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The Friday Five 13.10.23

Published on: 13 Oct 2023

It's the Friday Five, our weekly round-up of five of the best town planning jobs on Planner Jobs this week. Plus some place-based facts to distract and entertain. This week, opportunities in Worcester, Swindon, Norwich, Wakefield and Ripon. Plus...


Location:  Worcester/Agile/Remote

The job: "We are looking for an enthusiastic and experienced planner to join our busy development management team, someone that can effectively manage their own caseload and evaluate, assess, negotiate and report on a varied caseload of applications as well as carrying out some validation assessment, engaging in pre-application negotiations, post-decision determination work and defending the council’s decisions at appeal.

"It is a very exciting time to join Worcester City Council as we move forward with our ambitious plans for the city. Worcester offers a high quality of life with award winning parks, excellent university and schools and diverse range of shops and restaurants. The city also enjoys a strong sporting reputation.

"To deliver our aspirations for the city, to meet high levels of housing need including affordable housing, provide new employment space, new and improved infrastructure and community facilities all whilst protecting and enhancing the environment and adapting to climate change, we need talented development management planners working with us to help make this happen."

Pub | iStock [square]Fun fact: When choosing a Worcester-related fun fact, the temptation is to reach for Worcestershire Sauce – but I’m reliably informed that the Friday Five has already covered that tangy, unpronounceable-for-Americans condiment. 

We’ll turn instead to The Mug House pub, in Claines on the outskirts of the city. The pub is allegedly one of only two pubs in the entire country built on consecrated land – a claim slightly undermined by the fact that at least two other pubs, in Sheffield and Kendal, also claim this. 

CAMRA diplomatically refers to there being at least three pubs on consecrated ground. 

The pub is supposedly haunted, with reports of glasses being smashed and ominous knocking noises – these occurrences being attributed to ghosts, rather than the pub’s patrons. 

Find out more and apply


Location: Swindon, Wiltshire

The job: "This is an exciting opportunity for a senior planner to join our development management team in a key role supporting the council to manage a diverse caseload of planning applications including complex and major residential and commercial developments.

"We are looking to appoint a qualified (eligibility or membership of the RTPI), experienced, skilled and highly motivated individual to help us deliver well-managed and high quality development in the borough. This role provides a great opportunity for a dynamic individual with a ‘can do’ attitude to be part of a strong, dynamic team, working collaboratively on exciting projects and developments with colleagues across the council, partner organisations and developers. The postholder will provide support on all aspects of the development management process including pre-applications, applications and appeals.

"Swindon is one of the UK’s fastest growing towns, earning us a seat at the prestigious table of the Five Fast Growth Cities as one of the most successful and innovative places in the UK. We have ongoing investment of over one billion pounds in town centre regeneration, and 12,000 new homes provided for in strategic new communities to the north, south and east of the town."

Dentistry | iStock [square]Fun fact: Swindon – home of both the National Trust and Historic England – was something of an early railway hub. Wikipedia highlights “the arrival of the Great Western Railway in 1843”, but makes no mention of when it departed. 

The railway industry transformed Swindon from a small market town into a centre of industry. GWR workers paid a small amount each week into a healthcare fund, and could access treatment from company doctors. The GWR dentist apparently extracted more than 2,000 teeth in his first few months in post. Doctors could even prescribe a bath, or a haircut. 

This ‘cradle-to-grave’ care system provided some inspiration for the formation of the National Health Service, with Nye Bevan saying:  “There it was a complete health service in Swindon. All we had to do was expand it to the whole country.”

Find out more and apply


Location: Norwich, Norfolk

The job: "An independent multi-disciplinary consultancy is on the lookout for a graduate / planner / senior planners for their Norwich office. Fast growing, the consultancy has skill sets across planning, architecture, archaeology and heritage, master planning, urban design and arboriculture andecology.

"The successful candidates will ultimately be responsible for delivering the full range of planning work; to provide clear realistic advice with a personalised service. Working independently, you will be proficient in developing and managing client relationships and contributing to business development, achieving self-sufficiency in work generation plus generating work for others.

"Other responsibilities will include:

  • Proactive management of client relationships
  • Achieving self-sufficiency in generating own planning work
  • Supporting and working collaboratively with staff across all offices."

Featureflash Photo Agency, Shutterstock [square]Fun fact: Britain's most-watched game show was broadcast from Norwich and each episode began with a much-loved (and mocked phrase: “And now, from Norwich, it’s the quiz of the week”). 

Hosted by Nicholas Parsons, Sale of the Century ran originally from 1971 to 1983 and regularly attracted viewing figures approaching 20 million at its 1970s peak – a time when there were just three channels for viewers to choose from, no video recorders, no internet, no phones or computer games to distract... ah, simple times!

It’s been revived twice, from 1989-1991 and for a short period in 1997. But neither revival was able to recapture to kitsch magic of the original, from its Hammond organ theme tune (Joyful Pete after the show’s producer Peter Joy) and musical interludes to its £1 questions and opportunities for players to use their winnings to buy a top-of-the-range Lada (in “The Sale of the Century”).

The show has the distinction of attracting the highest-ever viewing figures for an ITV gameshow in the UK – 21.2 million people watched it on 22 December 1978 during an all-out BBC strike. To put this in perspective, that was more than one in three UK residents. To put a different gloss on it, even though there was absolutely nothing else to watch on TV, only 21 million people watched The Sale of the Century.

Infamously, it’s also the show on which Simon Cowell made his TV debut, as a contestant in 1989. He appeared on two episodes (winning the first) and won £20 of cooking utensils. 

Find out more and apply


Location: Wakefield, West Yorkshire

The job: "This is an exciting time to join Wakefield Council’s planning services development management team. Our emerging local plan (scheduled for adoption in 2024) sets ambitious housing and job growth targets and to meet this challenge and to ensure that high quality, strategic regeneration initiatives are delivered, we are looking for enthusiastic, committed and experienced individuals, qualified in town planning, to join our highly successful development management planning team.

"Suitable candidates will have responsibility for case-managing and determining a range of complex and major planning applications, providing pre-application planning advice and assisting with staff development and service improvements."

Bart Sherkow, Shutterstock [square]Fun fact: One of the most illustriously Yorkshire-accented films of all time, This Sporting Life, was filmed in significant part across a variety of Wakefield locations, in particular Wakefield Trinity RFC’s Belle Vue stadium. Richard Harris would go on to win the Best Actor Award at the 1963 Cannes Film Festival – while also being nominated for an Oscar – for his depiction of the lead character. (William Hartnell, who would become the first ever Doctor in Doctor Who later in that same year, was another key character, as was Arthur ‘Dad’s Army’ Lowe.)

The film is based on former rugby league player (and Wakefield-born) David Storey’s book of the same name, and, whoof, it’s a grim if captivating affair. It catalogues the romantic life of a rugby league player from the era and is highly recommended by The Planner team. Spoiler alert: it’s a masterpiece at describing the luxury-free players’ life back then. Make no mistake, there’s no earning multiple times the average wage in a single week going on here.

Find out more and apply


Location: Ripon, North Yorkshire

The job: "A multi-disciplinary architectural and planning consultancy based in Ripon seeks an experienced town planner on a permanent basis. The successful individual will be working on a range of applications from barn conversions to new settlements, they will have a clear progression path ahead with the opportunity to take the next step up to an associate planner. Experience in a planning consultancy or local authority is a must.

"Benefits include private healthcare, competitive salary, pension and RTPI membership fees."

Horyn Sofia, Shutterstock [square]Fun fact: It's claimed by some that Alice Adventures in Wonderland was inspired – in part at least – by a set of fantastical wood carvings on medieval misericords in Ripon Cathedral. Miser-what? Misericords – literally ‘acts of mercy’ – were small, waist-height, tip-down seats in choir stalls that enabled worshippers to rest their feet while still giving the appearance of standing. Given that there were eight services in 24 hours in a medieval church, it’s no wonder that priests, clerics, choristers et al might feel the need to take the weight off.

Anyway, misericords were shaped in such a way that they lent themselves to carrying carved decorations; and this being the medieval period, artisans let their imaginations run riot. Typically, misericords don’t feature traditional religious scenes, but a whole host of fantastic beasts, visual jokes, bawdy references and scenes from popular stories. Ripon Cathedral has 32 fabulously well-preserved 14th-century misericords, including one that is thought to be the oldest in Britain.

And it was from these that a young Lewis Carroll may have taken inspiration while his father was the cathedral canon in the mid-19th century. Among the specific designs that Carroll fans point to are one of a griffin chasing a rabbit down a hole. Yet others carry tantalising suggestions of characters and scenes from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Overall, the anarchy, absurdism and humour of the designs has a similar spirit to that of Carroll's own work. So could they have shaped the imagination of the artistic boy who would likely have spent many hours roaming and exploring the richly decorated passages, corridors, staircases, towers, halls and secretive rooms of the medieval cathedral? It's entirely possible, no?

Find out more and apply

Image credits | iStock | iStock | Featureflash Photo Agency, Shutterstock | Bart Sherkow, Shutterstock | Horyn Sofia, Shutterstock