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Job description: Planning director

Written by: Jennifer Jackson
Published on: 12 Nov 2018

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What does a planning director do? Find out about the typical responsibilities, hours, salary and career opportunities.

Planning Director

With growing demand for ever more housing, new transport connections and exceptional growth in industry and infrastructure, town planning is becoming an increasingly important role. As a planning director you are a respected expert performing at the top of the profession.

With the required accreditation and experience you will manage planning submissions and consents for major building projects, and you will excel at client facing business development. With a good salary package on offer the right candidate has good prospects for high rewards.

Browse planning director jobs on Planning Jobs

The day-to-day

Responsibilities will vary according to organisation and sector but may include a combination of:

  • Building existing client relationships and generating new business.
  • Managing client expectations.
  • Project managing a mix of planning submissions and appeals.
  • Preparing tender responses.
  • Performing strategic planning research and policy development including assessments of development potential.
  • Making site inspections and assessing merits of proposals.
  • Giving guidance to engineers/architects on the production of drawings and supplemental planning information in relation to planning submissions.
  • Providing strategic project management input of the planning project including financial management.
  • Keeping abreast of relevant legislation and latest planning laws.
  • Expanding networks and creating relationships with key stakeholders including local authorities.
  • Providing senior leadership across the business.
  • Building the planning team and motivating, developing and managing their performance.
  • Maintaining continual professional development in accordance with the requirements of your professional institute.
  • Management of databases for and assistance with public consultation.

Key skills

  • Exemplary planning skills including a deep understanding of the planning consent process.
  • Client facing skills with the ability to present and communicate at senior levels and across a range of stakeholders.
  • Keen knowledge and expertise of planning practice legislation across England and Wales.
  • Outstanding project management skills coupled with timeliness and accuracy.
  • Excellent report writing with a natural ability to explain and discuss planning issues for a varied audience.
  • Business development skills with a track record of creating new pipelines.
  • A talent for line management and team leadership with the ability to mentor and develop junior colleagues.
  • Ability to prioritise workloads and juggle competing demands.
  • Strong networking skills with the ability to build contacts across the industry.
  • Skilled in planning software and data systems.
  • Good interpersonal skills and a team player.


  • Chartered membership of The Royal Town Planning Institute or The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
  • Minimum degree qualification in town planning or related discipline.
  • Full and clean driving licence may be required.

Relevant experience

  • At least five years' proven planning experience of large, scale infrastructure projects and town planning.
  • Track record of leading a planning team.
  • Extensive experience of the planning process from preparation, submission to consent and appeal.
  • Seasoned leader with management experience of directing and developing a team.
  • Evidence of previous report writing and making recommendations on major planning applications.
  • Design appreciation and a flair for accuracy and creativity.
  • Experienced in professional good practice.


Standard hours are Monday-Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm. There may be a requirement to work irregular hours to fit around particular needs or to respond to planning requests that require urgent attention.


Salaries are dependent upon experience, but a typical salary range is £55,000 - £100,000 per annum plus benefits.

A planning director's perspective

Q & A with Paul Jobson, planning director at DLP Consultants...

What do you enjoy about your current job?

I really enjoy the variety of leading a planning team, from client development, developing our staff and working on interesting and challenging projects.

Where do you see your own career/industry heading for new planning directors?

The demand for experienced planners is high, so at DLP Planning we look to nurture and promote talent internally, so there are opportunities for new planning directors with the right skills, drive and ethos.

Any tips for an experienced town planner looking to progress into a planning director role?

For me it’s about being personable, communicating well and having sufficient knowledge to think on your feet in a large variety of situations.

A recruiter’s perspective:

"The planning sector is experiencing a rapid period of progression and innovation, with strong planning directors being needed now more than ever. With a diverse range of developments being constructed on a national scale, this is a brilliant time for ambitious, confident town planners who want to shape the areas they live in to make the step up to director.”

- Angeline Jones, town planning consultant, Penguin Recruitment

Career opportunities

Next steps may include:

Penguin Recruitment is currently recruiting for a range of roles including:

To discuss a number of exciting planning director opportunities across the UK get in touch with Penguin Recruitment on 01792 957 382.

Browse all the latest planning jobs from Penguin Recruitment