The Friday Five 8.10.21
Five pillars of Islam. Five vowels in the English alphabet. Five Olympic rings. Five lines in a limerick. Five digits on each hand. Five planning jobs on a Friday. Yes, it's the Friday Five, as meaningful, as iconic, as irreducible as all of the above. Five is the magic number.
1. PRINCIPAL PLANNING OFFICER. MID DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL
Location: Tiverton, Devon
The job: "We are looking for an enthusiastic candidate to fill the post of principal planning officer, within a small team of planning officers responsible for development management issues covering part of the Mid Devon District.
"You will process a wide range of more complex planning casework within a defined area of the district, and provide advice on planning matters to users of the service and interested parties. You will also advise from a DM perspective on the preparation of policy guidance and documents as necessary.
"The successful applicant will fulfil an important role within the area team providing assistance to the area team leaders and development manager and will represent the district council at public inquiries and informal hearings as necessary."
Fun fact: Sampford Peverell, in Mid Devon, is home to one of the strangest - and still unresolved - ghost stories in English history. Indeed, the Sampford Poltergeist was reported widely in the newspapers of the day and at least two pamphlets, with wonderful titles such asSampford Ghost!!! A Full Account of the Conspiracy at Sampford Peverell, near Tiverton; Containing the Particulars of the Pretended Visitations of the Monster.
The facts of the case seem to be that a John Chave and his family arranged to move into a house owned by a Mr Talley. The pair reached an agreement that Talley would carry out repairs to the house before Chave moved in. Almost from the moment they took up residence, however, Chave and his family were subject to near nightly hauntings that became increasingly violent - mostly against the family domestic servants.
Various people investigated; all had disturbing experiences. Some claimed a ghost, others a hoax. A local newspaper editor claimed that the 'haunting' originated in a dispute between Chave and a painter he had employed to smarten up the property. Chave had objected to the man's bill; in return, the painter vowed to make the house uninhabitable. Another story was that Chave was at risk of eviction and so manufactured the hoax so as to put off any future tenants and remain in the property himself. Yet another that the landlord had installed a false wall to conceal smuggling activities.
On one occasion Chave was attacked by a mob and shot a man dead while defending himself. In any case, the story seems never to have been satisfactorily resolved and remains a strange tale in the annals of a small town in Devon that has never quite been forgotten.
Read more: The Sampford Ghost of 1810
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2. QUALITY MONITORING OFFICER - PLACEMAKING TEAM, ASHFORD BOROUGH COUNCIL
Location: Ashford, Kent
The job: "We are looking for organised individual with good time management skills to support the placemaking team Leader on a number of specific projects that relate to the wider placemaking/ quality development agenda including development plan policy formulation, the creation of supporting planning documents, alongside researching new areas of innovation in areas such as climate change and urban design.
"You will also be required to analyse approved plans relating to components of good placemaking (buildings, spaces around buildings, streets public realm , open space areas, and key landscaping features) and monitor how successfully they are being implemented on key development sites as they are constructed."
Fun fact: A reclusive bricklayer who may well have been the son of Richard III (pictured), the last Plantagenet king of England, is buried in the grounds of Eastwell Place near Ashford.
The story goes that Richard of Eastwell (or Richard Plantaganet) did not know who his parents were but was fostered by a Latin schoolmaster until the age of 15 or 16. Four times a year he was visited by a mysterious man who was responsible for his upkeep. At the age of 16, the man took him to Richard III's encampment just before the Battle of Bosworth Field. Here, the king promised to acknowledge Richard as his son if he won the battle. Of course, he lost both the battle and his life and the course of English history changed with the result.
So, too, the course of Richard's life. Fleeing to London, he became apprentice to a bricklayer. As an elderly man working at Eastwell Place, he was taken under the wing of the house's owner, Sir Thomas Moyle, who allowed him to live out his days on the estate. A building called Plantaganet Cottage still stands on the site of the small home Richard built for himself at Eastwell.
Is it true? Possibly. Indeed, there is some speculation that Richard may have been Richard, Duke of York, one of the famous 'princes in the tower' captured and imprisoned by Richard III. But we'll never really know.
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3. PLANNING SERVICES MANAGER (DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT), HUNTINGDONSHIRE DISTRICT COUNCIL
Location: Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire
The job: "Our development management service is a key team for us. Reporting directly into the chief operating officer this post will be vital in taking this team forward. You’ll be leading a substantial planning team and supported by team leaders drawn from each of the key service areas within development management, planning enforcement, conservation & environment and planning administration.
"You’ll also play your part in the wider corporate landscape – working in projects and initiatives that will make a difference to our customers and your colleagues. This role will work with strategic growth, directors, politicians and other teams who are working to make Huntingdonshire a great place to live, work and invest in.
"The role offers you the chance to get hands on in planning matters for the benefit of our district. You’d expect that, but it will also stretch you in developing our team. A future that shows increased productivity, better career pathways for our talented team and genuine innovation will be things that excite and challenge you."
Fun fact: Oliver Cromwell - the Lord Protectorate of England during its brief period as a republic - was born in Huntingdon in 1599 and attended the local grammar school (as did Samuel Pepys a generation later).
We won't go into the details of Cromwell's life as an MP, his religious zeal, participation in the English Civil War, his defeat and beheading of King Charles I, his founding of an English republic and all that jazz - because, well, it's all waiting to be discovered at the Cromwell Museum in Huntingdon.
Cromwell is, without doubt, the town's most famous son (Pepys was only educated there). The museum dedicated to his memory is located in the former grammar school where he received his education and contains a variety of artefacts, paintings and prints related to The Protectorate (the republic) and to Cromwell's life. Among them are famous portraits, items of clothing and even an apothecary's cabinet owned by Cromwell.
Rumours about the puritanical Cromwell banning fun may be exaggerated, but that shouldn't stop us enjoying this snippet of Horrible Histories, should it?
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4. DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT TEAM LEADER, ISLE OF ANGLESEY COUNTY COUNCIL
Location: Isle of Anglesey (Ynys Mon)
The job: "The purpose of this job is to lead and manage the performance and staff of the team responsible for the whole range of development control functions to ensure its objective and targets are achieved as part of an efficient, effective and resilient planning function.
"Key tasks will include:
- To take responsibility for the management and continuous improvement and performance of development control staff
- Identify opportunities to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and resilience of the service
- Take responsibility for their own caseload and that of their team in dealing with and formulating recommendations on planning and related applications
- Representing the Development Management Section in respect of planning appeals at any hearing or inquiry
- Liaising with and advising on planning related matters with other services of the authority, external bodies and members of the public."
Fun fact: Every two years, representatives of Ynys Mon across a variety of sports take part in the Island Games, a kind of Olympics for islands that are non-sovereign territories of European nations (plus Gibraltar).
The Games began as a one-off in 1985 to celebrate the Isle of Man's International Year of Sport, but were so popular they have continued every two years since.
Nowadays, up to 22 islands (plus Gibraltar) take part in a dozen sports taken from a list of 27 that include archery, athletics, football, cycling, bowls, sailing (of course), triathlon and volleyball. Participants come from as far afield as the Falklands and St Helena, but also include competitors from Gotland, Rhodes and Menorca.
The most successful island per head of population is Sark, which by 2015 had earned 30 medals - one for every 20 residents. Ynys Mon is moderately successful, with 124 medals for its 69,000 population. Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Jersey, however, are the big winners, with more than a thousand medals each.
Two of the current International Island Games Association members - Bermuda and the Cayman Islands - have competed in their own right at the Olympics. A number send teams to the Commonwealth Games. Ynys Mon is set to host the Games for the first time in 2027, after Guernsey in 2023 and Orkney in 2025.
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5. PRINCIPAL PLANNING OFFICER, ROYAL BOROUGH OF WINDSOR AND MAIDENHEAD
Location: Windsor, Berkshire
The job: "We are currently recruiting for principal planners to join our area development management teams. The role would deal with a wide range of applications, pre-application enquiries and appeals, although focusing on major applications.
"We are focused on delivering the best outcomes for the borough and our customers, alongside making timely decisions. Liaising with customers, including councillors, will be a key part of the role. Principal planners regularly present applications to our committees.
"Principal planners would be the lead officer for our most significant schemes and deputise for the team leaders including report checking and mentoring for junior staff."
Fun fact: Windsor can claim to be home to what is reputed to be England's shortest street: Queen Charlotte Street, which is a mere 15.8 metres long - or short, whichever way you look at it.
Really little more than a passageway off the High Street, it's also home to another curiosity: The Crooked House of Windsor. Like a Russian doll, this, in turn, is said to have its own oddity inside: a secret passage allegedly built for illicit liaisons between King Charles II and his mistress Nell Gwynn.
Quite how a street is distinguished from a road or passage is not entirely clear, although Wikipedia defines a street broadly as "a public thoroughfare in the built environment".
In any case, Queen Charlotte Street is said not to be the UK's shortest street. That accolade belongs to Ebenezer Place in Wick, Caithness, which measures a tad over two metres and contains just a single building - which suggests it may not actually meet the definition of a street. Hm.
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