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The Friday Five 18.03.22

Published on: 18 Mar 2022

It’s the Friday Five. This week we journey from Blackpool to Taunton, via the Planning Inspectorate, which is not really a location or destination, is it? Still, this isn't a literal journey, so it doesn’t really matter.

1. SENIOR PLANNING OFFICER, BLACKPOOL COUNCIL

Location: Blackpool, Lancs

The job: “The development management team is seeking an enthusiastic and experienced planner to play a key role in shaping the future of the resort. Dealing with major development proposals of significance and assisting in the management of the team, you will have a proven track record of managing a complex and challenging caseload including excellent inter-personal skills and effective negotiation. Up-to-date knowledge of planning policy and legislation is essential. Blackpool offers a unique experience to broaden your professional experience and deliver real difference.

“In addition to your caseload, your responsibilities will include supporting the head of development management in the determination of minor applications; supporting less experienced colleagues; advising colleagues in planning enforcement; and contributing towards the development of planning policy. As senior, you will deal with some of the most significant developments in the town, and be part of the ongoing regeneration and transformation of our iconic resort.

“Blackpool Council offers an exciting opportunity to work in the UK’s most popular seaside resort, synonymous with fun and entertainment, attracting more than 10 million visitors a year. Blackpool is also the main retail, public administration, cultural and service centre for the Fylde Coast, supporting a population of around 326,000.”

Blackpool illuminations [square]Fun fact: Blackpool’s famous illuminations can be traced back to 1879, when the local council spent £5,000 to pilot electric street lighting in the town. The first illuminations were eight arc lamps on 60 foot poles along the seafront. These caused such wonderment that people began to visit Blackpool purely to see the “artificial sunshine” of the illuminations.

Something more akin to the modern day spectacular light display first appeared in 1912 for the opening of the Princess Parade by Princess Louise. The 10,000 lights attracted tens of thousands of visitors to the resort - so the council decided to display the lights again the following year. 

War caused a hiatus but in 1925 the illuminations returned, bigger and better, stretching several miles along the resort’s promenade . Within a few years all the town’s piers were bedecked with lighting, too, and the displays became ever more fanciful.

Nowadays, the illuminations which are switched on from August to November, pull around three million visitors to the famous resort - making it the UK’s biggest tourist spot after London. The annual switch-on event is enormously popular and always conducted by a celebrity. Among those who have switched on the lights are comedian Ken Dodd, Hollywood director Tim Burton (a big fan of Blackpool) and, in 1977 Red Rum - the three time Grand National winning horse.

Find out more and apply

2. SENIOR PLANNING OFFICER, WEALDEN DISTRICT COUNCIL

Location: Hailsham, East Sussex

The job: “We are looking for a senior planning officer to join our busy development management team, who has demonstrable experience in managing their own varied caseload of major and significant minor/other applications as well as experience in a variety of other planning matters, such as appeals.

You’ll be:

  • Assessing planning applications
  • Defending council decisions at appeal
  • Engaging with customers to achieve positive development outcomes for the district.

This is an exciting time to join us at Wealden. We have high levels of housing need, including affordable housing, pressure to deliver growth in our towns and rural areas, including employment space, new and improved infrastructure and community facilities, as well as delivering on our climate change emergency – all whilst protecting and enhancing our environment.

Led Zeppelin image [square]Fun fact: One of the most colourful rock band managers - a man who changed the industry - lived at Horselunges Manor, a grade I listed building just outside Hailsham in East Sussex. Peter Grant, who managed Led Zeppelin, was singlehandedly responsible for improving touring terms and conditions for touring bands, enabling them to make a lot more money from their own concerts. He achieved this via a combination of wile, business sense and intimidation – a 6ft 2” former wrestler, he was known to use threats to get his way with promoters and venue owners.

His life was nothing if not eventful, bordering on picaresque. Born in South Norwood in 1935 and partly educated at Charterhouse School, he worked first as a sheet metal factory worker, then a runner for Reuters and a stagehand for Croydon Empire Theatre, which gave him a taste for the entertainment world.

From here he became entertainment manager of a Jersey hotel, bounder and doorman for the famous 2is Coffee Bar in London, where Cliff Richard started out. He became a TV wrestler, bit-part actor, stuntman and body double who appeared in a variety of British films in the late 1950s/early 1960s. Then he found himself driving bands to gigs, from which he became a tour manager for some of the biggest names of the day. It wasn’t until he started out for himself in the late 1960s that he really made an impact, though. 

As Led Zeppelin’s manager from 1968, Grant transformed the touring experience for bands. He used his tough negotiating skills and intimidating presence to shift the balance of power away from venues, which were making huge profits off the artists who played their venues, while the artists themselves made little. He renegotiated revenue splits, merchandise deals and even secured better backstage conditions for bands.

His no-nonsense, confrontational approach to bootleggers and sellers of fake merchandise became legendary (and was caught on camera in The Song Remains the Same, as well as being spoofed by the baseball bat wielding manager in Spinal Tap). But, despite his reputation, he was widely respected as a smart negotiator who looked after his clients well. He was even offered the position of magistrate in Eastbourne, but turned it down. 

His final film appearance was as a cardinal in Carry on Columbus in 1992. He died of a heart attack three years later, aged just 60.

Find out more and apply

Coffin [square]3. PLANNING ENFORCEMENT OFFICER (OR ASSISTANT), TORBAY COUNCIL

Location: Torbay, Devon

The job: “As a (assistant) planning enforcement officer, working in our fast paced, innovative and supportive team, you will be working across Torquay, Paignton and Brixham, investigating alleged breaches of planning control and taking action to remedy them. You will be delivering excellent customer service and helping to deliver on the council’s corporate goals which include thriving people and places.

“As a planning enforcement officer, you will have previous experience of planning enforcement or development management or relevant experience in other regulatory/investigatory functions. As an assistant planning enforcement officer, direct experience is not required, but you will have transferable skills and/or relevant qualifications. The assistant role would be an ideal entry level job for a planning graduate looking to start their planning career. We believe this is an exciting opportunity that would suit an individual who wants to develop their planning enforcement career or if you are used to working in a stimulating, customer focused environment and are looking for a new challenge.”

Fun fact: One of the most famous buildings in Brixham is the strangely shaped ‘coffin house’ –  a long and narrow 18th century town house close to the town’s harbour that has a footprint the shape of a coffin.

This quirk is accompanied by a romantic, but probably not entirely true, tale. The story goes that a suitor was refused his would-be wife’s hand in marriage by her father who deemed him unsuitable. Indeed, the father is reported to have declared: “I would rather see my daughter in a coffin than wed to you”.
Whereupon the husband-to-be went away and built a house in the shape of coffin, for the couple to live in once married. The father was so impressed by his tenacity and ingenuity that he allowed the marriage to go ahead.

The four-storey building, now grade II listed, has had many uses over the year, including as an inn, a sheepskin shop, a restaurant and a clock shop. It’s currently a ‘spiritual store’ –  a shop below and a home above.

Find out more and apply

4. CASE MANAGER(S), NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS, THE PLANNING INSPECTORATE

Location: Bristol

The job: “The Planning Inspectorate has a long and proud history in ensuring a fair planning system for England. The work we do has a significant impact on people’s lives, the communities where they live and the economy. We are the appellate body for planning decisions in England and Wales and operate the consenting process for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP). The work we do has a significant impact on people’s lives, the communities that they live in and the economy.

“We are looking for case managers to deal with some of our most complex and contentious NSIP including offshore wind farms, highways, airports and power stations as well as associated compulsory acquisition proposals.
“We pride ourselves on customer delivery and with government and customer expectations increasing we are looking for new innovative and dynamic ways to manage our resources, continually build upon and improve our processes and drive performance improvement.”

Easter egg [square]Fun fact: The chocolate Easter egg was first produced in the UK in Bristol, in 1873. Though it's thought that chocolate eggs had been eaten in France and Germany for some time, the first UK version was produced by Bristol-based J S Fry and Sons Ltd. 

The business had been started more than a century earlier, in 1759, by Joseph Fry, a Quaker. It was his son, Joseph Storrs (J S) Fry who patented a steam-powered factory method of mass producing chocolate in 1795. The business rapidly became the UK’s largest producer of chocolate and over the following decades produced a veritable cornucopia of chocolatey delights, including Fry’ Chocolate Cream, Fry’s Turkish Delight and, in 1873, Fry’s Easter Egg.

Fry’s great rival, Cadbury, followed suit in 1875. Cadbury went on to dominate the market, as it does today, and in 1919 the two firms merged, with Fry’s becoming a division of Cadbury, which it remains.

Find out more and apply

5. DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT TEAM LEADER, SOMERSET WEST AND TAUNTON COUNCIL

Location: Taunton, Somerset

The job: “We are looking for a team leader to join our development management team. The ideal candidate will be a member of the RTPI and have extensive experience working within development management with an up-to-date knowledge of national and local planning policy, case law and legislation and an ability to produce well-researched and justified planning reports and pre-application advice. It is essential you can handle your own caseload which will consist of a range of planning applications and appeals.

“We encourage applications from experienced planners with strong professional skills, sound planning judgement and a good eye for design, as well as a commitment to customer care. The successful candidates will play an essential part in ensuring that the council’s performance record is maintained and that there is ongoing improvement in the delivery of the service.”

Quantock Hills [square]Fun fact: The Quantock Hills, which reside within the Somerset West and Taunton District, were designate England’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1956. AONB is a conservation designation created by the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 as a means to preserve the natural beauty of their landscape quality.

The Quantocks, consisting of heathland, oak woodlands, ancient parklands and agricultural land, run 15 miles from the Vale of Taunton Deane in the south to coast of the Bristol Channel in the north. They form the western border of the Somerset Levels and and have a lengthy human history: among the landscape features in the Quantocks are Bronze age round barrows and Iron Age hill forts. Roman coins have been discovered here and the Quantocks played an important role in the fortification of the last remaining parts of Saxon Wessex against Danes under King Alfred the Great. It was just south east of the quantocks at Athelney where Alfred took refuge from the Danish invaders and plotted the retaking of Wessex, then the building of England. A line of hill forts ran through the Quantocks which offered lookout posts to protect against Danish raiders.

Romantic poet Samual Taylor Coleridge walked extensively in the Quantocks when he lived in Nether Stowey from 1797-1799. It was while here that he famously claimed to have been disturbed by “a man from Porlock” while composing (or dreaming) his most famous poem, Kubla Khan. Indeed, the area became a haunt of writers and artists throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

It’s also where the video for the Bryan Adams hit (Everything I Do) I Do It For You was filmed. The nation was subjected to this 'classic' power ballad for a wearing 16 weeks in 1991 - the time it spent at number 1 in the charts. Probably the only person on the planet who remains happy to hear it is Bryan Adams himself, who must have made more from the royalties of the song than Vladimir Putin gets in kickbacks from oligarchs each year.

Find out more and apply

Photo credits | iStock; Ralf Liebhold, Shutterstock; Fer Gregory, Shutterstock; iStock; iStock