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The Friday Five 7.06.24

Published on: 7 Jun 2024

It's The Friday Five, our weekly round-up of the best town planning jobs advertised on Planner Jobs – plus some place-based facts for your amusement and delight. This week, opportunities in Manchester, the Shetland Islands, Southwark, anywhere (!) and Leeds. Plus amusing, entertaining or just plain informative tales of the founding of two great British brands, the Viking festival that is not a Viking festival, famous cats associated with well-known locations and a brief history of UK electricity.


Location: Manchester

The job: "Manchester is one of the world’s greatest cities. A city with a reputation for innovation.  A reputation for creativity. A thriving regional economy and a proud sense of identity. We are a city with a rich history, a vibrant present-day, and much to look forward to in the future.

This is an opportunity to play a key role in shaping this dynamic modern city. The role is within the central development management team of the Manchester Planning Service – a high profile, frontline service within the city council. We are looking for a talented, ambitious town planner who is committed to Manchester, and its vision, in order to realise outcomes for our residents, businesses and visitors. 

"The central team is responsible for the implementation of the council's planning policies for the ongoing physical regeneration of the city centre.  We have a number of nationally significant development areas, including Corridor Manchester, First Street, Great Jackson Street and Piccadilly East as part of meeting our housing and economic growth objectives. 

"The team is also responsible for managing the growth of the city centre into a number of strategically important regeneration areas, including Victoria North, Strangeways, Ancoats and New Islington, Holt Town and the Etihad Campus, in order to create great places that bring people and communities together, attract investment and ensure that Manchester continues to thrive."

Rolls Royce [square]Fun fact: Manchester – the city in the north-west of England where Ernest Rutherford split the atom in 1919, birthplace of the Industrial Revolution and, in 1938, of Kellogg’s Cornflakes, home to bands such as The Smiths, Joy Division, Oasis, New Order, Take That, and The Hollies. Oh, and a couple of football teams, but who cares?

On 4 May 1904, Charles Stewart Rolls (1877-1910) walked into the Midland Hotel on St Peter Street, to meet up with Frederick Henry Royce (1863-1933), who designed car and aeroplane engines. They had been introduced at the Royal Automobile Club by Henry Edmunds, a director of Royce Ltd. Edmunds had shown Rolls Royce’s classic 10hp automobile – the first motor car designed by Royce himself. Rolls was blown away and the historic meeting led to the formation of Rolls-Royce (note the hyphen).

The company fast developed a reputation for superior engineering by manufacturing the "best car in the world". The business was incorporated as Rolls-Royce Limited in 1906, and a new factory in Derby was opened in 1908, focused on large 40–50 horsepower motor cars, such as the Silver Ghost and its successors. 

The First World War drew the company into making aero-engines. Joint development of jet engines began in 1940, and they entered production in 1944. Rolls-Royce has since built a reputation for developing and manufacturing engines for military and commercial aircraft.

Royce's health failed in 1911, and he was persuaded to leave the Derby factory and move with his design team to the south of England, and winter in the south of France. He died at his home in Sussex in 1933.

Aviation pioneer Rolls came to a sadder end. He was the first Briton to be killed in an aeronautical accident with a powered aircraft when the tail of his Wright Flyer broke off during an air display in Bournemouth. He was 32.

However, members of the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club still gather regularly at the Hotel to celebrate with an exhibition of classic Rolls-Royce cars.

Find out more and apply


Location: Shetland Islands 

The job: "Are you an ambitious planning professional with experience in undertaking regulatory and enforcement activity across the range of planning activities and looking for both a fresh career challenge, and a better quality of life?

"Shetland’s spectacular landscapes, coastal waters and diverse economy make the islands an exceptional place to work in planning. Shetland is an archipelago in north of the British Isles where you’ll find freedom, wildlife and wild beauty, but also a rich culture and a dynamic, forward-looking society.

"The islands provide a strategic hub for a wide range of established and emerging industries, including a proposed spaceport in Unst, onshore and offshore renewables, aquaculture, and nationally significant energy projects.

"In a challenging and varied role, you will have opportunities to assist in the delivery and maintenance of existing planned growth, as well as the protection of the islands community’s interests.

"Working as a planner whose principal role is in planning enforcement in our development management team, you'll play a vital part in shaping life in Shetland and maintaining the islands' special characteristics and qualities. You'll carry out the full duties of the post, making recommendations on the use of the wide choice of options available to achieve satisfactory, lasting and cost-effective remedies to breaches of planning control in accordance with the legislative requirements and the council’s statutory duties, as well as any applications that follow.

"You' ll make a difference within the community you’re living in and get to see first hand the impact of decisions made within the role. We’ll give you exposure to all development types, and help you to develop your career at a faster rate than you would working in other locations."

Up Helly Aa [square]Fun fact: Among much else, Shetland is noted for its numerous Up Helly Aa fire festivals that take place between January and March each year. Marking the end of the Yule season, each consists of a torchlit processions led by squads of 'guizers' (people in costume) and culminates in the burning of an imitation Viking galley. The largest of the islands' 11 Up Helly Aas takes place in the Shetland capital of Lerwick and features upwards of a thousand guiders and thousands of other participates, many of whom have travelled from far-flung locations to take part.

This may all seem like an ancient folk festival that recall the islands’ deep Viking past. But in truth, the Up Helly Aas are an artifice that is only about 150 years old. The fire festivals get out of an older tradition of ‘tar barrelling’, which involved group of young men dragging barrel of burning tar through the streets of settlements and making a nuisance of themselves. 

The tar barrelling was, frankly, a public danger and caused all kind of consternation, so much so that it was finally banned in the 1870s, to be replaced by more formal and better organised torch processions. According to Wikipedia, the first Yule torch procession took place in 1876; and the first Up Helly Aa Day procession in 1881. The following year, a royal visit led to the event being significantly ramped up. By the late 1880s it had taken on something of a Viking flavour and the symbolic burning of Viking galley began.

The origin of the festivals is strongly tied to efforts to reduce public drunkenness and nuisance caused by bored young men (particularly those who had returned from serving in British Empire escapades). Indeed, the first Lerwick Up Helly Aa was organised by the Total Abstinence Society.

As for the name, even that isn’t Viking, but derives from the lowland Scots word ‘Upholiday’, the word used for the Twelfth Day that marks the end of Yule. Like so many ‘ancient’ British folk customers, Up Helly Aa is a Victorian invention. Bet it’s great, though.

Find out more and apply


Location: Southwark, London

The job: "We have opportunities for two graduate planners in our planning policy team. In this role, you'll be writing policy, conducting research, carrying out monitoring, partnership working and working with consultants, as well as working on the local plan. You should be able to demonstrate knowledge of planning policy, particularly an understanding of strategic planning issues, how to interpret them simply and how to translate complex issues into development management policies.

"The positions requires candidates who are keen to suggest ideas for improvements and change. This is part of a graduate programme where there are training and opportunities to gain experience throughout all of the planning division, working towards RTPI accreditation.

"Southwark is the largest local authority social landlord in London, managing 55,000 homes lived in by 40 per cent of Southwark’s residents. We're home to more than 18,300 businesses, including iconic London venues and social enterprises, and we have a young, diverse and growing population. Our refreshed borough plan and focus on Southwark Stands Together, (which is our work with Southwark’s communities and the council’s staff to tackle racism, injustice and inequality) underpins all that we do."

Cat [square]Fun fact: Southwark Cathedral can lay claim to sparking the early 2010s trend for government institutions adopting stray cats into ‘public service’.

A stray looking for food and shelter, Doorkins Magnificat began visiting the cathedral in 2008, became known as a local celebrity and met both the Mayor of London and Queen Elizabeth II on formal visits to the cathedral. She is the subject of the children's book Doorkins the Cathedral Cat, and in 2018 was immortalised with a stone gargoyle inside the cathedral.

Doorkins has since made way for Hodge, a black-and-white tuxedo cat, who again has become a celebrity with various souvenirs available in the cathedral shop and, naturally, his own social media accounts.

Doorkins was an inspiration for other high-profile London addresses adopting cats. Obviously, the most famous is Larry at 10 Downing Street, who was first adopted in 2011 during the premiership of David Cameron, and who is now incredibly onto his fifth prime minister. And lesser known, perhaps, is Gladstone, the ‘chief mouser’ to HM Treasury in Whitehall. See also Palmerston, ‘chief mouser’ of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (now retired).

But it’s with Southwark Cathedral’s Doorkins Magnificat that the trend originated. Long may it continue, we say.

Find out more and apply


Location: Hybrid working across the UK

The job: "With a team of more than 240 chartered planners, WSP is playing a critical role in shaping communities and regions across the UK. Our industry-leading infrastructure planning and engagement team specialises in securing consents and approvals for some of the most critical and important infrastructure projects across the UK. Our teams work at all stages of the consenting process from early feasibility through to close of construction.

"We have a huge variety of projects across the energy, renewables, water, rail, road, and local government sectors. Our long list of clients include East West Rail, National Grid, Nuclear Waste Services, Eni UK, National Gas, EET Fuels, Yorkshire Water, United Utilities, South West Water, EDF Energy and Scottish Power Energy Networks and many more  

"To support our growing portfolio of projects we're looking for town planners at all levels across the UK that are passionate about bringing about a real change to our environment for the better."

Electricity substation [square]Fun fact: Public electricity generation began in the UK in 1881 in the Surrey town of Godalming. Although other places had installed electric streetlights, Godalming was the first place to provide an electricity supply to people's homes.  

The power was provided by a waterwheel in the River Wey attached to a tannery owned by R J Pullman. Pullman allowed the council to use his waterwheel in return for lighting for his factory and home. 

The following year, Holborn Viaduct power station (known as the Edison Electric Light Station) became the world's first coal-fired power station generating electricity for public use. Edison opened a second power station later that year, in New York.

By 1915, the UK had more than 600 separate small companies generating electricity, most of them far too small to actually be economical. The UK government tried to bring some order to this mish mash with the 1919 Electricity Supply Act, which created district electricity boards to regulate supply – and suppliers – regionally.

By 1926 there was a Central Electricity Board which oversaw the creation of a National Grid linking all the different regions and the multiple private suppliers. In 1947, the industry was nationalised under the guise of the Central Electricity Generating Board, which oversaw both generation and distribution of electricity throughout the UK. And this remained the case until 1989 when the CEGB was broken up into four private entities, including the National Grid.

And so it's remained, more or less. Nowadays, there are four companies responsible for transmission (including National Grid) and several more involved in distribution. If the Labour Party wins the forthcoming election, however, this status quo is likely to change, as the party has pledged to create Great British Energy, a publicly-owned clean energy company. Quite how this will affect the overall scenario of companies generating and distributing, and what impact this will have on the national electricity grid remains to be seen...

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Location: Leeds, West Yorkshire

The job: "LNT Care Developments is the UK's leading purpose build residential care home developer and constructor. Over 30 years of innovation, within our vertically integrated model, has allowed us to perfect the care home designs.

"We're now seeking to recruit a town planner to join a reputable and thriving care home developer. It’s a great opportunity to join this close-knit and well-respected planning team. Based in Garforth, Leeds, you'll already be an experienced town planner with a background in either a private or public sector setting, working for a consultancy, local authority, developer, or land promoter.

"The position will involve managing planning project work in-house, as part of the team. This will involve initial site appraisals and evaluation, preparation of written reports and statements and submission of all planning application documentation. It will also involve meeting and negotiating with planning officers and any/all parties involved in the application processes and being involved in planning committee and appeal situations, as required.

"You'll need to be at a stage in your career where you're ready to take ownership of projects – five years professional planning experience is therefore the minimum, and ideally you will have more. Whatever your current skill set, you'll be offered comprehensive training and support to develop skills and experience in areas where you have not yet had much exposure."

Cluedo [square]Fun fact: No doubt you've played at least one of the many famous games that have entertained and occupied several generations of British children (and perhaps even adults), particularly in the days before video games and the internet. We're talking Cluedo, Monopoly, Top Trumps, Sorry!, Boggle, Blockbusters, Lexicon, Risk, even Subbuteo.

If these sound familiar, then you have a company founded in Leeds to thank for the memories. Waddingtons was founded in the city in the very early 1900s by John Waddington and the manager, actor and playwright Wilson Barrett. 

The firm actually began life as a printing business, focused mainly on theatre. In 1922, that to a boom in card games, it entered the playing card market. Thereafter, the business produced its own original games while also selling games licensed from other games makers. This was the case, for example, with Monopoly, which was actually a US game created by Parker Brothers. In return, Parker Brothers published Waddingtons’ Cluedo in the United States.

Over time, the company’s roster of games grew and it became particularly well-known for creating games linked to television shows, such as Blockbusters. During the Second World War, it also produced a special version of Monopoly, which was distributed to British prisoners of war by a fake charitable organisation. These ‘games’ contain maps, compasses, real money and other items which could aid an escape.

Remarkably, games never accounted for more than about 15 per cent of Waddingtons' profits. Most of its money actually came from improving packaging technology – think folding cartons and microwave trays and, at its peak, the business employed more than 3,000 people, mostly in Leeds. At heart ,Waddingtons was actually a printing and packaging firm. Waddingtons was brought by that other games giant, Hasbro, in 1994, although the brand itself still exists.

Find out more and apply

Image credits | Ozgurdonmaz, iStock; Andrew J Shearer, Shutterstock; Netfalls Remy Musser, Shutterstock; Zhaojiankang, iStock; Willsie, iStock