Ryedale District Council is looking for new planners to help shape its exciting new developments. We spoke to Gary Housden, head of planning, for his insider insight into the roles.
Nestled amongst some of the most spectacular countryside in North Yorkshire, Ryedale is a small district council that is entirely committed to putting its communities at the heart of everything it does. Having recently undergone a significant council-wide restructure, it’s a great time to join the organisation as a planning professional.
Ryedale is currently looking for a senior planner and graduate / planning assistant to help shape exciting new developments such as a new Food Enterprise Zone and Agri Business Park, as well as major housing projects.
Benefits of working at Ryedale include:
- Free car parking
- Family friendly policies
- Flexitime and homeworking
- Leisure / health benefits
- Generous annual leave
- Local government pension scheme
- Excellent learning and development opportunities
Gary Housden, head of planning, Ryedale District Council
What is it like working at Ryedale?
Staff at Ryedale are friendly and supportive of each other. We are deeply proud of what we achieve as a small district council and entirely committed to putting our communities at the heart of what we do.
The specialist place team is a very busy team, determined to provide an excellent service for customers whilst tackling everything with pace, passion and good humour. We were delighted that in a recent peer review our planning service was recognised as 'exemplar'.
It is a great time to join us. We have recently undergone a significant council-wide restructure. We have reorganised how we deliver services and streamlined our processes. You will become integral to developing our new ways of working and identifying the further improvements we can make into the future.
Ryedale is also a great place to be. The area has some of the most spectacular countryside in North Yorkshire, including the North York Moors National Park and Howardian Hills AONB - home to the famous Castle Howard. We are based in Malton, a small market town and Yorkshire's 'food capital' - less than an hour’s drive from the coastal town of Scarborough and the historic city of York.
On top of this, we offer flexible working, family friendly policies, a generous holiday entitlement and an excellent local government pension scheme.
What roles are you currently recruiting for and what do they involve?
We are looking for a senior planner (senior specialist place) and a planning assistant (specialist place). The senior role will have a varied development management caseload including major applications, enforcement and appeal cases. Although the role primarily involves development management, you will be involved in supporting strategic planning and policy development when this is needed. You will need to represent the council at committees and at other meetings, as well as at appeals and local plan examinations.
The assistant role will play an important part in maintaining and enhancing our performance on a range of planning and pre-applications and will also support planning policy development and review.
What kind of people are you looking for?
We need people who enjoy working collaboratively with others and are willing, able and proactive in sharing their knowledge with others. The senior specialist will be someone who can support and mentor less experienced members of the team. As part of our new operating model, we also expect all specialists at Ryedale to have a role in helping to 'upskill' colleagues in our front facing customer service teams. As small teams covering a range of functions we also need people who don't mind being flexible - stepping in to help others when this is needed.
We see development and growth in the area as a positive, even though we are a very rural district. We are delivery and customer focused and we are looking for positive and creative planners that share this mindset. We also need people who enjoy feeling empowered to take responsibility and to make decisions.
Although we have recently restructured, we know that we will continue to face challenges that we will need to respond and adapt to. We need people who can see the benefits of change and who can respond well to it.
Due to the variety of posts available we are looking for people with a range of technical skills, knowledge and experience. You will have an eye for good development with an ability to support customers and negotiate schemes to ensure improved outcomes.
What exciting projects are you working on?
Our market towns, Malton & Norton; Pickering; Kirkbymoorside and Helmsley are all experiencing growth with many major housing and commercial development sites planned. High profile development projects include the development of a new Food Enterprise Zone and Agri Business Park at Malton; the redevelopment of the Malton Livestock Market Site for a major town centre commercial scheme, together with significant new investment in the bio-science facility at Sand Hutton near York. Candidates will help to shape and deliver all of these developments.
We also actively work with our partners on a range of infrastructure projects that will help to support further investment and growth in Ryedale, our tourist industry and wider economy. Major projects currently include improvements to the A64 trunk road and the Trans-Pennine (Scarborough - Manchester and Liverpool) rail service.
What career development opportunities do you offer?
We run corporate training events throughout the year. This is set to expand and develop as we implement new ways of working that are designed to improve our IT systems and support the devolution of decision making across the organisation.
We support our planners in attending RTPI Conference series events and we always endeavour to address identified training and development needs.
What are your top tips for applying for a job at Ryedale District Council?
At Ryedale we use a behaviour-based assessment process designed around our 5 'PROUD' behaviours. These are behaviours and values that all staff at Ryedale have developed and which we all share.
P: We are passionate about our communities and the services we deliver
R: We value every individual, respecting people for who they are and for their unique knowledge, skills and experience, recognising that they are part of our strength
O: We are open and honest in our relationships and in our communications
U: We will work as one organisation
D: We are willing to make brave decisions, to take on big challenges and see them through
At interview, candidates will not be asked specific questions about technical skills, knowledge or experience required for the advertised posts. The job application form is your only opportunity to present this information!
The assessment process itself will consist of questions and a task - normally a presentation or role play depending on the position applied for, that relates to the 5 PROUD behaviours. These are unique to us so a top tip would be to read our PROUD behavioural framework and the supporting information which is designed to help you provide good examples in response to questions. We also use the 'STARR' (Situation, Task, Action, Result, Review) technique for the behavioural assessment.