“It’s Friday - give me five great planning jobs!” It’s doubtful that anyone has ever actually said this sentence out loud, but it’s our unspoken mantra here at Planner Jobs. It’s Friday - here are five great planning jobs for you to ponder, along with place-based facts to amaze and delight you.
1. DEVELOPMENT CONTROL MANAGER, DERBYSHIRE DALES DISTRICT COUNCIL
Location: Matlock, Derbyshire
The job: “Derbyshire Dales is one of the most beautiful districts in the country, combining spectacular countryside, vibrant market towns and a world heritage site, with easy access to Derby, Nottingham, Sheffield and Manchester. We are committed to ensuring that the district’s growth is planned and sustainable.
“We handle in excess of 1,500 planning applications a year, from complex development of several hundred houses to determining householder applications. Whilst protecting the character of the area, planning decisions also create healthy and sustainable communities and strengthen the economy. As development control manager, you will lead our approach to strategic planning and design in a collaborative way across the council. You will work in partnership with neighbouring authorities and also negotiate with developers. You will be responsible for shaping and leading our team of planning officers in delivering our corporate plan and local plan objectives.
“This is a high profile and challenging place shaping role at Derbyshire Dales and there are plenty of opportunities to shape your legacy here.”
Fun fact: The parish church of Ashford-in-the-Water in the Derbyshire Dales is one of the few places to have preserved ‘Maiden’s Garlands’, relics of a folk funeral tradition dating back centuries. The church of the Holy Trinity actually has four such garlands, created between 1747 and 1801, which were carried on the coffin of ‘maidens’ – virginal women – during their funeral processions and then hung in the church in remembrance.
The garlands themselves, also known as crowns or ‘crants’, are wooden frames decorated with white paper rosettes; on the frame is hung a glove or handkerchief belonging to the maiden, and on this is written her name, age and date of death. The practice was a common one throughout Britain before the Reformation and for some two centuries after. Shakespeare even refers to “her virgin crants/And maiden strewments” when describing the death of Ophelia in Hamlet.
The oldest maiden’s garland in the Ashton Church belongs to Anne Howard, who died on 12 April 1747, aged 21. Although the custom more or less died out after around 1800, it’s said that the tradition continues in some places and, according to one source, the most recently created garland was in 1995 – in Ashton-in-the-Water.
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2. SENIOR DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT OFFICER, MONMOUTHSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL
Location: Usk, Monmouthshire
The job: “Monmouthshire County Council has an exciting opportunity for a suitably qualified professional to join the development management team within the council’s planning service. The development management team process planning and related applications and provide planning advice to the public and developers via their pre-application advice service and the daily duty officer phone line.
“Working within the development management team the post holder will be expected to deal with more complex planning applications, as well as handling requests for pre-application advice and helping to cover the daily duty officer phone line which provides the public with day-to-day advice on planning matters.
“Monmouthshire County Council is a forward thinking and innovative organisation and the postholder will be working in a county characterised by attractive market towns and scenic countryside, but also part of the Cardiff Capital Region and close to growth areas in and around Bristol. The post will play an integral role in promoting place-making and promoting sustainable development.”
Fun fact: Llanbadoc, just over the River Usk from the village of Usk in Monmouthshire,, was the birthplace of naturalist Alfred Russell Wallace in 1823. Wallace, a contemporary of Charles Darwin, independently developed the theory of evolution through natural selection and jointly published early findings with Darwin in 1858. It was this that prompted the latter to write On the Origin of Species.
Wallace, like many of his generation, was self-taught. He had actually trained as a surveyor under the tuition of his older brother. But by his late teens had discovered entomology (the practice of collecting and studying insects) and began to combine his growing passion with his survey work in the field.
By 1848 he was travelling overseas with his mentor Henry Bates and spent four years collecting thousands of insects and other animal species in the Amazon Rainforest.
He had already had insights into what he called ‘the transmutation of species’ and he developed his thinking further during a subsequent eight-year stay in the Malay Archipelago, from 1854-62. It was here that he refined his thoughts on evolution through natural selection and, in 1858, sent an article to Darwin for review. The latter had long been sitting on his own theory and it was Wallace’s article that prompted him to publish his thoughts jointly, and then to develop them fully in 1859’s On the Origin of Species.
Throughout his life, Wallace was also a social reformer and, in particular, a supporter of land reform, being a member of both the Land Tenure Reform Association and the Land Nationalisation Society. He died at the grand age of 90 in 1813. The New York Times described him as “the last of the giants belonging to that wonderful group of intellectuals that included, among others, Darwin, Huxley, Spencer, Lyell, and Owen, whose daring investigations revolutionised and evolutionised the thought of the century”.
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3. PLANNING OFFICER, STOKE-ON-TRENT CITY COUNCIL
Location: Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
The job: “An exciting opportunity has arisen for someone to join the development management team as a planning officer.
“The successful candidate will have an important and challenging role working within the wider planning service to deliver high quality, sustainable development.”
Fun fact: Stoke-on-Trent gets a tough press. In 2015 Uswitch's Best Places to Live in The UK Quality of Life Index rated it at 83rd. However, the city – birthplace of star potter Josiah Wedgwood, singer Robbie Williams, the late lamented rocker Lemmy of Motorhead, and oatcakes – has seen a resurgence in recent years. A shortlisting for both City of Culture and a Channel 4 creative hub led to a succession of good vibes. And although the world’s ceramics industry is now dominated by mass-produced crockery from China, the city’s revitalised pottery industry is still by ‘royal appointment’ and is still to be found in the most exclusive places.
Wedgwood, a key mover in the abolitionist movement to end slavery, was born in 1730 into a family of potters in Burslem, then the centre of pottery-making (before Burslem merged in the early 20th century with five nearby towns to become the city of Stoke-on-Trent).
Josiah’s family were English Dissenters – Protestants who had split from the Church of England in the 17th and 18th centuries; he was the grandson of a Unitarian minister and was himself an active Unitarian. As a young child, he was already proving to be a skilled potter under the tutelage of his eldest brother, Thomas Wedgwood IV, but a bout of smallpox left him with a withered knee, so he was unable to work a potter's wheel with his foot. He went on to design fine earthenware and stoneware pottery and then making it with help from other potters.
As a young man he went into partnership with leading English potter Thomas Whieldon, and studied chemistry to develop better clays and glazes for pot-making. Experimenting with new techniques got him noticed, and in time the pottery became a full-scale factory. In 1764, Josiah married his third cousin, and they had eight children. In 1765 he opened his first warehouse in London’s Mayfair. Hobnobbing with aristocrats led him to create works for royal patrons, including Queen Charlotte and Catherine the Great. Later in life he became a big-name industrialist – backing such schemes as the Trent and Mersey Canal.
He died at home in 1795, and is buried in the parish church of Stoke-on-Trent.
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4. ASSISTANT PLANNING OFFICER, EXMOOR NATIONAL PARK
Location: Dulverton, Devon
The job: “Exmoor National Park is a unique and beautiful part of the country that has been shaped by nature and people over thousands of years.
“As an assistant planning officer, you will help deliver an effective, efficient and community-focused planning service across the National Park.
“Under the supervision of the principal planning officer (PPO), you will process planning, listed building, householder and other applications. You will advise the PPO on what amendments are needed for applications to meet design, policy and statutory consultee requirements.
“Acting as the first point of contact for public and agent enquiries concerning development proposals, you will provide guidance and advice in a professional and efficient manner. You will discuss the merits of development proposals, whether planning permission is required and how to submit an application.
You will also work with the authority’s forward planning team in carrying out a range of tasks related to the local plan and planning policy. This will include supporting the review and implementation of the local plan and assisting with the implementation of affordable housing policies.”
Fun fact: Many stories and poems have been inspired by the wild beauty of Exmoor. Not surprisingly, because the area – now a National Park – has the highest but most sheltered coastline in England and Wales with coastal hills rising to 433 metres at Culbone Hill. The tallest sheer cliff is 244 metres on Great Hangman – the highest sea cliff in England and Wales.
Romantic poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth often enjoyed expeditions of the area together, inviting contemporaries Robert Southey and William Hazlitt along for fun. Coleridge’s Kubla Khan was conceived in a drug-addled doze during a stay near Culbone. He also started writing The Rime of the Ancient Mariner there.
Talking of poets, Ada Lovelace (1815-1852), daughter of Lord Byron, and dubbed the world's first computer programmer, lived at Ashley Combe, near Porlock Weir, where she and her husband, William King, Earl of Lovelace, were known for throwing lavish house parties for the glitterati.
But probably the most famous literary work set in Exmoor and centred on Oare and Badgworthy Water, is Richard Doddridge Blackmoor’s (1825-1900) Lorna Doone: A Romance of Exmoor. Published in 1869, it's the tale of John Ridd, a posh farmer who meets Laura amid the social and religious unrest of 17th-century England. He is just a boy when his father is murdered by the Doones, a clan of outlaws inhabiting the Somerset-Devon border. The pair later meet again in the Doone Valley and fall in love despite clan lord Carver Doone’s bid to destroy the relationship. Based on both fact and folk legends, the story has many references to Exmoor and the surrounding area.
There has been one ITV adaptation of Lorna Doone (1990) starring Sean Bean as baddie Carver, and three BBC TV versions – in 1963, 1976 and 2000, The latter, starring Aidan Gillen and Martin Clunes, sparked outrage among Devonians when it was revealed that it was actually filmed more than 150 miles away on the Brecon Beacons in Wales.
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5. PLANNER/SENIOR PLANNER/PRINCIPAL PLANNER/SENIOR POLICY PLANNER (FOUR ROLES), HART DISTRICT COUNCIL
Location: Fleet, North East Hampshire
The job: “These are exciting times for Hart, particularly for the development management (DM) team. We have a new DM Manager, ambitious plans to improve our service delivery and exciting major and heritage developments on the horizon.
“Planning is firmly at the heart of the council’s vision to 2040 and we’re consistently ranked as one of the best places to live in the UK.
“We're a small local authority with big ambition. We want to do things bigger, bolder, and better than we have before. Our council is small enough for you to be able to see the direct impact and influence you can have through your day-to-day work and know the names of your colleagues. You will also notice that you get to see the faces of our senior leadership and chief executives on a regular basis.
“At Hart, we work together to shape the environment for the people in our district and we listen to suggestions and contributions from staff at all levels to improve the way we do this. We’re the place to grow your planning career, come and see for yourself how we empower and develop our staff. The work we have at Hart is diverse and challenging, you can develop your skills and work as part of a friendly and committed team.”
Fun fact: The Gurkhas, the much-celebrated British Army fighting force from Nepal, were based for many years in Fleet, Hampshire. Their presence is remembered in numerous ways, not least the town’s Gurkha Square which houses its war memorial.
Britain’s relationship with Gurkhas dates back more than two centuries, to the Anglo-Nepalese War of 1814-16, between the Gorkha Kingdom (now Nepal) and the East India Company (a commercial enterprise with strong links to the British state which invaded India and led the colonisation of parts of South East Asia).
The Gorkhali soldiers impressed the British, who called them Gurkhas. During the war, the British used defectors from the Gurkha Army as irregular forces. It was from here that Gurkhas gradually became a formal part of the British Army with their own regiment, the 1st King George’s Own Gurkha Rifles.
Gurkha soldiers played significant roles in both World Wars - with more than 200,000 serving in the first World War, earning 2,000 gallantry awards; and 250,000 in the second World War, earning close to 3,000 bravery awards. In the Second World War, Gurkhas served in 40 battalions in India, Syria, North Africa, Italy, Greece, Burma and Singapore.
Throughout their history they have maintained a reputation for ferocity, bravery, discipline and loyalty. So it provoked public outrage when, after the abolition of the Nepalese monarchy in 2008 put future Gurkha recruitment into doubt, it became widely known that Gurkha soldiers received smaller army pensions than their British counterparts and that some ex-army Nepalese families had been deported from Britain, despite Gurkha soldiers and their families having been promised settlement rights.
Both issues were resolved successfully as a result of vigorous campaigning (by Joanna Lumley, among others) and legal cases. Gurkha soldiers continue to be recruited into the British Army.
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Image credits | Chris Lawrence Travel, Shutterstock; Morphart Creation, Shutterstock; Nicholas Billington, Shutterstock; Jame Gadd, Shutterstock; Peter Rhys Williams, Shutterstock