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The Friday Five 31.03.23

Published on: 31 Mar 2023

It's the Friday Five, our weekly round-up of top town planning jobs and place-based facts. This week, great opportunities in the forests of southern Scotland, Calderdale, Tewkesbury, Bosworth and Cardiff; and the gory history of decapitation in Halifax.


Location: Scotland (south region)

The job: “Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) is looking for enthusiastic, practical, creative people to join our planning and environment team in South Region. The South Region team of FLS manages and cares for 170,000 ha of public land, extending from the eastern Scottish Borders to the Isle of Arran. In South Region we:

  • produce over one million m³ of sustainable timber every year

  • replant hundreds of hectares each year to create tomorrow’s forests

  • support large scale renewables projects that supply energy to thousands of homes

  • provide world-class facilities for mountain bikers, walkers and outdoor enthusiasts

  • restore peatlands, sometimes on a pretty large scale

  • create new woodlands on former opencast sites

  • manage open land and woodland habitats to benefit a diverse range of wildlife.

“The planning and environment teams work closely with other teams and specialists to design sustainable forests of the future, protect and restore semi-natural habitats, respond to climate change and enhance our landscapes. We facilitate and integrate responsible renewable energy and infrastructure on Scotland’s forests and land to support the nation’s climate goals."

British Primitive Goat [square]Fun fact: At 774 square kilometres, Galloway Forest Park claims to be the largest forest in the UK. It was also the first UK location to be granted dark sky park status.

Even more interesting, though, is that the park is one of the last strongholds of Britain’s oldest and most unimproved goat breeds: The British Primitive Goat.

This small and hardy breed (why are such animals always described as ‘hardy’ – how about ‘resilient’?) originated in Persia and would have been kept by early settlers who brought it with them across what was then the land bridge between modern-day Britain and continental Europe in around 3,000 BCE (or BC if you prefer).

So they were kept by the builders of Stonehenge, by Bronze and Iron Age people, by Saxons, Vikings, and probably Normans, too. They were the herding goat of the medieval manor and a mainstay of the early Cheddar cheese industry.

But they went out of fashion, with larger, hornless and shorthaired breeds preferred over the small, hairy horny beasts. And that might have been that but for a Victorian revival of interest in the breed and attempts to preserve it.

Nowadays, British Primitive Goats are largely confined to a handful of areas, including the Scottish Borders and other parts of Scotland and Wales where they roam freely.

Find out more and apply


Location: Halifax, West Yorkshire

The job: “We are looking for a principal planning officer with an appetite for managing challenging projects and to take a lead role on minerals, waste, infrastructure, and environmental matters. The post holder will also act as the Planning Service’s lead advisor and key point of contact on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) matters.

“Calderdale comprises of a fascinating mix of towns, villages and Pennine countryside, conveniently located between Leeds and Manchester.
“If you’re looking for a challenging and varied role in a busy planning team, we’d like to hear from you. It’s a very exciting time to join the council, with a newly adopted local plan and an ambitious capital programme.”

Halifax Gibbet [square]Fun fact: From 1286 until 1650, close to 100 people were beheaded in Halifax for crimes as minor as petty theft. For a time, the instrument used for this punishment was the Halifax gibbet, basically a guillotine, which is thought to have been unique in Britain – other places used a sword or an axe to cut off perpetrators’ heads.

It’s not actually known when the gibbet was installed, but its reign of terror was ended in 1650. By then, beheading was generally considered a bit excessive for petty crimes and Oliver Cromwell himself forbade further use of the gibbet.

Decapitation was actually a fairly common punishment in medieval and Middle Ages England. In Halifax, the lord of the manor had the authority to execute summarily by decapitation any thief caught with stolen goods to the value of 13 1/2d or more (equivalent to about a tenner today). 

The structure was dismantled but its foundation stone was rediscovered in the 1840s. In 1974, a non-working replica was installed on the site; a nearby plaque commemorates the 52 people who are known to have died beneath its bloodsoaked blade.

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 (and beyond!) which are instrumental in shaping the future of our planet.

“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. 

“You will take the lead in the preparation and delivery of a range of environmental planning services and projects, such as:

  • feasibility assessments, site appraisals, planning strategies

  • screening, scoping, planning and coordinating projects 

  • providing planning advice at design and feasibility stage for capital projects 

  • preparing planning and technical-related reports 

  • reviewing planning opportunities and providing strategic advice on a wide variety of property types promoting land for development

  • and more.”

Tewkesbury Medieval Festival [square]Fun fact: Every year, on the second full weekend of July, thousands of re-enactors from across the globe descend on the market town of Tewkesbury to fight once more the Battle of Tewkesbury. This decisive encounter in 1471 ended the Wars of the Roses and gave the trone of England to the Yorkish Edward IV.

Of course, no one actually gets killed today and the whole thing is carried off in a spirit of celebration. Indeed, the Tewkesbury Medieval Festival incorporates games, food and a large fair where re-enactment clothing, furniture and weaponry can be bought. There’s also a large recreation of a medieval encampment.

Footprint Travel Guides apparently described the festival as one of the ‘ten most bizarre festivals’ in England. They clearly haven’t been reading The Friday Five…

Find out more and apply


Location: Hinckley and Bosworth, Leicester, East Midlands

The job: “Leading a newly formed, enthusiastic, dedicated development management team by example, you’ll make the most of the huge investment and regeneration going on across the borough. Like us, you’re ambitious, driven and keen to take on varied projects – the more challenging the better.

“You’ll be the person to work alongside the director – community services and newly appointed head of planning to take the development management service forward. Working closely with colleagues and your team, you’ll lead by example and ensure continual service improvement.

“You’ll be responsible for managing the development management service, including planning enforcement, with three team leaders reporting to you, and overseeing the external local land charges service. You will be responsible for managing and leading colleagues in liaising with members, including presenting items to planning committee and will report to the head of planning.”

Map showing Sheepy [square]Fun fact: Come join me in etymology corner (again). Sheepy Magna. Sheepy Parva. The most idiosyncratic place names in England? You may be thinking there’s some strange sonic coincidence going on here and the names have nothing whatsoever to do with woolly farm animals but, no, the two villages in Hinckley and Bosworth Borough are actually named after sheep.

Specifically, the Old English word scēp meaning ‘sheep’. And possibly then also ēg meaning ‘dry ground surrounded by marsh’. Then you add some Latin – magna meaning 'great' and parva meaning, er, ‘little’. And then you have scēp-ēg magna and scēp-ēg parva – or, in modern parlance Great Sheepy and Little Sheepy.

The name of the local pub? The Black Horse…

Well, come on, what did you expect??

Find out more and apply


Location: Cardiff

The job: “We are looking for two highly motivated individuals who can manage a busy and varied caseload of applications and general planning enquiries.

“You will have a qualification in town planning or equivalent, good communication skills and will be able to manage multiple priorities. Previous experience in development control with a focus on securing good quality design is preferable.”

Spillers Records [square]Fun fact: Cardiff lays claims to being home to the world’s oldest, still trading record shop. Spillers Records was founded in 1894 and, of course, resides in one of Cardiff’s many historic shopping arcades (regular readers of The Friday Five will know all about these). 

It was founded by a Henry Spiller, originally in the Queens Arcade and sold phonographs, wax phonographs cylinders and shellac phonograph discs. For a time in the 1920s the shop also sold and repaired musical instruments.

Nowadays, Spillers sells a mix of vinyl and CDs, as well as tickets for live events and retains an independent spirit, both in the music it sells and its approach to business. 

There is a rival claimant to its oldest record shop in the world monicker, however. D’Amato Records in Valetta, Malta, claims to have been established in 1885 and has been selling records since that date. Investigations have failed to produce the hard evidence to verify the claim, so Spillers can breathe easy, for now.

Find out more and apply

Image credits | Mark Caunt, Shutterstock; Alastair Wallace, Shutterstock; Valeriia Burlakova, Shutterstock; SevenMaps, Shutterstock; John Selway, Shutterstock