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How to become a Town Planning Technician

town planning technician careers

What does a Town Planning Technician do?

Town planning support staff work for a number of agencies including local authorities, independent planning consultancies, government departments and private companies.

They assist in the planning application process and can be involved in a variety of duties such as:

Administrative work – preparation of literature for internal and external publications; compiling minutes of meetings; management of technical libraries, filing systems and databases; recording progress and outcomes of planning applications; retrieving information and data required by planners for a particular application; organising public meetings; frontline support work with the public, advising on application procedures and dealing with straightforward queries.

Enforcement work – liaising with individuals, organisations and developers to ensure compliance with any conditions attached to their planning applications. This may involve gathering information and data with a view to using it as evidence should disputes arise. The role also involves presenting reports on breaches to planning committees or, where necessary, to magistrates and judges. Tact and diplomacy are essential for this role.

Technical work – support staff may also work as planning technicians, assisting with the application process. This can include compiling data by attending public meetings or carrying out surveys, for example, traffic impact assessments; drawing up designs using computer-aided design (CAD) software; building and maintaining databases, holding information relating to applications; putting together presentations for committee meetings; advising on minor planning applications.

With experience, some supervisory duties may be coupled with the role.

What's the working environment like working as a Town Planning Technician?

Town planning support staff normally work office hours, Monday to Friday, with part-time and flexi-time arrangements becoming increasingly available.

Work is usually office-based but may involve accompanying town planners to site visits, meetings and conferences.

What does it take to become a Town Planning Technician?

To work in town planning support, you should:

  • have some knowledge of technical drawing, computer-aided design (CAD), desktop publishing or common office software
  • have some knowledge of local and national planning regulations
  • have good numeracy skills for data handling
  • be able to understand technical drawings and maps
  • have strong communication skills, verbally and in writing
  • be well organised
  • be able to deal calmly and objectively with clients
  • be able to work independently as well as part of a team
  • be accurate and methodical
  • have good administrative skills
  • have good customer care skills.

Town Planning Technician Career Opportunities

The majority of town planning support staff are employed by local authorities and consultancies. Some large firms such as house-builders, supermarkets and utility companies also employ support staff to assist in their planning departments.

Progression is normally to team leader roles or technician level. With further study, it may be possible to become a fully qualified town planner. See Town Planner profile.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Town Planning Technician that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Royal Town Planning Institute
41 Botolph Lane
Tel: 020 7929 9494

Royal Town Planning Institute in Scotland
57 Melville Street
Tel: 0131 226 1959

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Courses to help you become a Town Planning Technician