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The Friday Five 20.01.23

Published on: 20 Jan 2023

It's the Friday Five - five planning jobs, five place-based facts. This week, planning jobs in Dartford, Norfolk, Cambridge, Gloucestershire and Warwick; and you can also discover what a mop fair is. Oh, and where the rules of football come from. Read on...


Location: Dartford, Kent/Hybrid

The job: “Dartford is the Kent borough adjoining London on the rivers Thames and Darent. Conveniently located, the borough includes Ebbsfleet Garden City and Bluewater, and is a place of choice for international, national and local businesses. Through successful planned new communities on brownfield land in the Dartford Core Strategy, it has been the second fastest growing place in the country.

“In 2023, we expect to adopt the Dartford Local Plan 2037 to continue the plan-led regeneration. With this will come new challenges of delivering plan aims; complementing and serving Dartford town centre and all the new neighbourhoods with infrastructure and active travel/ sustainable transport, and achieving environmental quality and urban design strategy.

”We are looking for a strategic thinker keen for a challenge in a positive high growth environment. You will work integrated in a small friendly team with infrastructure planners, urban designers and other professionals. You will have excellent analytical and written skills, a creative approach to problem solving and good communication skills. Significant direct experience of policy writing, evidence base production and statutory appraisals is required. We offer flexible working arrangements.”

Mick Jagger [square]Fun fact: Dartford, as you probably well know, is the home town of the Dartford Warbler. No, not the bird (which is also interesting), but the lead singer of the Rolling Stones, rock legend, etc etc, Mick Jagger.

Jagger was born in Dartford in 1943 to a PE teacher father and a mother who was a hairdresser. Though they moved away, he later attended Dartford Grammar School, reinforcing his association with the town.

We won’t bore you with details of Jagger’s life and career, which everybody knows anyway; but we would like to draw your attention to two cultural phenomena associated with the singer. The first is the 1970 film Performance, co-starring Jagger as a reclusive burnt-out rock star, and which your not-so-humble scribe sincerely believes to be one of the half dozen or so finest British movies ever made.

The second is the fantastically funny Stella Street, the 1990s mini-sitcom which imagined the ordinary lives of celebrities living in a street in Surbiton. Jagger and his cohort Keith Richards ran the local corner shop. It is hilariously funny and Phil Cornwell’s Mick Jagger is superb. You can watch a selection of Keith’n’Mick moments here.

Find out more and apply


Location: Norwich, Norfolk

The job: “You will be part of a committed and forward-thinking spatial planning team working as one team across two councils and as part of the Greater Norwich Local Plan team. You will be contributing to the preparation, implementation, monitoring and review of the councils’ local plan, associated policies and strategies and undertaking community and infrastructure planning work with internal and external colleagues.

“You will be:

  • Liaising and negotiating with developers, site promoters, the public and interested groups to consider issues related to potential developments.

  • Researching and preparing policy documents, committee reports, proofs of evidence and background evidence.

  • Presenting information and advice.

  • Organising and representing the councils at consultation exercises, public meetings, exhibitions and public inquiries.

  • Representing the councils at appropriate external meetings and events, working groups and advisory bodies.

  • Ensuring the timely production of planning documents.”

Dad's Army statue [square]Fun fact: Though set in the fictional town on Walmington-on-Sea, the 1970s sitcom Dad’s Army was filmed in various locations in Norfolk, notably Thetford. But the nearby Bressingham Steam Museum, in South Norfolk, loaned the series a number of its historic vehicles and items of farm machinery and is nowadays home to the Dad’s Army Collection – a collection of artefacts associated with the show that belong to the Dad’s Army Appreciation Society. The exhibition also includes recreations of sets from the show, including Jones the Butcher, the Post Office and Frazer’s funeral parlour.

The Society, co-founded in 1993 by Dad’s Army actors Bill Pertwee and Frank Williams, now has 1,700 members, holds regular events and dinners and publishes a magazine called – of course – Permission To Speak, Sir!

Find out more and apply


Location: Cambourne, Cambridge and home

The job: “Greater Cambridge offers a unique opportunity to help plan for the future of the beautiful historic city of Cambridge and its surrounding rural area, which together are home to world renowned universities, hospitals and cutting edge science. Our combined growth agenda includes a range of new settlements within South Cambridgeshire and urban extensions to Cambridge.

“Our local communities are also taking the opportunity to plan what happens in their areas through the preparation of neighbourhood plans, and we are committed to supporting them deliver their aspirations.

“We are looking for a senior policy planner to help us move our plans forward. We are particularly interested in someone who can take a lead on Neighbourhood Planning working with a small group of officers in the team, as well as taking part in our wider plan making. We are seeking someone who can provide advice and support to communities, and organise the programme of neighbourhood plan delivery from early consultation stages through to the making of plans.”

Vintage football boots [square]Fun fact: The rules of modern football were drawn up over a protracted period in Cambridge between around 1838 and 1863 when they were formally codified. Football had been played for centuries but rules tended to be localised and could differ quite radically from place to place. 

This wasn’t necessarily a problem except that by the early 19th century the posh public schools of the day, such as Eton, Harrow and Rugby all played the game according to their own set of internally created rules.

Because these schools provided most of the students at Cambridge University, it meant that a compromise set of rules was needed so that games of football could take place. By way of example, ‘football’ always allowed some handling of the ball, but the degree to which you could pick the ball up and run with it varied hugely from place to place.

The first tentative reference to this process dates to somewhere around 1838 for two games played at Parker’s Piece in the city. In 1848 the process was gone through more thoroughly, with representatives of several public schools called on to agree and write down a common set of rules. Sadly, these rules don't survive, but another set from 1856 do, which sets out a game that is perhaps more akin to Aussie Rules Football (which is thought to derive from these) than modern football. 

It wasn’t until 1863 that a set of Cambridge Rules was widely published and disseminated. These then influenced the rules determined by the newly formed Football Association that was trying to codify the game nationally to allow for teams from different towns and cities to play to a common set of laws. These formed the basis of the game we know today.

Notably, the Cambridge Rules forbade running with the ball in hand and ‘hacking’ – kicking the opponent the shins – which were quite a radical departure from the way the game was commonly played. A plaque now stands beside Parker’s Piece which says:

“Here on Parker's Piece, in the 1800s, students established a common set of simple football rules emphasising skill above force, which forbade catching the ball and 'hacking'. These 'Cambridge Rules' became the defining influence on the 1863 Football Association rules.”

Find out more and apply


Location: Yate, South Gloucestershire

The job: "As a planning enforcement officer you will make a difference by making South Gloucestershire a safe place to live, visit and work in. You will work as part of a team playing a key role by contributing towards a high-quality built environment for the enjoyment of all residents and our visitors.

"What will you be doing?

  • It will be your responsibility to manage 60-80 case assignments at all levels of complexity, working towards resolutions effectively and efficiently. Predominantly you will be office based however, field visits may be required for further investigation of alleged breaches of planning control.

  • This varied role is not limited to dealing with complaints but also consists of planning applications, policy compliance, appeals and prosecution proceedings. You will be involved with the end-to-end planning legislation process from pre-application to post application decision work.

  • You will respond to internal and external enquiries and to deliver a high quality of service

  • You will be expected to display decisive decision-making in complex or unprecedented situations.

A mop [square]Fun fact: Twice a year, around the Spring and Autumn Equinox, the South Gloucestershire town of Chipping Sodbury holds a Mop Fair which is characterised by two days of carnival and fairground rides and the like. Fair, yes, but mop?

To understand why it’s called a ‘mop’ fair, we need to delve into the history books. Mop fairs can be dated back to around 1351 when Edward III attempted to regulate the labour force as a result of shortages created by the Black Death. It was part of a transformation of labour relations that took place during the period and brought the old system of feudalism to an end.

Basically, mop fair was a slang term for a hiring fair where, usually once a year in the autumn, male and female agricultural servants would gather in market towns to present themselves to prospective employers and hopefully secure a position for the coming year. Edward III’s statute limited their bargaining power and freedom of movement in order to protect local labour markets – the workers had to pretty much take what they were offered and the working year lasted from October to October.

The would-be workers would typically collect in a market place sporting some tool of their trade to denote their speciality. Shepherds would hold a crook, for example, and milkmaids a milking stool. A servant with no particular skills would carry mop – hence mop fair. Employers would move among them, looking them over and establishing their experience and, if happy would make an offer and fix it with a “fasten-penny”, usually a shilling which would seal the contract.

Over time these fairs accumulated the trappings of a traditional holiday fair, with feasting and stalls and games, largely designed to tempt the newly employed to part with their fasten-penny.

Even as labour regulations changed, the mop fairs remained in many places until well into the 20th century. Many towns still retain third, though purely as a festival now rather than an employment exchange. Chipping Sodbury is among them.

Find out more and apply


Location: Warwick, Warwickshire/Hybrid

The job: “Are you an experienced town planner seeking to broaden your skills within a progressive planning service covering an area boasting extensive countryside along with historic market towns and villages?
If so, we’re recruiting an enthusiastic and self-motivated team player who will play a leading role in delivering high quality development across the district.

“As a principal planning officer you will manage and determine a caseload of predominantly major development schemes, including providing detailed advice at the pre-application stage and representing the council in public and at appeal. You will also sign off decisions for junior members of staff and deputise for the team leaders.

“You will have experience in dealing with major development schemes and will be able to work with minimal supervision. You will also have excellent communication skills and be able to work to tight deadlines, whilst focusing on delivering good customer service and high quality development.”

Lady of the Mercians [square]Fun fact: Warwick has a strong historic association with one of the most important military leaders in English history, who happened to be a woman. If you’ve watched The Last Kingdom, you’ll know all about Æthelflæd, Lady of the Mercians, who ruled the powerful kingdom of Mercia from 911 until her death in 918 (but wielded considerable influence before this).

She was the oldest daughter of King Alfred the Great and alongside her husband Æthelred and brother Edward – King of Wessex – more or less completed her father’s quest to protect the English from the Vikings and create a united England. The simple fact of her ascension to the throne was rough for one historian to describe it as “one of the most unique events in early Medieval history”; the fact that she went on to become a charismatic and successful ruler makes her even more exceptional. Though she was written out of some Saxon histories (for political reasons), Æthelflæd was rediscovered by Anglo-Norman chroniclers and later historians.

The connection with Warwick is that this was one of seven Mercian (now the Midlands) towns that Æthelflæd fortified to protect the English from Viking raids. The strong defensive wall she helped to create provided a foundation for later raids into Viking territory and the gradual recapture of much territory that had been lost.  These were expeditions that she herself led, as a proper military ruler.

Æthelflæd was, in short, exceptional. By her death, more or less the whole of modern England bar Northumbria, was under English control, and even Northumbria itself was compliant. On her death in 918, Æthelflæd’s body was carried 75 miles from Tamworth to Gloucester, where she was buried with her husband in St Oswald’s Minster.

Find out more and apply

Image credits | WPAP, Shutterstock; Tea and Biscuit Photos, Shutterstock; Matveev Aleksandr, Shutterstock; Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock; iStock