Project Officer - Planning

Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol
£24,671 to £27,820 per annum, plus generous ethical pension (8% from employer, 6% from employee)
11 Jun 2018
09 Jul 2018
Local & Community Empowerment - Project Officer
Contract Type
Full Time
Job Level

About us

CSE is one of the UK’s leading energy charities. We have a 39-year track record of helping people and organisations change the way they think and act on energy (see

We strive to develop effective responses to the threat of climate change and the misery of cold homes, both at a national level and more locally around Somerset and the West of England.

CSE has around 50 staff and is based in modern, friendly offices in the centre of Bristol.

We work with a wide range of partners and funders including the Big Lottery Fund, BEIS, Ofgem, Consumer Focus, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA), Western Power Distribution, over 20 local authorities and housing associations and a range of different charitable trusts and foundations. Our 2016-17 Annual Report and Accounts can be found here

We are now looking to recruit a chartered town Planner with specific knowledge of Town Planning. Candidates will already have an RTPI accredited degree or postgraduate qualification in Town Planning and at least 3 years post-qualification experience, ideally in a plan making function.  We are especially keen to hear from applicants with a good understanding of the neighbourhood planning process.

About the role

We are recruiting for a Project Officer. The main focus of this role is to assist in delivering projects within the Local & Community Empowerment team with a focus on neighbourhood and local planning. The role may also need to provide support to a number of other social research and community energy support programmes and support our engagement with government regarding sustainable energy and planning issues.


While the team has a broad focus on community engagement and support for community-led energy activities, we also occupy a niche role delivering support to neighbourhood planning groups and local authorities to embed best practice in the development of planning policy. The LACE team employs two qualified and experienced planners in project management roles.


The successful applicant is likely to be asked to give advice and support by phone and email, including the critique and redrafting of draft policy documents. The role also includes running public consultation meetings and training sessions, the nature of which can require occasional evening and weekend working and which could be located anywhere in England. The role will also involve some administrative tasks such as data inputting and general admin based project support.

The successful candidate will work on planning-related projects for the majority of their time, but applicants should be aware all CSE staff are required to support a wider range of projects where required, and that some non-planning work is likely to form part of the role.

Examples of current and recent projects are:

Sustainable Neighbourhood Planning Support

This three-year programme offers free support to neighbourhood planning groups across England to embed climate change policies in their plans.  The support ranges from light-touch advice by phone and email to the delivery of community consultation events, policy drafting, plan-checking and stakeholder engagement. (See

Low-Carbon Local Planning Policy Accelerator

Funded by the BEIS, and delivered in partnership with the TCPA, this project will deliver training to local authorities and other providers of neighbourhood planning support services in England.  We will also be working with a range of stakeholders to develop and test new, ambitious energy policies for inclusion in local plans and supplementary planning documents.

Future Energy Landscapes

In partnership with the Campaign to Protect Rural England, CSE developed, trialled and launched a new tool that lets communities take the lead in planning their own bottom up renewable energy strategies.  The ‘Future Energy Landscapes’ approach shows that putting local people at the centre of energy planning can result in ambitious vision and targets. (See

Building capacity for energy resilience in low-income communities

CSE is developing a new approach to energy resilience in deprived communities that draws on the best available practical know-how and theoretical understanding from across the community energy sector and wider field of community development.

Bright Green Future

Bright Green Future is an exciting programme for teenagers aged 14-17 who want to create a more sustainable future. It is a unique opportunity for young people to learn about sustainability and environmental decision making, and includes an introduction to the planning system by the TCPA. (See

Person specification

Essential skills and experience

  • A fully-chartered RTPI planner, or a planning-degree plus at least three years’ post qualification work experience, ideally in a plan making function.
  • Evidence of having supported the development of planning policy at either local authority or neighbourhood planning level, from drafting to adoption.
  • Commitment and enthusiasm for public engagement and community consultation work.
  • Strong communication skills, both written and verbal and the ability to present to a wide range of audiences.
  • Competent using Microsoft Office - Word, Excel and Outlook - on a regular basis.
  • Strong administrative skills and a willingness to undertake routine administrative tasks with high levels of accuracy and reliability.
  • Experience of updating and maintaining electronic information systems.
  • Excellent time management and organisational skills.
  • Ability to work flexibly and manage competing priorities.
  • Self-motivation and initiative, with the ability to work unsupervised and as part of a team.

Desirable skills and experience

  • An understanding of sustainable energy, fuel poverty, climate change and a commitment to CSE’s work.
  • A basic understanding of larger-scale renewable energy systems – solar, biomass, wind, AD and hydro.
  • An interest in and appreciation of the role the planning system can play in adapting to and mitigating the impacts of climate change.
  • An understanding of energy efficiency measures and technologies for domestic properties and community-scale buildings (such as village halls).
  • Promotional or PR experience, for example in marketing support services or events.

Pay and conditions

This is a permanent contract. It is a full-time post (37.5 hours per week) though a reduction to a minimum of 30 hours would be considered for the right candidate. It is based at CSE’s offices in Bristol. CSE operates a flexitime system with core hours of 10:00 to 16:00, and some occasional evening and weekend work may be required.


The salary range for the full-time role will be £24,671 to £27,820, paid monthly in arrears. You will be entitled to 25 days paid holiday (plus statutory holidays).  There is a six-month probationary period for the role, and a suitably qualified and experienced candidate should expect to find themselves near the middle of the scale on successful completion of the probationary period.

CSE operates a generous ethical company pension scheme (8% from employer, 6% from employee) which the post-holder will be automatically enrolled to in line with current legislation.


All CSE staff receive training and are given study time to complete the NEA City & Guilds 6176 in Energy Awareness.

Salary and leave entitlements will be pro-rata for part-time appointments.

We will pay fees and expenses for attendance on relevant training courses, and any expenses incurred in the course of work will be reimbursed in accordance with CSE’s standard staff expenses policy.

You will need a full driving licence (car) and a willingness to drive to meetings and events as required (due to the remote nature of some venues etc). Car ownership is not required.

Application procedure

Applications should be made on the application form, available at Your application should demonstrate how your skills and experience relate to the person specification (above). CVs and supporting letters will not be considered as part of the application process. The front sheet of the application form containing personal information will be removed prior to the details of the form being read by the selection panel.

Please email your completed application form to

The closing date for applications is Monday 9th of July at 12:00 (noon). If you have not heard from CSE by Monday 16th of July please assume that your application has been unsuccessful.

Interviews will take place on Tuesday 24th of July at our office in Bristol.