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Job description: Planning manager

Written by: Jennifer Jackson
Published on: 12 Dec 2018

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

Planning manager

Urban planning managers play a vital role in delivering hands-on advice and management of everything involved in developing housing and new towns from inception through to completion. As a planning manager, you will liaise with planning officials and advise the business on planning policy and regulation, ensuring that compliance is met. You will have a keen eye on budgetary constraints and play a key role in project managing all new developments. 

The day-to-day

The day-to-day role of a planning manager typically involves:

  • Overseeing planning development plans and applications.

  • Advising stakeholders on planning policy and regulations.

  • Providing counsel and representation at key planning meetings and appeal hearings.

  • Managing planning compliance.

  • Informing and updating budgets associated with new developments.

  • Offering hands-on advice to management and producing reports for senior staff.

  • Training and managing junior staff.

Key responsibilities

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

  • Preparing town planning and new housing proposals in line with company strategy.

  • Obtaining planning consent for proposals.

  • Liaising with the planning team on the development of new site proposals.

  • Keeping up to date with planning regulations, policy and legislation.

  • Preparing supporting documentation for proposals including key data related to projects: land use, occupancy rates, infrastructure support, demographic and costing facts and figures.

  • Attending and presenting at proposal meetings, planning consent boards, appeal panels and public inquiries.

  • Preparing budgets and overseeing the financial administration of planning projects.

  • Communicating with key stakeholders involved in the project including external and government agencies.

  • Performing surveys and field studies where required.

  • Maintaining continual professional development in accordance with the requirements of the professional institute.

Key skills

  • Outstanding research skills together with an in-depth knowledge of town planning processes.

  • Analytical ability to understand and interpret data for a range of audiences.

  • Exemplary administration skills with an ability to make sound and appropriate judgements at each stage of the planning process.

  • Solid project management skills with an ability to be flexible when required.

  • Strong numeracy skills with some experience of managing complex budgets.

  • An ability to prioritise workloads and juggle competing demands.

  • Good listening skills with an aptitude for superior written and verbal communications.

  • Faultless planning skills including deep understanding of the planning consent process.

  • Client facing competencies 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.

  • Problem solving flair with creative skillfulness.

  • Experienced in using 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

  • Five to 10 years’ proven planning experience in town and urban planning.

  • Extensive experience of the planning process from preparation and submission to consent and appeal.

  • Evidence of previous report writing and making recommendations on major planning applications.

  • Analytical track record for using and translating data for proposal planning purposes.

  • Experienced in planning laws and related legislation.

  • Project management know-how with previous experience of taking planning projects through the stages from formation to finalisation.

  • Skillful in planning and urban design software computer programmes.

  • Experienced in professional good practice.


Standard hours will be Monday-Friday, 9am to 5pm. 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 £40,000 - £60,000 per annum plus benefits.

A planning professional’s perspective

"What I most enjoy about my job is the diversity of projects that I work on, and the day-to-day change. I really enjoy the feeling of creating something (ie new houses). 


"My advice for up and coming planning managers is to keep up-to-date with ever changing planning policies and legislation so that you don’t get left behind."

- Stuart Phillips, land and planning director, Persimmon Homes, West Wales

Career Opportunities

Next steps may include:

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