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Town Planner

A town planner manages the development of cities, towns and countryside.

The Role

  • A town planner (also known as a planning officer or planning consultant) manages the development of cities, towns and countryside
  • 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
  • Town planners often become chartered members of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI)


  • Newly trained Planners can earn in the region of £20,000 - £35,000
  • Trained with experience Town Planners can earn in the region of £35,000 - £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.

Qualifications and 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 Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI)

Progression Opportunities

Explore the progression opportunities below

Next Steps


Check out the latest Town Planner vacancies: 

As these are external websites, the number of job vacancies related to your preferred job role may vary. 

Check daily to see new opportunities as they are posted!

Find out more

For information on the Town Planner role in Scotland please visit the Skills Development Scotland website My World of Work.

Take our Ultimate Quiz to find out which role is right for you.

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