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The Friday Five 21.04.23

Published on: 21 Apr 2023

It's The Friday Five, our weekly round-up of five top town planning jobs and five accompanying ‘fun’ place-based facts. This week, great planning jobs in Glasgow, Wolverhampton, Ashford, the Isle of Man and Tewkesbury; and the origin of the triskelion. You know, the triskelion. Everybody knows the triskelion, right?


Location: Glasgow/Hybrid

The job: “The project manager will become a member of the onshore renewables development team based in Glasgow. This role encompasses all aspects of project development to ensure the effective delivery of onshore renewable projects to meet the ScottishPower Renewable's (SPR) ambitious onshore pipeline growth targets.

“You will focus on the delivery of planning consents/permits and/or securing land agreements for the projects with all necessary financial approval and budgetary control associated. You will establish strong relationships with all stakeholders including regulators, planning authorities, governments, communities and landowners.

“Importantly, we will look for you to formulate the strategy and review of the environmental impact assessment process and including the preparation of environmental statements and planning applications for our renewables projects and help support any planning appeals process should one arise.”

Trongate Street, Glasgow [square]Fun fact: ​​ The Britannia Panopticon in Trongate, Glasgow, is one of the oldest remaining music halls in Britain. Built in 1858 as a ‘speculative’ building – and now listed – it was intended to house shops on the ground floor and drapery warehouse above. However, the upper floor opened on Christmas Day 1859 as the Britannia Music Hall.

It becomes notorious for the behaviour of its audience, working people living in rough conditions who would blow off steam by roundly abusing any acts that didn’t meet their approval. This would frequently take the form of bombarding them with ship rivets, nails, rotten turnips, horse manure and even urine. Acts that met their approval would be met with hearty applause and stomping of feet.

The auditorium, which squeezed 1,500 people into the small space, either sitting on rough benches or standing at the sides and back, also became known as a place where the local prostitutes would ply their trade – openly, during performances. Let’s just say it wasn’t exactly salubrious, but was probably very lively.

Over time the venue became more respectable and during its years of being an entertainment venue it hosted singers, dancers, comedians, acrobats, a carnival, a freakshow, a waxworks and even, at one time, a zoo. It also hosted many of the music hall greats, including Dan Leno (comedian and clog dancer), Vesta Tilley (male impersonator), Harry Champion ((comedian and tiger), Marie Loftus (singer and dancer) and, in 1906, one Arthur Stanley Jefferson who went on to find greater fame in the United States as Stan Laurel.

As cinema grew and music hall waned, the building became a clothing factory and then a department store. In the early 2000s, a process of uncovering and restoring its music hall roots began and the Panopticon is once again playing host to song, dance and comedy.

Find out more and apply


Location: Wolverhampton, West Midlands

The job: “Wolverhampton is a Millennium city with a thousand years of history, located on the north‑west edge of the West Midlands conurbation, with the beautiful countryside of Shropshire and Staffordshire on the doorstep and excellent transport links to Birmingham, London, Manchester and Liverpool.

“In planning, we have developed a more effective and less bureaucratic way of working that benefits both our planners and those who want to develop in the city, providing a faster and more streamlined service that is boosting business confidence and investment and producing high quality development. We are looking for an enthusiastic planner to join our team.”

Vintage bicycle [square]Fun fact: For more than a century from the late 1860s, Wolverhampton was home to a vast and varied bicycle industry that, during the peak years of cycling, employed more than 3,000 people across close to 200 bike manufacturers.  These included names (now long gone) such as Sunbeam, Rudge, Wulfruna and Viking. The last of these dominated the UK bike racing scene in the 1950s and 60s with their lightweight handbuilt racers.

Rudge was perhaps earliest of these. Founded by Daniel Rudge, who was a bike racer and landlord of the Tiger Inn, Rudge bridged the gap between penny farthings and more modern bicycles and became one of the best-known racing marques of the day. 

Such machines were the height of engineering excellence and would have been raced over extremely long distances – for example, it was a Rudge that won the inaugural 1,200km Paris-Brest-Paris race in 1891. To give you some idea of how this might compare with modern racing, an 1895 Rudge steel-framed racer costing £17 would weigh in at 13kg. Modern carbon racing bikes weigh around 7kg and the longest regular race on the calendar is less than 300km.

The Wolverhampton bike industry went into decline as the UK shifted towards cars as the primary mode of transport and the volume manufacturers were all gone by the mid to late 1970s, leaving just handful of small makers into the 1980s. There’s a list of Wolverhampton bike manufacturers from the golden age of cycling here.

Find out more and apply


Location: Ashford, Kent/Hybrid

The job: “Ashford’s planning and development service has a long and proud record of driving high quality place making. This is strongly supported by elected members and acknowledged as an essential component in the delivery of successful and sustainable development and growth with a strong focus on excellent customer service. The council is forward thinking and ambitious in the way it serves its residents and businesses and is looking to be carbon neutral by 2030.

“This is a key post in the service. Your role would be to both lead a team of officers and carry a small complex caseload, focused on delivering high quality development across the borough.

“Working as one of two team leaders in the planning applications team, you will be required to work with the planning applications and building control manager to provide strategic direction for the team and ensure that the service performs to an excellent level with a consistency that will help secure the council’s corporate objectives.”

St John Ambulance logo [square]Fun fact: Ashford has the oldest surviving St John Ambulance unit – the reason? The founder of St John Ambulance, the humanitarian John Furley, came from the town.

Furley, born in 1836, was a solicitor and humanitarian who dedicated much of his life to improving medical care in wartime and at home. He was one of the figures involved in the founding of the International Red Cross in the 1860s (following the Crimean War) and then the British Red Cross.

In 1877, dismayed by the many injuries sustained in British industry, he helped found St John Ambulance with the intention of training people to administer first aid in the workplace. The organisation rose out of the Order of St John, a chivalric organisation that claimed descent from the medieval Knights Hospitaller. In 1887, the St John Ambulance Brigade was founded to provide uniformed media at public events.

The St John Ambulance Association continues to fulfil both of these aims, providing first aid cover at thousands of events a year, training volunteers to be community first responders in their neighbourhoods and providing first aid courses for businesses, organisations and individuals. It also runs its own ambulance operations supporting the NHS frontline ambulance service. Since early 2020, St John Ambulance has treated more than 150,000 patients. Its personnel are still uniformed (a distinctive green shirt with black cargo trousers, with coloured epaulettes denoting role, from black for first aid personnel to green for paramedics, grey for nurses and red for doctors.

As for Furley, he received many accolades and titles for his work and died in Oxford in 1919 at the age of 83.

Find out more and apply


Location: Isle of Man

The job: “We are looking for an enthusiastic and experienced chartered planner to join our team as a principal planning officer.

“Reporting to the head of development management, you will carry your own caseload of more complex applications, determine applications under delegated powers, mentor and potentially line manage planning officers, advise the planning committee and represent the government at appeals. You will also occasionally deputise for the head of development management.

“You will contribute to our ambitious Programme for Government, to ensure planning helps to drive sustainable economic growth, respond to changing population pressures, and keep the island a special place to live and work. You would be joining a small, supportive team who enjoy sharing ideas and knowledge with each other.”

Isle of Man flag [square]Fun fact: The Isle of Man’s three-legged motif is well known, but what does this peculiar symbol represent and where does it come from? It’s called a triskelion and doesn’t always take the form of three legs joined together at the thigh, as depicted on the island’s flag.

A triskelion, rather, is the name for an ancient motif that consists of a triple spiral radiating from a common centre. It’s often depicted as legs, but not always, and has been found on artefacts dating back to the Neolithic age (from roughly 4,500-2,000 BCE). It’s also been found commonly on Bronze Age, Iron Age and early Greek and Celtic cultures. In other words, it was a fairly widespread symbol in ancient Europe and has been found at very ancient ruins in Malta and at the megalithic tomb of Newgrange in Ireland built around 3,200 BCE.

As far as the Isle of Man is concerned, its use can be definitively dated to the 13th century, but its direct origin is a little murky. There’s the Celtic connection and Man absolutely comes out of Celtic and Gaelic culture; but there are those who claim its origin is in Sicily, where the symbol was used widely from ancient times and whose flag the triskelion still adorns.

As for its meaning, it seems to depict an idea of continuity and eternity that has often been associated with ideas of ‘triads’ in nature, cosmology and theology: three ears of corn, the Greek triple goddess Hecate; the Father, son and Holy Spirit in Christianity, and so on.

The Manx triskelion, though, may be more closely linked to the island’s motto: Quocunque jeceris stabit – ‘whichever way you throw it, it will stand’: resilience, continuity, lasting strength.

Find out more and apply


Location: Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire

The job: “Dalcour Maclaren is an innovative and highly dynamic multi-disciplinary consultancy working on huge range of exciting and diverse projects for a growing client base within utilities and infrastructure – think HS2, offshore wind farms and nuclear energy. We are immensely proud to be working on some of the largest infrastructure projects taking place across the UK which are instrumental in shaping the future of our planet. If you want to play your part in helping the earth become more sustainable, and to reach net zero by 2050, you would be making the right choice by joining the team here at Dalcour Maclaren.

“Our environmental and planning team is looking for an experienced senior planner to bolster the existing planning expertise in this busy and exciting part of the business which is continuing to grow. As senior planner, you will be managing and contributing to a variety of projects, including new capital schemes, property portfolio development appraisals and securing planning consents across all utilities and infrastructure sectors. For this role you will either be working towards or have achieved MRTPI.”

Tewkesbury Abbey [square]Fun fact: Tewkesbury Abbey, a former Benedictine monastery and now a parish church – even though it’s as large as most of England’s cathedrals, has the largest Romanesque crossing tower in Europe (ie, the tower at the centre of the cross created by the shape of the church when viewed from above). 

It's also considered one of the best examples of Norman architecture in Britain. Its origins date back to the 7th century, when Tewkesbury was an early centre of Christian worship, thanks to the Northumbrian missionary Theoc, who built his monastic cell and then a monastery in what became the town. Theoc also gave his name to Tewkesbury – or Theoc’s bury.

By the 10th century, a priory had been established in the growing settlement. In 1102, a germination after the Norman Conquest, the work of building the abbey began, with Can stone imported from Normandy floated up the River Severn.

Like other monumental buildings of the period, it took generations to complete. By 1121, the choir had been consecrated; by 1150 the tower and nave were completed. Other parts of the building were added over the ensuing 300 years, giving us more or less what we have today.

In addition to its other standout features, the abbey is home to more medieval church monuments than any other church in England, except for Westminster Abbey. ‘Monuments’ in this context, means any work of art that can hold the remains of the dead or is located within a repository for the remains of the dead. In Tewkesbury these include the bones of George, Duke of Clarence, in a burial vault behind the altar; a ‘cadaver monument’ of Abbot Wakeman (which doesn’t contain his body); numerous effigies marking burial locations, and so on.

On a more cheerful note, the abbey is also home to a 17th-century church organ reputed to have been played by the poet John Milton. All in all, it’s a pretty remarkable place.

Find out more and apply

Image credits | iStock; iStock; Graeme Lamb, Shutterstock; iStock; Junk culture, Shutterstock