What is it like to work at...Horsham District Council?

Written by: Jennifer Jackson
Published on: 18 Oct 2017

Horsham logo

Want to work in a dynamic environment, pushing boundaries to be the best? Read on for insider insight into working for Horsham District Council.

Horsham District Council in West Sussex is responsible for the delivery of over 130 different public services. The council is currently recruiting for a range of planning roles including a major applications team leader, a planning officer (compliance), a senior planning officer (policy) and a senior conservation officer

We spoke to Emma Parkes, head of development at the council, to find out more about the culture of the organisation and what kind of people they’re looking for.

Emma Parkes

Emma Parkes, head of development, Horsham District Council

Tell us more about Horsham District Council and the work you do

Some of our key priorities include planning for a successful local economy with high levels of employment, delivering excellent value, and working together to support the life of living, working communities. 

The services we provide include household waste collection and recycling, street cleaning, car parks and on-street parking, environmental health, managing local parks and open spaces and providing local arts, culture, leisure and sporting activities and facilities. 

The planning department plays an integral role in supporting these operations. It is a high profile service both politically and with our residents.

What roles are you currently recruiting for and what do they involve?

We are currently recruiting for the following roles:

Major applications team leaderthis role will be leading a team delivering complex major development schemes – housing, employment and retail development, as well as development in town/village centres and rural areas. You will also have the opportunity to lead on large scale strategic sites, building relationships with developers and local interest groups.

Planning officer (Compliance)based in the compliance team, this role will manage a caseload of compliance matters associated with householder, new housing, listed buildings, commercial and other types of small and major developments.

Senior planning officer (Policy) based in the policy team, this role will be key to the preparation of our local plan review, which is just beginning, as well as other key policy documents.

Senior conservation officer (planning specialists) based in the planning specialists team, this role will be key to providing advice to colleagues in policy and development management as well as the planning compliance team and to progressing work on conservation area appraisals.

What kind of people are you looking for?

The posts offer a range of opportunities for town planners within all areas of the planning department, including major applications, planning policy, development management, enforcement and conservation.  

Applicants need to have some existing planning experience and background and this may be the perfect opportunity to take the next step in advancing your career.  We are looking for people who can demonstrate that they are flexible, forward thinking and have a can-do attitude in any of our roles.

Why would someone want to work for Horsham District Council?

We have the best of all worlds – attractive and vibrant towns and villages, beautiful countryside, but we are also a short distance away from the south coast, London, and Gatwick airport on our doorstep.  

The district of Horsham covers over 205 square miles in West Sussex and is home to around 136,000 people. It is the second largest local authority in West Sussex and is a much sought-after place to both live and do business, with educational attainment amongst the highest and unemployment and crime amongst the lowest in the country. 

Horsham District Council operates from modern, open plan offices, including an onsite restaurant, in the centre of Horsham. The offices adjoin the beautiful Horsham Park with its tennis courts, a trim trail and extensive open space with a lake and mature trees.  

The railway station is less than five minutes’ walk away as is Horsham town centre with its many shops, cafés and restaurants.  For the more active, the nearby Pavilions In The Park offers a range of gym and pool activities, for which employees get discounted corporate membership rates, and there is a theatre and cinema just across the road.

What exciting projects are you working on?

Within the planning team we’re running a huge range of exciting projects. We are currently at the final stage of negotiating a planning permission for 2750 houses, a business park, a railway station, a secondary school and other ancillary uses.  

The major applications team will lead on all reserved matters coming forward and the compliance team will be ensuring the development comes forward as permitted.  The policy team is just about to start our local plan review, providing an excellent opportunity to help shape the future of the district.  

A key challenge will be to ensure that we can maintain our vibrant and thriving communities whilst meeting the pressure for new housing.  We also have a number of other projects that include the building of a new £12m leisure centre at Broadbridge Heath, a new vision for Horsham Town Centre, regeneration schemes and large strategic sites for development.

Horsham exterior view

An artist's impression of The Bridge - the new £12m leisure centre being built at Broadbridge Heath - due to open in Summer 2018

What opportunities for training and development are there?

Horsham is committed to developing and improving the skill set of our staff. We offer a wide range of training and development opportunities from bespoke in-house courses, to seminars, learning groups and external courses. There are opportunities for development for career progression with internal secondment across planning disciplines and external qualification training.

What tips would you offer applicants?

Be prepared to think creatively and bring examples of best practice you have been involved with that can be further polished and enhanced. If in doubt, give us a call to find out more.

Sum up what it’s like to work for Horsham District Council

We are a friendly and welcoming authority. We work collaboratively across all areas of the council and we have opportunities to get involved in a range of corporate projects, which will help develop your wider skill set.  Our variety of work and learning opportunities lead to a dynamic environment and an authority that is pushing the boundaries to be the best at what we do.

Apply for a planning job at Horsham District Council