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A town planner manages the development of cities, towns and countryside. They make sure that the natural environment works well with the built environment to create sustainable communities.

Anthony - Senior Town Planner|4:20

Average salaries are in the region of £18,000.00 to £28,000.00. Salaries will vary depending on location / employer

Career Profile

A town planner (also known as a planning officer or planning consultant) manages the development of cities, towns and countryside. They make sure that the natural environment works well with the built environment to create sustainable communities.

Town planners can cover anything from transport, waste and environmental planning to urban design, regeneration and policy development. They look at things like the re-use of buildings, creating street improvements and managing traffic. They also take into account the local economy, renewable energy, climate change and the historic environment.

Often your career will start as an assistant planner or graduate planner (after completing a relevant degree course, such as Town Planning).  

What they do


A town planner is usually office based, with regular site visits. They spend their day consulting and negotiating, producing planning documents, managing a client portfolio and developing business relationships. 

Typical tasks include:

  • Assisting with the development of planning policy at a national, regional or local level including strategies which take account of transport, the local economy, jobs, green infrastructure, renewable energy, climate change and the historic environment
  • Reviewing and monitoring existing planning policy documents
  • Assisting with the preparation and implementation of transport policies, strategies and plans at national, regional or local level to create an efficient transport network
  • This could include cycle routes, rail and road routes and new airports or runways
  • Helping to ensure that areas are attractive, safe and pleasant to live, work in and visit and designing out features which create unattractive or unsafe areas
  • Helping to energise places that have become run-down while conserving historic buildings and making the most of the landscape
  • Helping to balance the needs of a growing population for more homes and more travel with the environmental impact and how we manage/ reduce waste
  • Helping to draft and review planning applications
  • Conducting appropriate research to inform planning applications
  • Assisting with consultations and negotiations with consultants and developers
  • Helping to enforce planning controls for developments
  • Helping to prepare policy or guidance documents on how to manage historic environments
  • Helping to advise on the refurbishment or re-use of listed buildings
  • Assisting with the provision of services to clients and contributing to projects
  • Producing planning submissions, appeals, design and access statements and other documents
  • Managing a client portfolio
  • Developing business relationships
  • Running public consultations

After several years and significant experience, you can progress from planner or senior planner to a principal planner (also known as a planning manager).  Town planners often become chartered members of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).

These construction professionals have an important role in balancing the housing and travel needs of a growing population with the impact on the planet, especially how we manage and reduce waste. They help us to adapt to climate change by protecting against flooding and making sure new buildings don’t waste energy.

Hours & Salary:

  • Assistant Planners can earn in the region of £15,000 - £32,000
  • Trained with experience Town Planners can earn in the region of £18,000 - £40,000
  • Principal Planners can earn more and have increased career options
  • Salaries typically range depending on location and level of responsibility.
  • Salaries and career options improve with chartered status.

You can also take our Personality Quiz to find out which construction career is right for you.

Learn more about construction careers – and some of the misconceptions surrounding them – with our Mythbusters

Case Study

Farzin - Senior Planner|3:28

Qualifications & Training

To become an assistant or graduate planner you may need a degree. There are various undergraduate degrees in planning that are accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). A full-time degree course takes four years, which includes a three-year BA degree and a one-year postgraduate diploma. Longer part-time courses are also available.

Senior planners start their career as an assistant/graduate planner and can become a senior planner after 2-3 years of experience. Progression may be quicker after becoming chartered with the RTPI.

Want to find out more?

Try our Matching Service for work experience opportunities in your local area, with new opportunities being added on a regular basis. 

Looking for a vacancy? 

Here are some construction vacancy websites you may find useful: 


Guardian Jobs

The number of job vacancies related to your preferred job role may vary daily, as these are external websites. Check regularly to see new opportunities as they are posted.

Career trends and forecasts

16,240 additional staff needed

The UK construction industry will need an additional 16,240 other construction professionals and technical staff (which includes town planners) to meet demand between 2017 - 2021, according to the latest Construction Skills Network research (LMI). 

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