Green fields highlighted by sunrays through heavy clouds from Curbar Edge

Planning for the future - your next role with us?

Hayfield in the Peak District

We're currently recruiting to and expanding our planning and development team

We have a range of roles across the wide variety of disciplines involved with taking care of the 555 square miles of the Peak District National Park.

If this sounds like you and you're ready for a new challenge, why not take a look at our short video or take 5 minutes with our head of planning below to see the difference you could make.

Current planning vacancies

5 minutes with... Brian Taylor - Head of Planning

How important could my role be to the protection of the National Park?

At its heart, every national park in the UK is bound by two key statutory purposes which underpin their designation as a protected landscape for the benefit of the nation. Planning and development in the Peak District is impacted by these statutory purposes, and your role in scrutinising applications for their impact on the landscape and historic character of the area is the foundation of what we do.

This places a real focus on design and place as we balance sustainable community and business needs with the special qualities which are carefully defined for the Peak District.

We are also the Minerals and Waste planning authority for the area so have a role to consider strategic planning matters, including using our policies and influence to champion the national interest in major infrastructure proposals, (road, rail, utilities etc). This also means we have an opportunity to shape what protection and recovery for nature can look like before, during and after these major projects reach the end of their lifespan.

How does working within the National Park differ from other planning departments?

Our offices are based in a lovely Bakewell setting a short lunchtime walk from the meandering river and town itself. A range of modern pool cars, including EVs are available for site visits and engagement and we work day-to-day with specialist heritage, landscape officers and ecologists and with other colleagues across sustainable travel, tourism and health. The Monsal Trail is also just minutes from your desk allowing for easy health and wellbeing time in your day.

Depending on your post, roles could find you travelling anywhere within the 555 square miles of hugely varied landscapes and communities that make up the Peak District. We’re aiming to grow our team of experienced and more recent planners to over 20 individuals all focused on delivering the best possible service for our applicants and partners.

What are some of the typical misconceptions about planning roles?

Some may think we don’t have many applications and that we refuse most of our cases. This really isn’t true. We receive a relatively high number (around 800 full applications per year and over 1200 of all types). In fact, we typically reach around 80% of cases as approved. This stems from strong and clear planning policies and a culture of working closely with applicants and agents to get good applications. We try really hard to maintain case levels which allow officers to focus on detail and quality which means we really do make a difference to the character and appearance of the area over time.

How have the National Park's planning teams made a difference?

There is a noticeable difference to the openness and undeveloped character of the landscape as people enter and pass through the National Park and we have also sought to direct really good quality development to the right places within our spatial strategy. In recent years, we have kept pushing at a higher order of sustainability so that despite the protections on the area, renewable energy is becoming a much more common sight. The skill of our landscape work also means that even where major development has taken place (such as in our minerals work) the landscape is restored to a natural character that makes it difficult to tell and highlights that well managed development can take place in a way that can harmonise with our landscape objectives.

Over the years it is our pioneering policy development that has enabled this level of careful stewardship. We are currently reviewing our Local Plan and want to push on again with positive policies for nature recovery, carbon reduction and sustainable design as we aim to address the ongoing need for affordable homes and sustainable business with nature and environment at their core.

What's the most satisfying part of the role for you and what would you say to anyone considering joining the team?

The journey to and from Bakewell (from Sheffield in my case) is a real pleasure with stunning scenery with amazing light and nature to behold. Once at the office we have a combined Planning office where all our teams come together to share experiences and support each other. Just down the corridors we have our own conservation officers, landscape architects, ecology and nature recovery teams to share experiences with and to help add real value to the landscape which people come to understand and enjoy.

Moreover, taking the chance to go on site visits to these nationally significant landscapes is a real privilege. Our EV pool cars are really starting to enhance the additional sustainability of our approach.

Why join the team now?

At a time of wider strain on public services, the Authority is looking to invest significantly in the planning service to strengthen our teams; both for experienced managers but ever more for new planners and apprenticeships. This means we can grow and develop our own talent. We are looking to redesign our service to enable greater career routes and staged management development with opportunities to get involved in a wider range of planning work across development management to policy, enforcement and minerals.

In doing this, we’ve recognised that our posts need to offer pay and packages similar to, or better than those of similar-sized organisations. That’s why we’ve worked hard to build roles that are attractive and mean we become a team that everyone is proud to be a part of.

We want to be able to celebrate great development and return to our successful pre-application advice service and our amazing design awards.

It could be your scheme that gets put forward for recognition, not only by industry peers but by the millions of people that enjoy the Peak District each and the thousands in our local communities. I look forward to welcoming new recruits to the team very soon!

WATCH – Brian talks about one of our most recent projects

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