Skip to main content

The Friday Five 29.09.23

Published on: 29 Sep 2023

It's The Friday Five – our weekly selection of top jobs on Planner Jobs, plus a few place-based facts to distract and entertain. This week, opportunities in King's Lynn, Ellesmere Port, Oxford, Birmingham and Calgary (yup, Calgary in Canada). Plus the origin of the merry-go-round, the birth of Oxford university and Calgary's extraordinary system of skyways to help people go shopping in harsh winters.


Location: King's Lynn/Hybrid

The jobs: "As an assistant planner in planning policy, you will assist in all aspects of the planning policy function, providing support to senior colleagues to ensure the consistent and effective preparation, monitoring, review and implementation of the local plan. You will effectively communicate with customers and assist in supporting those who are preparing a neighbourhood plan.

"As a graduate planner/planner in planning control, you will have excellent communication and customer-care skills and will be enthusiastic about gaining development management experience in all aspect of urban, coastal and rural planning You will take responsibility for the effective negotiation and resolution of planning applications, ultimately achieving high quality development which supports growth and regeneration whilst protecting the environment and conserves the historic character of West Norfolk."

"We are a large borough with diverse landscapes ranging from the Norfolk Coast AONB in the north, to the Fens and the Brecks in the South. This gives you the opportunity to be involved with rural issues and urban regeneration, and coastal planning as well as major developments proposed within the main towns of King’s Lynn, Downham Market and Hunstanton."

Merry go round [square]Fun fact: We owe the colourful flamboyance of many fairground rides to a King's Lynn engineer whose business began as a manufacturer or steam-powered agricultural machines. Frederick Savage, though, was as much entrepreneur as engineer and spotted a gap in the market for fantastic steam-powered carousels at fairgrounds to replace the traditional roundabouts that were pulled by young boys or horses.

Though he didn't invent the steam carousel, from the 1860s his refinements, improvements and sheer imagination turned it into a major attraction and a whole series of exciting rides that would go up and down, in and out, as well as round and round. There is, of course, the classic Gallopers – the roundabout consisting of a herd of carved and colourful horses beloved of generations of children. But Savage, his engineering ingenuity and taste for the eccentric and fantastical didn't stop there.

As other showmen muscled in on his patch, creating competition to attract attention, Savage came up with Racing Peacocks, Jumping Cats and Flying Pigs as variations. Then there were Steam Yachts, a Tunnel Railway and more, each new iteration adding more speed and more sickening dips and rises to excite fairground crowds. 

Savages carousels sold worldwide and formed the blueprint for pretty much all modern fairground rides. But he wasn't just an engineer – later in life, Savage also served as Mayor of King's Lynn and a justice of the peace. He died in 1897.

Find out more and apply


Location: Ellesmere Port/Hybrid

The job: "Our busy and friendly planning team welcomes motivated and skilled individuals to join us working on a wide variety of planning applications and help us deliver sustainable development across the borough.

"Whilst some experience of working within a planning environment would be advantageous, our commitment to training, support and professional development means this post is also suitable for graduates at the very start of their planning careers or those expecting to graduate soon. 

"Your main responsibility will be to manage and determine applications for planning permission, but from time to time you will also get opportunities to assist our planning enforcement and planning policy teams. You will demonstrate the ability to work as part of our friendly and committed team of planners and support staff, be an excellent communicator, and be well-organised with a clear commitment to providing outstanding customer service. In return, our innovative and supportive way of working offers high levels of trust and autonomy to make decisions and manage your own workload."

Historic aircraft [square]Fun fact: Though Ellesmere Port is best known as a - well, port - and industrial centre at the point where the Mersey meets an inland canal network, close by is a centre for a different form of transport: Hooton Park, now largely owned by Vauxhall motors and used for car manufacture – was formerly RAF Hooton Park. 

Formerly a racecourse, the estate was requisitioned by the British War Department in 1914 and became a training aerodrome for pilots in the First World War. After a period as a civil aerodrome, it was once again requisitioned by the military in the Second World War and used as an aircraft assembly, maintenance and testing centre.

At the heart of the site are three enormous hangars built with a 'Belfast truss',  a unique latticed timber roof construction originally used in the Belfast shipyards to cover large working areas and which provided strength at low cost. Despite various threats of demolition over the years, the hangars remain and are now Grade II listed buildings and home to the Hooton Park Trust. The Trust is dedicated to preserving the hangers and displaying historic aircraft. 

These include Spitfires, Auster training aircraft, Gloster Meteors, DeHavilland Vampires and more. In keeping with the era it evokes, the museum also has a 1940s style NAAFI tea Room.

Find out more and apply


Location: Oxford/Hybrid

The job: "This is an exciting role for an enthusiastic and dynamic person to take a lead role in our planning policy team. We are a local authority that has a positive approach towards development and a track record of preparing innovative planning policies and we are seeking a team leader to drive high performance through motivation, empowerment and creativity.

"We are currently in the process of producing our Local Plan 2040 and, working with the other team leader, you would be driving our skilled and conscientious planning policy team to take the local plan through submission, examination and adoption."

Merton College [square]Fun fact: There's no clear date for its formation, but it's thought that Oxford has housed a university of sorts for close to a thousand years. There are records of teaching at Oxford from 1096 and it's known that a famous school Theobald of Etampes lectured at Oxford int he early 1100s. This makes it the oldest English language university in the world and the second oldest university in continuous operation, after Bologna. 

Its real growth began after 1167, the date at which King Henry II banned English students from studying at the recently founded University of Paris. It was granted a royal charter in 1248 and the collegiate system started to develop around the same time. 

Until this point students had tended to live in groups in rented rooms or religious houses in the town. But conflict between scholars and townsfolk hastened the development of dedicated halls of residence which in turn became colleges – endowed houses overseen by a master. These conflicts also caused some students to flee to Cambridge where they founded the rival Cambridge University.

There's some dispute but it's generally accepted that University College is officially the oldest of the Oxford colleges, endowed in 1249 by William of Durham. In 1263, John Balliol, father of a future Scottish king, endowed Balliol College. Merton College, also founded in the 1260s really formed the template for subsequent colleges, running to a set of regulations for college life.

There are now more than 40 colleges and halls at Oxford, each self-governing within a federation at the centre of which is a central administration run by a vice-chancellor.

Find out more and apply


Location: Birmingham/Hybrid

The job: "We are looking for a senior estates and planning officer to work across our Birmingham estate, including the prestigious Bournville Conservation Area, to deliver expert estate management and planning advice and guidance to a wide range of customers. 

"We have a portfolio that includes freehold, leasehold and socially rented homes from every decade from 1890 to the present day and are also responsible for a number of parks, green open spaces, retail sites and community facilities. As the senior estates and planning officer you will be working and learning in a fast paced environment, including providing some technical support to our colleagues in Telford, that will expose you to a diverse range of activities that will advance your experience, skills and develop your career.

"You will be part of a team responsible for the management of our Birmingham estate, including ensuring that property alterations are managed effectively and efficiently and in line with the Scheme of Management and Design Guides that are in place. This role will see you create successful partnerships and collaborative working relationships with a variety of stakeholders, including with colleagues across BVT. As a key member of the estates and stewardship team, you will be responsible for supporting the delivery of a highly regarded service with the opportunity to shape these services and continue the legacy of one of the country’s longest established stewardship models."

Dairy Milk [square]Fun fact: Bournville is, of course, a model village founded by the Cadbury family - of chocolate fame - in the last decade of the 19th century, its development continuing for some decades. Cadbury has long been at the forefront of chocolate manufacture and innovation, having been founded in 1824 as a purveyor of tea, coffee and drinking chocolate.

It was among the first firms to produce a chocolate bar and invented the modern Easter egg and, in 1905, the first British company to mass produce a milk chocolate bar. Incredibly, the Dairy Milk bar continues to be among the company's most popular products; indeed, its popularity formed the basis of the company's rapid expansion in the years leading to the First World War (along with Bournville Cocoa). 

A whole range of Cadbury staples appeared early on and continue to sell well. Milk Tray was first produced in 1915, the Flake in 1920, Creme Eggs in 1923, Fruit and Nut in 1928, Crunchie bars in 1929 and Roses in 1938. But none have been able to displace the simple Dairy Milk bar. By 1936, this alone was responsible for 60 per cent of UK chocolate sales. More than a century after it introduction, it's seen off countless rivals to remain the best-selling chocolate bar in the UK (and increasingly popular elsewhere, too).

Aside from its basic simplicity (and taste), the bar's popularity may also be in part due to its clever branding: from the start, the bar was sold in purple wrapper, denoting quality and luxury; and the name is concise, memorable and rolls easily off the tongue.

It may not have been so, however: through its development, the bar was variously referred to as 'Highland Milk', 'Jersey' and 'Dairy Maid', none of which have the same 'feel' as Dairy Milk. This, apparently, was suggested by a customer's daughter. Let's hope she got royalties, or at least a lifetime's supply of Dairy Milk.

Find out more and apply


Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

The job: "Reporting to the chief operating officer, the general manager of planning and development services is accountable for and oversees the strategic and operational management of the department. In collaboration with other members of the executive leadership team, the general manager develops strategic plans, enabling the effective execution of council priorities and services to the citizens of Calgary. This role provides expert advice and expertise to City Council, including participating in applicable committee meetings. This department leads multiple exciting initiatives such as: the Calgary Climate Strategy, Calgary’s Greater Downtown Plan, and collaborative community planning, with 30 Local Area Plans in development.

"You will provide leadership, inspiration, direction, coaching, mentorship and oversight of five directors and a service excellence manager. Collaboratively, you will establish a high-performing department with dedicated, skilled, engaged and customer focused team members, efficient service delivery and administrative processes and risk practices that ensure the reputation and assets of the City of Calgary are protected for its citizens."

Calgary skywalk [square]Fun fact: If you were ever to visit Calgary, you may be delighted (or horrified) to discover that you can walk round the city for a total of 16 kilometres without actually going outside. This is thanks to a network of 86 covered bridged connecting 130 buildings in the city centre. It's known as the Plus 15 skyway network, on account of the majority of the bridges being 15ft above street level (some are multi-level, however).

The rationale behind this extraordinary architectural practice is that the Calgary winters are so severe they discourage people from visiting downtown; the bridges enable people to move around the commercial centre quickly and comfortably. At the centre of the system is a series of enclosed shopping centres housing the city's flagship stores.

The system was devised by an architect, Harold Hanen, who worked for Calgary's planning department from 1966 to 1969.The first skywalks were opened in 1970 and new developments ere required to connect to the system in return for bonus floorspace. If they could not, they had to pay into a 'Plus 15 fund'.

The skywalks are considered a mixed blessing. Yes, they provide convenience at harsh times of year and are widely used; but they've also been blamed for a decline in street life the city commercial core.  The city began to re-evaluate the system in the late 1990s with a focus in reinvigorating street life. Nevertheless, developers are still offered tax credits if they make new connections to the system and the city's centre and commerce has evolved for close to half a century around the flow of human traffic through the covered bridges. It's not so easy to make a case for undoing them.

Find out more and apply

Image credits | Darryl Brooks, Shutterstock; IanC66, Shutterstock; iStock; Muhammad ZA, Shutterstock; iStock