Town planners prepare plans to shape the future of our towns, cities and rural areas. They prepare long-term plans, check new developments and advise government departments and local councillors.  Planning work is very varied, with projects ranging from a small house extension to an international airport. Some of their work is dealing with problems inherited from the past, such as outdated road systems while some involves forecasting future trends, such as housing needs.

In a small office, planners may do a wide range of work. In a large office they are more likely to specialise. The work can include visiting sites to assess the effects of development on the surroundings, collecting information and writing reports, analysing data and preparing policies, advising councillors and other decision-makers, presenting proposals at planning committees and public meetings and negotiating between different interest groups that will be affected by changes.

Urban planners should be committed to improving quality of life and the environment, be capable of presenting proposals and dealing with people, work well in a team, and have a strong interest in the environment.  Many work for local authorities and government departments. Others work for planning consultancies and large firms.

To qualify, you would need a degree in town and country planning or urban planning that has been accredited by The Royal Town Planning Institute, or a degree in a different subject followed by a postgraduate course in planning. You would also need at least two years' planning experience.

It is possible to progress to management or to move into related work, such as property development.

Planners should have mathematical ability, be able to communicate clearly, be commercially aware with an interest in business and finance and be interested in and have a good knowledge of construction.

Starting salaries can range from £18,000 to £25,000 and for those with more experience the salary can reach up to £55,000.

What does a Town Planner do?

  • Understanding population trends, to predict the demands that will be made on an area, whether urban or rural.

  • Working with other professionals, such as architects, landscape architects, civil engineers, construction managers and surveyors.

  • Liaising with the public and councillors, attending public meetings about planning issues, such as proposals for a new road or school.

  • Keeping up to date with knowledge of the legal issues associated with land use.

  • Making policies and implementing them.

  • Working both indoors and outdoors and presenting evidence at meetings.

  • Objectively analysing and evaluating other peoples' evidence.

  • Preparing reports and plans relating to a variety of projects – from house extensions to international airports.

Contact the Construction Division Team

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