Tewkesbury Borough Council is the main growth engine for the county of Gloucestershire, including parts of the Cotswolds and Severn Vale. They are looking for a group manager to run their development services team - a corporate role with real scope to shape and develop communities and places.
We spoke to Julie Wood, group manager for development services, Tewkesbury Council, to find out more about the role. She told us about how the council is ‘punching above its weight’ with exciting joint partnerships, a pioneering Place Programme, a new leisure centre for employees and more.
Opportunity to influence the future growth of Tewkesbury
The latest independent peer review of Tewkesbury Borough Council concluded that it is ‘punching above its weight’, has a ‘strong reputation with its citizens and partners’ and ‘a real sense of ambition and motivation to continue its improvement journey.’
The new group manager of development services will have huge influence over the future growth of the borough. The successful candidate will manage the key areas of planning policy, development management, economic development and regeneration (including tourism), community development and health and well-being.
Wood comments: “We are looking for somebody with a planning background who also has wider experience in regeneration and working with communities around place shaping. Someone who is able to balance competing and conflicting pressures. Enthusiasm and good communication are essential, as is the ability to be flexible in your approach.”
Be at the forefront of partnership working
Tewkesbury Borough Council is at the forefront of partnership working. It is currently working together with the councils of Cheltenham and Gloucester on a Joint Core Strategy (JCS) - a strategic planning initiative that has attracted the government’s interest.
As Wood comments: “We pride ourselves on our excellent relationships with our partners. We are trail blazing with our emerging Joint Core Strategy, which recently resulted in a visit from the department of communities and local government (DCLG) wanting to know more about our strategic allocations and proposed delivery timescales.
Officers from the three councils have co-located at various key times to ensure that the job gets done. “Officers have really benefited from this joint approach and have adapted positively”, says Wood. “We are currently part way through our Examination in Public, which is a great achievement. It’s a very exciting time to join the council.”
Pioneer a new Place Programme
Tewkesbury Borough Council is key to the delivery of the Local Enterprise Partnership’s M5 Growth Corridor, as much of the growth opportunity lies within the borough. The council is also pioneering a new Place Programme, looking holistically at Tewkesbury borough’s places and communities. This requires the team to work very closely with their communities, together with other public sector bodies such as the police, and health and adult social care services, spending as much time as possible out and about.
Other projects include town centre regeneration - working with communities to improve the physical environment and the vitality and viability of Tewkesbury town. The council is also working on a range of neighbourhood plans, as well as a government bid for Gloucestershire to be considered as one of the first rural areas to get devolved powers.
Develop your career in planning
In addition to ambitious projects you will be challenged with, there are also opportunities for ongoing training and career development.
“It is very important that our staff have opportunities to train and network as much as possible”, says Wood. “We like to encourage staff to build their careers and to have as wide an experience as possible.”
Work in a vibrant public sector hub
The council office provides a fun and varied working environment. It is a public sector hub, housing the police, department of work and pensions (DWP) and some county services, such as adult social care, all in the same building.
Woods adds: “A new leisure centre is due to be completed next summer which will be located on council grounds, next to the office, so not far to go for that lunchtime swim!”
The future is flexible
Wood looks forward to a flexible future for the planning industry: “I think a more flexible approach will be needed in the industry, especially with such major projects in progress at the same time. All staff will need to adapt to new pressures and learn new skills. Different ways of working will be needed with more joint services development - all great opportunities for the future!”
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