, maybe. Famously, Woking is the home of mod revivalists The Jam, who wrote disparagingly about the town in their number one hit A Town Called Malice. Paul Weller still named his most famous solo album after the town, though, and continued to live in the area until fairly recently (as your author can attest, having once also been a Wokingian).

Then there’s Rick Parfitt, singer and rhythm guitarist for boogie-woogie merchants Status Quo. And songwriter Les Reed, responsible for both It’s Not Unusual and Delilah, both made famous by Tom Jones. Perhaps most colourful, however, are The Spice Girls who spent a good part of their early development at Trinity Studios in Knaphill, Woking.

The group was initially confected, conceived by a music management team as a way of competing with the very popular boy bands of the day. The final five young women who made the cut learnt to dance, sing, write songs and came up with the name The Spice Girls at the studios before showing a little girl power, ditching their management and going it alone. On reflection, this was probably a good thing – shortly afterwards, they signed a five album deal with Virgin Records and became global megastars. Trinity Studios is now the Woking Youth Arts Centre.

Find out more and apply


Location: Chelmsford/Anywhere

The job: “Would you like to have the opportunity to be at the forefront of creating new communities and pushing the boundaries of transport planning? Are you a highly motivated and experienced transport planning professional who understands the complexities of planning and delivering large scale strategic sites and national infrastructure proposals? Are you looking for a new and interesting challenge working for a highly motivated team addressing the infrastructure challenges for new communities and large-scale development? 

“This is a rare and exciting opportunity to be part of a new planning partnership approach between Essex County Council and Essex local authorities to deliver a well planned and designed settlements with strong policy response that puts health, community, and inclusiveness first.

“We are seeking a dynamic and experienced transport planner to join our growing and forward-thinking team of planners and transport planners to work on specific challenging residential, employment and infrastructure schemes, policies, and proposals and Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects.

“The postholder will be required to work closely with local planning authority teams in Essex. Working as part of the team, you would get involved in different projects at the earliest opportunity, providing a robust and co-ordinated response to growth challenges and opportunities as they arise. 

“Also being the key point of contact for specific site and proposals, this post will work alongside the manager and other principal planners within the Growth and Development team to co-ordinate and deliver a single corporate response to planning applications for major development proposals, garden communities and large scale nationally significant infrastructure projects for Essex County Council.”

Vote for me [square]Fun Fact: In the early part of the 19th century, Chelmsford routinely held ‘mock’ elections alongside official general elections as a way of lampooning the paucity of choices on offer to a largely vote deprived citizenry before the Great Reform Act of 1832, which extended the franchise. 

The election would take place on Mesopotamia Island between the rivers Can and Chelmer and would feature two candidates whose speeches mocked the local Whigs and Tories (the only official parties on offer). The two would be paraded around the town on horseback ahead of the vote and the loser would be unceremoniously dumped in the river.

Mock elections were probably quite common at the time. One took place each election at the notorious debtors’ prison the King’s Bench Prison, which could become quite a riotous affair. In the 18th century, The Garrat Election in Wandsworth would draw crowds of tens of thousands to hear the proclamations of two locals vying for the privilege of ‘representing’ a handful of cottages in the district. Here the qualification to vote clearly sent up the ridiculously strict qualifications for actual elections (which prevented almost everyone from being able to vote); electors had merely to have “enjoyed a woman, in the open air, in that district”.

The successful candidate, standing on a raft of unlikely policies, would often be “the most deformed and stupid”, according to Wikipedia. Plus ça change, eh?

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Location: Addlestone, Surrey/Hybrid

The job: “Are you looking to move forward and develop your town planning career? Or perhaps you are looking for your first opportunity to start your career in planning? 

“If you have a town planning (or related) degree or are due to graduate with one in 2023, then an opportunity as a planning officer is a fantastic opportunity to build a strong career in planning.  

“For a senior planning officer role, you would be expected to have strong comparable practical planning experience in a local authority. You would be given a case load of interesting and more complex cases and plenty of chances to further develop your skills.

“We are a friendly and ambitious development management team who have a great track record in delivering projects and are looking for a positive individual to join our team. We have an up to date local plan and an otherwise full team with all permanent staff.

“Most of all, we are seeking a confident, self-motivated and diplomatic person with a ‘can-do’ attitude and the ability to deliver positive outcomes for the future of the borough.”

Vintage duelling pistols [square]Fun Fact: The last fatal duel in England took place in Runnymede borough in 1852. The duel, fought between two French political refugees who fell out when one insulted the other’s sister, actually happened right on the edge of the modern-day borough on Priest Hill near Windsor Great Park.

The combatants, Frederic Cournet and Emmanuel Barthélemy, had both fled to England after being involved in attempted insurrections in France, in particular an 1848 uprising which saw working-class Parisians fighting troops on the streets of Paris.

Barthélemy, the victor, in the duel, had some form for violence. He had already been imprisoned in 1839 for shooting a police officer during a coup attempt by a radical political group. While in England, he became friendly with Karl Marx and, indeed, taught the German political philosopher how to fence before allegedly plotting with others to kill Marx for being too conservative. The plot foundered when Marx failed to respond to a challenge to a duel on some flimsy pretext.

After the duel, Barthélemy was arrested and convicted of manslaughter, for which he served seven months in prison. Two years later, while working for a soda water maker, he killed his employer with a stick and a gun, and then shot a policeman while fleeing the scene. 

Before the murder, he had apparently been planning to return to France to assassinate then Emperor Napoleon III,  but was instead picked up, charged with murder, convicted and hanged, publicly, in Newgate in 1855. He was just 32.

After his execution, a wax effigy of Barthélemy was exhibited at Madame Tussauds. Victor Hugo included a brief account of Barthélemy’s life in his 1862 novel, Les Misérables. Cournet and Barthélémy’s duel was fictionalised in a short, 2010 French film, Le Dernier Duel

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Location: Dalkeith, Midlothian/Home

The job: “Midlothian is the fastest growing authority in Scotland and with this brings exciting place-making opportunities and a chance to help shape and build communities.  Midlothian is a mix of attractive countryside, historical landscapes and vibrant communities in its towns and villages.  Its immediate proximity to the attractions of Edinburgh, but with affordable family housing, makes it a go to destination for professionals seeking career opportunities in the south east of Scotland. Come join us!

“The post holder will primarily be responsible for processing and accessing planning applications and providing planning advice to potential developers and other interested parties.  You will also have the opportunity to work across the wider planning team with opportunities to investigate breaches of planning control or undertaking a range of planning policy tasks as we review our local development plan and implement the requirements from the new Planning Act 2019.”

Fish, Marillion [square]Fun Fact: Dalkeith, a small town in Midlothian south-east of Edinburgh, isn’t known for much. But it is the birthplace of Fish. Not fish the animal, but Fish, the singer in ’80s prog rock band Marillion. 

He was born in 1958 as Derek William Dick and was given the nickname Fish by a landlord on account on the amount of time he spent in the bath. Fish himself has said: “With a real name of Derek William Dick, it became very necessary to find a nickname as quickly as possible.”

Marillion actually formed in Aylesbury in 1981 and although playing an unfashionable brand of music, became surprisingly successful very quickly. Their debut album went into the top 10 in 1983 and by 1985, with the concept album Misplaced Childhood, had hit singles and became one of the biggest bands in the UK.

Misplaced Childhood foregrounded Fish’s personal, poetic and highly literate lyrics which drew from sources as varied as Joni Mitchell and Jack Kerouac. Effectively an autobiography in music, it recalled his childhood in Dalkeith and includes various locational references, including the song Heart of Lothian (which includes the line “I was born with a heart of Lothian”).

Fish left Marillion in 1987 to pursue a solo career and has self-released a number of successful albums to date, toured extensively and acted in films and television. Living between Germany and Scotland, he released what he describes as his final album Weltschmerz (German for “world-weariness”) in 2020. He plans to retire in 2024.

Find out more and apply


Location: Bakewell, Derbyshire

The job: “This is the perfect opportunity for a planning professional with development management skills and the ability to effectively negotiate to ensure our areas of outstanding natural beauty remain protected. The Peak District National Park is a treasured landscape that has been shaped by the long interaction of natural and cultural forces and you will play an important role in maintaining the balance between people and nature to ensure that the Park can be enjoyed for generations to come.

“As a senior monitoring and enforcement officer, you will ensure that developments within the National Park are consistent with the Authority's policies and practices. In particular, you will be responsible for investigating complaints of planning breaches and seeking resolution through negotiation.

“Where necessary, you will be required to pursue formal enforcement action, including drafting reports and formal notices and dealing with appeals. Occasionally, you will be involved in taking legal action including preparing evidence and appearing as a witness in court.”

Bakewell tarts [square]Fun Fact: Bakewell is famous for two culinary concoctions: Bakewell pudding and Bakewell tart. The two are not to be confused. As any fule kno, Bakewell pudding precedes Bakewell tart historically and is jam pastry with a filling enriched with egg and ground almond.

Bakewell tart is an entirely different confection, made with shortcrust pastry with an almond topping and a sponge and jam filling. Not even remotely similar, see?

Legend has it that the tart was invented quite by mistake when an entirely different and unrelated sweet also made from pastry, jam and almond went wrong. The story goes that in 1920 the landlady of the White Horse inn (now the Rutland Arms Hotel) left instructions for her cook to make a jam tart with an egg and almond pastry base. 

The cook apparently made the error of spreading the eggs and almond on top of the jam instead of mixing them into the pastry. Dur! When cooked, the jam rose through the paste and – hey presto!– BAKEWELL TART, which is completely utterly and totally unrelated to any other pastry, jam and almond sweets made in Bakewell.

Find out more and apply

Image credits | Featureflash Photo Agency, Shutterstock; Michal Chmurski, Shutterstock; iStock; DFP Photographic, Shutterstock; iStock