David Atkinson, head of planning & regeneration at Harborough District Council, offers insider insight into the team culture and the planning job opportunities he’s recruiting for.
Harborough Innovation Centre
Tell me about Harborough District Council
Harborough District Council in the Midlands covers the towns of Market Harborough, Lutterworth and Broughton Astley. We have a workforce of around 200 high quality and committed staff all empowered to deliver services to our customers, be they residents, partners, businesses, councillors or other stakeholders.
What is the council’s vision?
Our vision for Harborough is to put the people at the heart of the place, through a healthy, inclusive and engaged community that is enterprising and vibrant. The council plays a major role by providing services to the community that are innovative, proactive and efficient. But our ambition doesn’t end there. We wish to grow our local economy and achieve our vision: ‘To secure a prosperous future for the people of Harborough District.'
What is Harborough like as a place to live and work?
Located at the heart of the attractive town centre of Market Harborough there is easy access to a wide range of shops, services and facilities, all within walking distance of the office. Market Harborough, Lutterworth and Broughton Astley all have excellent road links with major towns and cities across the Midlands. Market Harborough also has great rail links with the north to Leicester, Nottingham, Derby and Sheffield, and south to London St Pancras International for direct trains to continental Europe, including Paris, Brussels and Lille.
What roles are you recruiting for?
We currently have three great vacancies in our planning policy and major growth delivery teams:
- A senior planning officer for our development management team who will be able to deal with planning applications relating to complex development sites as well as supervising junior members of the team.
- A planning obligations officer for our strategic and local planning team, to co-ordinate planning obligations, monitor development progress across the district and work with ky partners to ensure the infrastructure is delivered on the ground.
- A planning policy officer / senior planning policy officer to work as part of a small team to prepare both strategic and local planning policy for the district.
Each role provides a unique opportunity for an energetic and exceptional person to play a leading role in delivering our ambitious plans for the district.
What is the team culture like?
Our employees describe us as being a ‘happy’, ‘friendly’, ‘supportive, ‘helpful’ and ‘loyal’ organisation. We’re proud to work in a newly refurbished, state-of-the-art, unique and airy office in the heart of the chic town of Market Harborough. We have a very strong planning team with positive working relationships at all levels of the organisation.
So, what kind of people make great planners in your team?
We want to recruit, retain and develop highly motivated and skilled people who are capable, committed, and enthusiastic. We need people who will strive to achieve the very best outcomes for the district and its people.
Across the roles we are looking for energetic and exceptional people who have the credibility, commitment and drive to deliver change and improvement across the planning service in a challenging, complex, highly rewarding and supportive environment in the heart of the country.
The Symington Building
What exciting projects will they be working on?
All the roles offer great opportunities to drive forward our ambitious strategic growth agenda as well as enabling the delivery of very recently adopted plans and strategies across the district, including:
- The Leicester and Leicestershire Strategic Growth Plan – a visionary document setting out how the district could grow and develop over the next 30 plus years.
- The Harborough Local Plan 2011 – 2031 – the main part of the statutory plan for the district enabling the delivery of new homes, jobs and infrastructure, whilst protecting the very high quality environment of the district.
- Strategies for Economic Development, Housing, Combatting Homelessness, Playing Pitches, Leisure and Sporting Facilities, Young People, and Culture, among others.
- Town Centre master plans for Market Harborough and Lutterworth.
Local Plan consultation
We are also looking to develop a strategy for the Historic Environment and Assets. The district contains a very rich mosaic of historic, cultural and iconic assets in over 60 conservation areas and scheduled monuments. There are even six registered parks and gardens.
You will also be encouraged to deploy your own initiative and put forward your own ideas for projects that you feel will enhance the lives of people in the district.
What are some of the top perks you offer?
On top of a competitive salary package and generous local government pension scheme, we offer flexible working options including a generous flexitime scheme, exceptional training and career development opportunities and competitive family-friendly policies. All new entrants to local government get a valuable annual leave entitlement of 26 days, rising to 31 days when you’ve completed five years of continuous local government service.
To sum up, why would someone want to work at Harborough District Council?
The council is at the forefront of enabling the delivery of smart services through digital channels as part of its modern, forward thinking culture. You will be coming into an environment that is at the cutting edge of service delivery. The right candidates can look forward to a high level of support, encouragement and nurturing from myself, the joint chief executives, colleagues and councillors.
If you have the same levels of ambition for the Harborough district that we have and want to apply your planning experience, knowledge, expertise and motivation to make a real lasting and positive difference, then at least one of our four opportunities could be ideal for you.
Apply now for a planning job at Harborough District Council
This article was updated with new roles on 27 November 2019.