What do planners do?

A planner giving advice to a member of the public at a planning surgery in Exmoor
A planning surgery where planners give advice to the public before they start building work.

Planners help preserve the special qualities and characteristics of national parks whilst allowing the rural communities to develop and grow.

There are two types of planning work;

  • Working with communities to draw up long term plans and policies on new housing, roads and services and which areas should be protected from any new building. These policies address issues like renewable energy, transport, affordable housing, new building techniques as well as traditional materials and building designs.
  • Advise people who want to do work on existing buildings, change the use of a building or build something new, on how their work can be done to fit in with the local planning policies. The planners then receive applications for work and have to decide if they should be allowed to go ahead or not. If work is carried out without permission, planners work with the people involved to make sure that the work hasn’t gone against the local policies.

For both of these roles, planners have to spend some time out in the national park, meeting people and looking at the areas and buildings involved.

What qualifications and experience do you need?

A thatched cottage public house in the New Forest National Park

To become a chartered town planner, you need a degree in planning accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). If you already have a degree in a related subject, such as geography, architecture, geology, or ecology, you can take a postgraduate planning qualification.

Planners need to keep informed about changes in building techniques, new planning laws and regulations and be keen on working with local people. They also need to be very good at communicating to explain planning polices to people in writing and face to face.

You may be able to get some work experience with a local government planning department to see what the job involves.

Further information

The links below will take you to other websites for more information.