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The Friday Five 31.05.24

Published on: 31 May 2024

It's The Friday Five, our weekly collation of the best town planning jobs currently advertised on Planner Jobs – plus a selection of fun, interesting, arcane and unexpected place-based facts to match each location. This week, opportunities in Jersey, Fareham, Teignbridge, Redbridge and the Yorkshire Dales. Plus the origin of jumpers, the UK's strawberry centre, the railway line that is frequently overhwhelmed by the sea; the world's worst poet and the UK's largest cave system

1. PLANNING APPLICATIONS MANAGER, GOVERNMENT OF JERSEY

Location: Jersey

The job: "This opportunity presents a real difference. We are an island of constant change and continuing modernisation and we need an experienced individual to take decisions on the largest scale, most complex and contentious planning related applications considering a range of policies, legislation and environmental factors.

"The work we undertake is of unprecedented variety and currently on our table is a new hospital, a waterfront development and an Island wide urgent housing need. And we need dynamism and creative thinking to lead our team of planners.

"From minor residential applications to generational infrastructure builds, our planning team looks after it all. And as an island with less bureaucracy, in an agile and autonomous government working at pace, we are able to deliver real change. Jersey really does have something different to offer – a vibrant town, fabulous heritage, a world class coastline and Michelin starred restaurants."

Old style fishermen [square]Fun fact: Jumpers. Sweaters. Pullovers. All alternative names for the original jersey – the closed woollen garment with long sleeves that’s pulled over the head for warmth. Naturally enough, these items of clothing are named after the island of Jersey. Naturally enough, that's because the island had a roaring industry in the manufacture of woollen garments from the Middle Ages onward. That other Channel Island, Guernsey, can tell a similar tale about its own ‘guernseys’.

Both islands, which also have a deep history of fishing, have a history of producing fishermen’s jumpers. These were generally knitted by fishermen’s wives, with patterns passed down from mother to daughter for generations. Natural (ie, untreated) wool was the favoured material for such garments because it’s both naturally insulating and, because it retained its natural oils –water-repellent. Both are excellent qualities for someone working at sea.

Styles of jumper varied between the islands and also between day-to-day workwear (plain in style) and more formal wear (incorporating patterns which took inspiration from fishing paraphernalia, such as ropes, chains and nets). But for a long time, the term ‘guernsey’ was as widely used as ‘jersey'’, but it’s the latter which seems to have survived in common parlance.

We digress somewhat. Back to Jersey: the story goes that knitting becomes such a popular, profitable and widespread commercial activity that the island’s farming industry suffered by comparison. Workers, it is said, refused to do the arduous tasks of tilling fields and caring for livestock and the like, preferring instead to make woollen jumpers and stockings which were exported to Britain and to mainland Europe. 

Thus, in the 17th century, a law was passed which banned men from knitting during harvest season, under threat of fine or even imprisonment. Apparently, the law is still on Jersey’s statute books today.

Find out more and apply

2. TEAM LEADER (DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT) – PLANNING AND REGENERATION), FAREHAM BOROUGH COUNCIL

Location: Fareham, Hampshire

The job: "We're looking for a positive, enthusiastic and proactive planner to join our organisation and play a key role in shaping the future of the borough. You will have an opportunity to really make your mark on a wide range of major developments.

"You'll be responsible for the day-to-day management and providing guidance to planners of varying experience, along with Officers providing business support to the development management service. You'll deal with a personal caseload of major planning applications, including those of high corporate importance, those which cover a wide breadth of planning issues and those that can often prove controversial.

"For complex and high-profile planning appeals, especially those being dealt with at public local inquiries, you'll provide oversight of the council’s case, liaising with consultants appointed on behalf of the council, as well as those representing appellants."

Strawberries [square]Fun fact: The borough of Fareham – and particularly the villages of Salisbury, Titchfield and Warsash – were at one time at the very heart of England’s strawberry trade. The soil and climatic conditions in south-east Hampshire meant that this part of the world was particularly conducive to strawberry growing and could even produce two harvests a year.

Thus the area became a magnet for seasonal agricultural workers and whole families locally – including the kids – would become involved in the strawberry harvest. Once picked, they were transported via carts heaped with sweet-smelling fruit to local railways stations and shipped around the UK.  

The trade was so important to the area that school holiday dates were selected to a accommodate the harvest (because absenteeism was so great at this time); yields from smallholdings were reported annually in the local paper; and – apparently – even the coronations of Edward VII and George V were postponed until the harvest was over, such was its importance to the regional economy.

Nowadays, of course, with modern shipping and storage, strawberries are no longer merely a seasonal treat but a year-long delicacy. There are those who would claim that the taste of strawberries from south-east Hampshire far outstrips the flavours of the fruit grown anywhere else.

Find out more and apply

3. TEAM MANAGER – DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT, TEIGNBRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL

Location: Newton Abbot, Devon

The job: "We're seeking an experienced team manager to join our development management team of professional planning officers and technical/administrative support staff who work closely together to improve the quality of the built and natural environment across the district. 

"This role is one of two DM team managers each of whom manage an area team, which deal with a case load of varying scales of applications, and a separate specialist team. Currently this role manages the enforcement team and the other team manager manages the biodiversity, trees and heritage team. The team manager will performance manage and line manage the officers in the teams and allocate cases, hold case reviews and one to ones, sign decisions and represent the council in appeals and at planning committee.

"We're a values-based organisation all working together to achieve our vision of 'Making Teignbridge a healthy and desirable place where people want to live, work and visit'. We do this by taking personal ownership for the quality of the work we do, the quality of the relationships we develop and for driving improvements in our services."

Train leaving Dawlish [square]Fun fact: Teignbridge is the relatively recently conceived name for a district in Devon formed in April 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972. Like many new areas formed at the time, ‘Teignbridge’ was named after the medieval hundred of that name which had covered some of the area.

Within Teignbridge, Teignmouth is perhaps the more famous Teign-related place name, it being where the railway literally meets the sea during times of majorly inclement weather, on a line built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

The drama of the waves crashing up and over passing locomotives has ensured that the line running through Teignmouth is one of the most photographed sections of railway in the country.

These tempest-to-train interfaces are far from a recent phenomenon, with records of the sea breaking through the line at Teignmouth reported as many as 169 years ago. Nevertheless, each new storm provokes the same cycle of potential activity, with replacement inland sections of rail first proposed and then dropped because of cost.

Find out more and apply

4. GRADUATE PLANNING OFFICER – PLANNING AND BUILDING CONTROL, LONDON BOROUGH OF REDBRIDGE

Location: Redbridge, London

The job: "The London Borough of Redbridge is looking for an enthusiastic and qualified graduate planner to join its busy development management team. This exciting career grade role offers a graduate the opportunity to progress in their career up to a senior planner level.

"Redbridge is an ambitious, diverse and exciting  east London borough. We're one of the fastest growing parts of the country and the third most diverse London borough. Our communities are attracted by a mixture of excellent schools, relatively affordable housing, high-quality open space and rapid transport connections into the heart of the City.

"Redbridge is a borough with exciting opportunities and a strong demand for development recently enhanced by the opening of four Elizabeth Line stations across the borough. We need to proactively manage the investment being made in the borough to deliver a significant amount of new housing and support community infrastructure, drive economic growth and create a place in which people are proud to live, work and visit."

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy [square]Fun fact: The London borough of Redbridge nestles between Epping Forest, Essex, to the north, with the London Borough of Waltham Forest to the west. Its name derives from a bridge, demolished in 1921, that once crossed the River Roding, a tributary to The Thames. The bridge was made of red brick, unlike other bridges in the area made of white stone.

Its largest ethnic group is White British (34.5%) and the biggest ethnic minority groups are Indian (14 per cent) and Pakistani (6 per cent), making Redbridge the most diverse borough in the UK. And its people are smart: the area ranks second in the country in terms of the number of GCSE students getting five or more A*-C grades in their exams, with one in four residents qualified to degree level.

But if you believe that 42 is the number from which “the meaning of life, the universe, and everything” derives, as set out in Douglas Adams’s iconic sci-fi 1978 radio show The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (and its myriad spin-off productions), you will also know that the character Redbridge was the ‘worst poet in the universe’ in the original radio broadcast (although this was changed to Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings for all subsequent versions). This was because Paul Neil Milne Johnstone (1952–2004) was a real poet who lived in Redbridge, and he felt vilified about being mocked. Adams and Johnstone had been schoolmates at nearby Brentwood School in Essex, where Johnstone edited The Artsphere Magazine, which included spoof reviews by Adams and examples of Johnstone's poetry. Adams and Johnstone received a joint prize for English there and subsequently both went to the University of Cambridge.

Johnstone went on to achieve some prominence in the poetry world as an editor and festival organiser, including the 1977 Cambridge Poetry Festival. He died in 2004, almost three years after Adams died in 2001.

Find out more and apply

5. SENIOR PLANNING OFFICER, YORKSHIRE DALES NATIONAL PARK AUTHORITY

Location: Bainbridge and Leyburn, North Yorkshire

The job: "We are the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, an environmental organisation that protects, enhances and promotes the landscape, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Yorkshire Dales. The Dales are famous for pastoral valleys, with distinctive stone barns and walls, crags and waterfalls, rugged heather moorland and historic villages.

"As the planning authority for the area, it’s our job to help local people and businesses keep the National Park a thriving and beautiful area. Planning is the best tool we have for conserving this environment for the nation.

"But our work is also about delivering well designed housing and business development in a sustainable way. Due to a member of our team moving on, there’s an opportunity to apply for a much sought after role in our development management team. If you have design skills, a positive attitude to problem solving and you care about nature recovery, climate change and sustainable development then this might be the job for you."

Gaping Gill, Yorkshire [square]Fun fact: You’re probably familiar with the surface of the Yorkshire Dales; moors, valleys, dry stone walls and picturesque villages. It’s a tourism hotspot, popular with ramblers, and fans of James Herriot and Emmerdale

What lies below the Dales, though, is just as fascinating – albeit perhaps not as relaxing a staycation destination. The Dales partially cover the Three Counties System – a cave system spanning Lancashire, Cumbria and North Yorkshire. At 86 kilometres in length, it’s the longest cave system in the UK and the 30th largest in the world. Its deepest point is 253 metres – or 830 feet – below ground.

As you might expect, the caves are very old – one stalagmite found in Lancashire Hole was 350,000 years old. There are 53 (known) entrances to the system, and it’s popular with cavers –although 16 people are known to have lost their lives exploring the caves. 

The names of the caves making up the system are fantastic. You can traverse from Notts Pott, into Lost John’s Cave, linger in the Death’s Head Hole, and continue into Pippikin Pot, or Rumbling Hole

Find out more and apply

Image credits | iStock; iStock; iStock; dx4iot, Shutterstock; iStock