Planning researcher

This article was published in 2007, in Newsletter 70.

At the moment there are a great many developments, some very large, being submitted for planning permission. Cambridge Cycling Campaign would like to study and comment upon them, in order to prevent the construction of yet more areas like Arbury Park where provision for cyclists is very poor. But this is an enormous workload. In order to reduce the burden on Committee members we are considering whether, if we can raise the funds, we should find someone to do some of the work for us on a paid consultancy basis. Of course, this depends both upon raising the funds – we have identified one possible source — and on finding someone suitable to do the work.

The main tasks would be:

  • Studying specific planning applications, as soon as they appear;
  • Preparing brief summaries of each planning application, for the Campaign;
  • Highlighting issues on which Cambridge Cycling Campaign might choose to comment;
  • Drafting and amending submissions;
  • Attending meetings on behalf of the Campaign and reporting back to the Committee;
  • Keeping track of the progress of planning applications and reporting to the Committee.

Would anyone one be interested in doing this work if we could raise the funds? Or does anyone know anyone who might be? They would need the following skills and experience and we would go through a formal tendering or recruitment procedure.

Skills required:

  • Understanding of the planning system
  • Knowledge of, or willingness to learn, what is in existing key planning documents for Cambridgeshire (Structure Plan, Local Plans, Planning Policy Guidance etc.);
  • Knowledge of the context for planning and transportation in the region and of the Cambridge area;
  • Knowledge, and experience, of provision for cyclists, both locally and, preferably, elsewhere (so we can learn from successful planning in other places);
  • Good research skills, with the ability to understand complex planning documents and maps;
  • Excellent communication skills, with the ability to provide clear, concise and timely reports;
  • Good time management and the ability to work to, and meet, tight timelines.

We look forward to hearing from people who can help us in this way with good scrutiny of planning applications and assist us in being much more proactive in engaging developers.

Monica Frisch