Skip to main content

The Friday Five 17.05.24

Published on: 17 May 2024

It's The Friday Five, our weekly round-up of top planning jobs advertised on Planner Jobs  – plus a selection of fascinating/ amusing/ pointless (delete as applicable) place-based nuggets of information. This week, new opportunities in North Norfolk, South Norfolk, Nottingham, Lancaster and  – well, wherever you fancy. Plus the origin of the beastly Hound of the Baskervilles, the demise of dudgeon, the brewery that became a council office, the excommunication of Norwich and Lancaster's gruesome witch-hunting history.


Location: Cromer, Norfolk

The job: "We're seeking an enthusiastic team leader with a proven development management track record. You'll be a key player in our development management team, responsible for a team determining a wide range of planning applications. You'll play a vital role in helping shape the future of the department.

"Whilst you'll be required to manage your own development management caseload, critical to this role will be the management and mentoring of other planners within the  team. This will include staff development, check-ins, 1:1’s and performance reviews to ensure the service is forward thinking, customer focused and high performing.

"North Norfolk is a fantastic place to live, work and visit: covering more than 360 square miles of coastal and rural environment, with a population of more than 100,000 people living in 120 distinct communities, our district is one of England’s top holiday destinations and a place where people positively choose to live."

Mad dog stamp [square]Fun fact:  Who would have thought that the pretty seaside town of Cromer would provide the inspiration for a  Gothic tale that has become the most celebrated work of a giant of detective fiction writing? And yet, it was a visit to Cromer that is said to have inspired Arthur Conan Doyle to write The Hound of the Baskervilles, the story of a giant dog roaming wild moorland and savaging anyone who happens to be in its path. 

How so?

In 1901, Conan Doyle was staying as a guest at the very Gothic Cromer Hall, owned by the Barings (of Baring banks fame). It was while here, amid the gloomily atmospheric architecture that he hears the legged of Black Shuck, a ghostly dog said to roam the coast and countryside of East Anglia. Stories of the wild dog were legion and it was also in 1901 that the travel author W A Dutt wrote of Black Shuck that:

"He takes the form of a huge black dog, and prowls along dark lanes and lonesome field footpaths, where, although his howling makes the hearer's blood run cold, his footfalls make no sound."

To see him was often considered to be an omen of death – no wonder it set Conan Doyle's imagination running.  He relocated the action to Dartmoor (a rather more brooding setting than East Anglia) and concocted a complicated tale of greedy aristos ruthlessly knocking each other off over the inheritance of a family estate. It was famously the first new story featuring Sherlock Holmes after he had been killed off by Conan Doyle eight years previously and went on to become perhaps the most popular and best-loved of the Holmes stories.

As a sidenote, Lowestoft band The Darkness featured a song called Black Shuck on their 2003 debut album Permission to Land. The legend lives on....

Find out more and apply


Location: UK-wide (hybrid roles – main HQ in Warwick; offices in Leeds, Chesterfield, Bury St Edmunds and London)

The job: "Over the next five years we’re investing £13 billion into green energy. We're now seeking experienced planning and environmental specialists to work as lead consents officers to help us obtain the permissions we need to build the onshore and offshore electrical infrastructure that will make net zero a reality.

"Joining our growing team, you'll be responsible for ensuring that all the required consents are delivered in the most efficient and economic way possible and in accordance with current legislation, regulations, policy and National Grid’s internal best practice.

"As a lead consents officer, you'll deliver on our consenting strategies, project managing the environmental impact assessments and delivery of planning and environmental consents across a variety of major new infrastructure projects throughout England and Wales. You'll be joining a growing team of more than 30 consents and environmental specialists responding to the challenge to deliver at least 17 major projects by 2031 as part of the 'Great Grid Upgrade'. Every day you’ll be playing a crucial role in our ability to deliver a greener energy future."

Offshore wind farm[square]Fun fact: The phrase ‘high dudgeon’ is one that goes back to the 17th century. It means ‘furiously, resentfully’ – as in, “he stormed out in high dudgeon”.

Alas, it also appears to be the only surviving use of the word dudgeon, whose origin has been lost in the centuries since it appeared in Shakespeare’s MacBeth. We are, it seems, done with dudgeon.

Except – hang on, though. Because what we have here is a job with the National Grid that involves planning for renewables, with North Norfolk already something of a renewables hotbed already. And guess what? There’s a Dudgeon offshore wind farm. It sits 32km off the coast of Cromer, the town in which this job is based. Just seven years old, this 402MW wind farm uses its 67 6MW wind turbine generators to power around 430,000 homes. In fact, the combined output of both Dudgeon and the local Sheringham Shoal wind farms can power around 710,000 UK homes, and there are proposed extensions to these farms that would increase that figure to nearly 1.5 million.

Does anyone furiously resent any of this? Unlikely, with the farm situated way out at sea. But ‘a state of great resentment or anger’ appears to be standard practice for millions these days, so we’re not ruling it out.

Find out more and apply


Location: Nottingham, Nottinghamshire

The job: "For the planning officer role (three days per week), you'll be dealing with a wide range of planning applications, including householders, minors, listed building applications and the opportunity to work towards dealing with smaller major applications. There will also be a need to offer concise pre-application advice and it would be a great opportunity to deal with applications in the green belt.

"For the conservation and heritage officer role (2.5 days per week), you must have a degree or diploma in conservation of historic buildings, or equivalent, and pertinent work experience.  The role will involve providing advice on planning applications and appeals relating to listed buildings, conservation areas and will also involve liaising with elected members and members of the public.

"Gedling is an attractive place to live and work, and the Council Offices are situated in an award-winning park within walking distance of Arnold town centre and easy reach of Nottingham city centre and rural Nottinghamshire."

Craft beer brewer [square]Fun fact: Gedling's most notable building may well be the rather innocuous sounding Sir John Robinson House. An impressive and sizeable 1930s Art Deco-influenced construction was originally built as a brewery. Nowadays, it's home to Nottinghamshire County Council.

The three-storey grade II-listed building was commissioned by Home Brewery (founded in 1875 by John Robinson) and designed by Thomas Cecil Howitt, a noted provincial architect who also, coincidentally, designed Baskerville House in Birmingham.

Among its interesting features are an illuminated 'Home of the Best Ales' sign on the building's tower, in which the word Ales has now been replaced by the Nottinghamshire County Council logo. There's also an interesting and quite peculiar frieze by the sculptor Charles down which depicts putti (those toddlers with wings that appear in a lot of Renaissance art) brewing beer. Because...well, because for some people beer is a spiritual thing, right?

Anyway, Home Brewery was sold to a bigger Conner in 1986 and the building closed to brewing a decade later. If you should find yourself in Daybrook in Gedling, its worth a visit.

Find out more and apply


Location: Norwich, Norfolk

The job: "South Norfolk and Broadland Council have an ambitious growth agenda with significant projects to deliver, including large-scale residential schemes and urban extensions, key employment sites and an emerging local plan for Greater Norwich to deliver against.

"We recognise that the key to our success is our multi-disciplinary team and we're seeking to grow and expand our existing team. This is a unique opportunity to drive, shape, influence and be at the forefront of creating high quality places and sustainable new communities.

"As heritage officer, you'll be providing professional advice on all matters relating to heritage assets through the development process in order to improve and enhance the built environment throughout the districts and to secure the implementation of buildings and spaces of high quality.

"You'll be carrying an application case load on householder, listed building, minor and other applications, including site inspections, publicity, liaison with technical consultees, negotiation with applicants/agents, objectors and the public."

Norwich Cathedral [square]Fun fact: There's absolutely stacks to be said about Norwich which, because of its East Anglian location has for much of its history been one of the most European, cosmopolitan and prosperous cities in the UK. Indeed, in the Medieval period, it vied with London for prosperity and importance.

It also has more Medieval churches than any other city north of the Alps. Thus, it should be no surprise that news of events in the city should make their way to Rome and the ears of Pope Gregory X. Such was the case in 1272 when a dispute about rights, duties and boundaries between the monks of Norwich Priory and Norwich's citizens got a little out of hand. 

At its height, this led to the monks locking the gates to the Cathedral, thus barring access to citizens, hiring things to protect their territory and ordering them to attack anyone who got too close Apparently, at its height, the hired hands went on some kind of murderous rampage through the streets of the city which sparked several days of rioting which resulted in the cathedral gates being burnt down, a church destroyed and the cathedral itself damaged.

England's King, Henry III, fined the citizens heavily and charged them for repairs and rebuilding (giving rise to St Ethelbert's Gate, which survives today).  The Pope, however, went even further: he excommunicated Norwich. The whole city, Cast it out from the church.

This remains the only example of an entire city being excommunicated.  This might seem a bit extreme, but it didn't really do the city much harm: over the ensuing decades ad centuries, it became one of the most prosperous cities in in Europe, thanks to its membership of the Hanseatic League and the enormous wealth generated by its wool trade. It built LOTs more churches, too...

Find out more and apply


Location: Lancaster/Morecambe (hybrid)

The job: "We’re an award-winning, kind and responsible council, and we’re incredibly proud of our district and communities that reach from the coast to the mountains, including the historic City of Lancaster, Morecambe, Carnforth and many other beautiful places.

"The council has decided to review its local plan. We need a planning assistant in the policy team to help with this challenging task. You'll support experienced and talented colleagues in a multi-disciplinary team on work that covers the whole range of planning policy areas, including investigating the suitability of sites for housing, retailing, employment, and open spaces as development allocations in the local plan. The council has been exploring innovative approaches to help address the challenge of climate change and will look to continue this work in the local plan review.

"The appointee will be involved in all aspects of the team’s work, including supporting public consultation."

Witch's hat [square]Fun fact: Lancaster is an ancient city, dating back to at least the Roman occupation of Britain – and like many of the UK’s ancient cities, it has a fairly gruesome history. 

In the early 17th century, Lancaster held the Pendle Witch trials – one of the most notorious witch trials in England’s history. So many people were condemned at the Lancaster witch trials of 1612, they alone account for about two per cent of all executions for the crime of  witchcraft between the 15th and 18th centuries. 

Most of the women came from the Demdike and Chattox families. Lancashire at the time had a reputation for being wild and lawless, and there was a deep-rooted and very real fear of witches throughout the country. King James I even wrote a book on the subject. 

As you might expect, the trials weren’t particularly rigorous. Nine-year-old Jennet Device was the prosecution’s key witness, and provided the bulk of the evidence that saw nine people, including her mother, brother and sister, hanged.

Find out more and apply

Image credits | IrisPhoto1, Shutterstock; Shutter Designer, Shutterstock; Photodjo, iStock; Whitemay, iStock; WesAbrams, iStock