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The Friday Five 15.07.22

Published on: 15 Jul 2022


Location: Havant, Hampshire

The job: “With significant regeneration and development on the horizon for the Borough of Havant, we are looking for an experienced professional to join our hard working and dedicated development management team to play a key role in our plans.

“You will have experience of complex planning cases and appeals and the ability to provide sound advice and judgements for a range of audiences, including elected members of the council.  

“This is a great opportunity to make a significant contribution to the future prosperity of our residents, businesses and customers.”

Dancing bear [square]Fun fact: The Old House at Home in Havant has a ‘bear post’ to which, reputedly, the last dancing bear in England was tethered. The pub is housed in the oldest remaining cottages in the town, which survived a 1760 fire that swept through the settlement.

Dancing bears were at one time a common sight around Europe. Basically, brown bear cubs would be taken from their parents (often by, say, travelling entertainers) and trained to ‘dance’ – to hop from paw to paw – for the amusement of patrons at fairs, in pubs or even just on streets. Said patrons would then cough up a few coins in appreciation and the bear and its owner would go on their way.

Bears might be trained by being stood on heated metal plates and forced to hop around to limit the pain, while music was played. On hearing the music later on, they would instinctively react by ‘dancing’ once again. It was, by modern animal welfare standards, barbaric. The practice was commonplace in Europe from the Middle Ages up to the 19th century; it continues in some parts of the world today.

Brown bears, which survive in wilder parts of Europe, were also commonplace in the UK until the late medieval period when they finally went extinct under pressure from hunting and loss of habitat. It’s been calculated that in around 5,000 BCE there were in the region of 13,000 brown bears living in Britain.

Dancing bears have entered popular culture through stories, paintings and even modern music: Randy Newman’s Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear was a top 5 hit for the Alan Price Set in 1967.

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Location: Flexible

The job: “We are looking for casework managers to manage a variety of Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) applications in England and Wales, including offshore wind farms, power stations and highways and airport developments as well as associated compulsory acquisition proposals.

“The volume of NSIP casework is growing significantly. These posts will provide you with a unique and exciting opportunity to join a well-established, passionate team who are committed to shaping the future of national infrastructure planning in England and Wales.

“Essential criteria:

  • Demonstrable experience of managing casework or projects
  • Ability to understand and interpret detailed written documents
  • Effective communicator to a wide range of stakeholders
  • Ability to build customer relationships
  • Willingness to attend in-person hearings for blended events, as well as visit sites across the country.”

Tunnel [square]Fun fact: Among the biggest contemporary infrastructure projects under construction in the UK (let’s not spoil this by talking about HS2, eh?) is the Thames Tideway Tunnel – a ‘super sewer’ for London that will run for 25 kilometres from inner London beneath the River Thames and way out east to Newham and the Beckton Sewage works.

It’s intended to replace the magnificent – but now ageing and insufficient Victorian sewer built by Joseph Bazalgette to solve Victorian  London’s immense sewage problems. This remains one of history’s great feats of engineering.

Back to the Tideway Tunnel: it’s a huge project, that will cost more than £4 billion and take nine years to construct, finishing (if all goes well) in 2025. Once built, the main tunnel will have an internal diameter of 7.2 metres and will run from 30 metres below the surface in Acton in west London for 25km across the whole of inner London and to Abbey Mills in the east, where it will be 70m below the surface.

En route, the tunnel will connect 34 of London’s most polluting combined sewer overflows. It will transport this dirty water to the stratford to East Ham Lee Tunnel for onward delivery to the Beckton Sewage Treatment works. Following treatment, this will then be released into the saline Thames Estuary.

As a result of the new swerve, it’s expected that the annual number of combined sewer overflows (where dirty water floods the system and goes straight into the Thames) will fall from average of 60 a year to under five.

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Location: Wandsworth, London

The job: “We are looking for an exceptional candidate to fill a new role within the information and planning obligations team. The focus of this role is to ensure efficient and effective infrastructure governance, strategies and monitoring frameworks are in place to enhance infrastructure decision making to deliver corporate priorities.

“You will be responsible for providing dedicated support to the councils’ infrastructure board, a senior officer group established to strategically oversee infrastructure prioritisation and decision making to enable delivery of infrastructure to support development.

“You will confidently lead on coordination and liaison across council teams, overseeing the bid-evaluation process for project submissions to the board. You will author appropriate strategies to support the decision-making of the board. You will use reporting tools to provide evidence, project updates and detailed recommendations to the board. You will work closely with the directorate of resources for the purposes of capital monitoring.”

Cinema seating [square]Fun fact: Buzz Bingo in Tooting, Wandsworth, occupies a grade I listed former cinema that architecture critic Ian Nairn considered to be more worth visiting than the tower of London.

A luxurious Art Deco classic, it was opened in 1931 as The Granada, part of the Granada chain of cinemas owned by Sidney Bernstein (who went on to found Granada Television). The building was designed by the noted cinema and theatre architect Cecil A Masey. Its notably splendid interior was by the Russian theatre director and designer Theodore Komisarjevsky. 

The Granada, Tooting, opened at a time when cinema audiences were booming – in 1935, for example, there were 912 million cinema visits in the UK, compared with 176m in 2019 (itself a vast improvement on the low of 54m in 1984, when home video had permeated just about every household. UK cinema audiences actually peaked at 1.6 billion in 1946.

At the Granada’s 7 September 1931 opening, some 2,000 people had to be turned away. The show included performances by trumpeters and a recital on the Wurlitzer organ. These were followed by the American comedy Monte Carlo and a British short, Two Crowded Hours.

By the 1940s it was also a music venue and over the years artists as prestigious as Jerry Lee Lewis, Frank Sinatra, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles played the Granada. But declining audiences led to its closure in 1973. Three years later it reopened as a bingo club and has remained so ever since.

In 2000, the building was given a grade I listing, making it just one of three grade I listed cinemas in the UK and the only one of its style. In 2015, it was listed as an asset of community value.

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Location: Wrexham, North Wales

The job: “Wrexham County Borough Council aims to provide a positive environment to support the people and businesses that make us a key location in North Wales. We are part of a National Growth Area in Future Wales: The National Plan 2040 and have recently achieved city status. The county borough offers a varied environment, including one of the largest industrial estates in Europe, a large a vibrant town, fantastic landscapes, including part of the Clwydian Range & Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, as well as important areas of historic importance such as the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct World Heritage Site.

“We are seeking to appoint two planning officers to our busy development management team. You will be joining a friendly and welcoming team who will work together to deliver the best planning outcomes for our customers. The role will offer you the opportunity of dealing with a varied and challenging caseload and enable you to develop and broaden your planning knowledge and experience.”

St Giles Cathedral Wrexham [square]Fun fact: Wrexham is one of the most recently designated cities in the UK, having been given the status as part of The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations alongside Milton Keynes, Dunfermline, Bangor, Stanley, Douglas, Colchester and Doncaster. It was the city’s third attempt to acquire the status.

Wrexham thus became one of 70 cities in the UK, and one of six in Wales. With a population of around 65,000, it’s in the bottom 20 size-wise, but far from being the smallest UK city; that honours goes to another Welsh city, St David’s, which has a population of just 1,500 or so.

Historically, Wrexham has a decent claim to city status. It’s currently the fourth largest urban area in Wales but was the nation’s most populous in the 17th century. By then it had long been a regional centre for trade and administration, but became a leading industrial centre during the Industrial Revolution, producing coal, lead, iron, steel, leather and beer in large quantities.

Nowadays it continues to be an important regional centre for manufacturing, retail, education and administration. It’s also home to one of the oldest professional football clubs in the world, Wrexham AFC, which extraordinarily, was bought by Hollywood A-listers Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney in 2021. No doubt they’re happy to own a club in a city rather than a town.

Find out more and apply


Location: Crawley, West Sussex

The job: “We are a small development management Team, handling a varied range of applications. We are looking for a flexible, professional and customer focussed team member to work in an environment where the aim is to provide excellent customer service to all development management customers.

“You will deal with every aspect of the planning process from pre-application discussions, processing and determining planning applications and all aspects of post decision work including appeal and enforcement work when required.

“This is an exciting opportunity to work as a planner in one of the UK’s most successful new towns. Crawley has a historic core alongside the postwar town centre, surrounded by carefully planned neighbourhoods, creating a very interesting place to pursue your career. 

"Major work is underway to regenerate the town centre and redevelop our employment areas. We are also progressing a local plan review to address the challenges facing the borough in delivering housing and other services to meet local needs to 2037.”

Game of marbles [square]Fun fact:  Crawley – or more specifically the Greyhound pub in Tinsley Green in Crawley borough – is home to the world marbles championships. The championship takes place annually on Good Friday and can trace its origins back to 1588, the year of the Spanish Armada. Or so they say.

The story goes that marbles was the deciding game in a sporting encounter between two young suitors, Giles and Hodge, who were competing for the hand of Tinsley Green ‘milk maiden’ called Joan. At the time such contests would take place over a week and see the rival suitors compete in a variety of sports.

Apparently, the two men had already competed in singlestick, backsword, quarter staff, cudgel play, wrestling, cock throwing, archery, cricket-a-wicket, tilting at quintain, Turk’s head, stoolball and tipcat. The score was 6-6 as they entered the final game, marbles. This was won, legend has it, by Hodge.

It’s claimed that marbles tournaments have been played at Tinsley Green since the 1500s, but the modern tournament can be definitely dated to 1932. It was then that numerous county championships were consolidated into a the big one – the British Marble Championships. This then became the British and World Marbles Championships in 1938. We assume the ‘world’ knew about this change and agreed to it.

In the tournament, teams of six players compete for the silver world championship trophy. Rules are strictly enforced and it’s probably more technical a game than you might think. And a bit more ‘world’, too, with teams from as far afield as Japan, Estonia and the USA having competed in the past.

Find out more and apply

Photo credits |iStock | iStock | iStock | Robert Corcoran, Shutterstock | iStock