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Town Planner

If you are interested in development, regeneration and sustainability, this could be the career for you.

Town planners, often known as planners, are involved in the management and development of cities, towns, villages and the countryside. They aim to balance the conflicting demands of housing, industrial development, agriculture, recreation, transport and the environment, in order to allow appropriate development to take place. They are involved in the use of land and buildings through preparation of policies and guidance and in the control and management of development , working in the public (local/ central government) or private sectors.

Regeneration within towns and cities forms an important part of planning and the often competing views of local businesses and communities are taken into account. In rural areas, planners must ensure that development is sustainable and that the right balance of development is achieved to preserve the countryside. Planners also aim to make a positive contribution towards tackling the effects of climate change.

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What The Job Involves

What are the key responsibilities for this position?

As a planner you will cover a broad area of work using many different skills, and choose whether to specialise in a particular area, such as protecting the historical environment or urban design, or to work across a variety of areas.

Key Responsibilities

drafting of policies and guidance on land use, layout and design
consideration of applications for planning permission
making decisions/ recommendations to decision-makers regarding such applications
advising private sector clients on gaining consents and on policy
develop creative and original planning solutions to satisfy all parties
consult with stakeholders and other interested parties
negotiate with developers and other professionals, such as surveyors and architects
assess planning applications and monitor outcomes as necessary
research and design planning policies to guide development
research and analyse data to help inform strategic developments, such as increases in affordable housing provision
design layouts and draft design statements
use information technology systems such as CAD (computer-aided design) or GIS (geographical information systems)
attend and present at planning boards, appeals and public inquiries
keep up to date with legislation associated with land use
promote environmental education and awareness
help disadvantaged groups express their opinions about planning issues and proposals, and visit sites to assess the effects of proposals on people or the environment
schedule available resources to meet planning targets
write reports, often of a complex nature, which make recommendations or explain detailed regulations. These reports may be for a range of groups, from borough councils to regional assemblies, or members of the public

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Entry Requirements

Graduates from any degree subject can get into town planning although specific degrees in planning are available
To become a chartered town planner (which is advisable) you will need to complete a RTPI accredited degree, either at undergraduate or postgraduate level
If you have not taken an RTPI-accredited undergraduate degree, you can still qualify for chartered status by completing an accredited postgraduate qualification
If you have an HND you could consider entry at planning technician level. With relevant experience, this route can lead to a professional qualification as a technical member of the RTPI

What key skills and personal attributes help with this role?

Skills & Attributes

Ability to take balanced holistic view
An appreciation of design and space
strong report-writing, communication and organisational skills for effective liaison with colleagues, developers, architects and possibly members of the public
creative thinking, problem-solving and analytical skills to come up with imaginative solutions to planning problems
flexibility, initiative and innovation in order to be responsive to changes and to come up with regeneration solutions
the ability to work as part of a team and to manage an individual caseload
project-management skills
an aptitude for listening to, and negotiating with, a diverse range of people;
the ability to work with accuracy and attention to detail, in order to ensure planning details are exact.
Understanding of the broad spectrum of influences on the built environment

How much can you expect to earn and what are the career progression options?

The following figures are intended as a guideline only.

Salary & Progression

graduate or assistant planners: £18,000 - £25,000
Experienced planners: £26,000 - £45,000
Senior planners such as Chief planning officers, heads of departments and directors: £45,000 - £100,000
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Case Study

London's Great Estates

Town Planning

This film examines London's unique character as a 'city of villages', which has emerged from the piecemeal development of self-contained estates under single ownership. In addition to their historic legacy - dating from the 17th century and beyond - many 'Great Estates' are still active, providing sustainable methods of management and long-term investment, which are in large part being replicated across a series of new ‘estates’ - significant areas of London under single ownership including King’s Cross, Canary Wharf and Covent Garden.

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