Head of Planning Services, Oxford City Council, Work from home/Oxford, £87,089- £98,148 per annum

Oxford offers planners and place makers a unique, exciting and dynamic professional landscape. It is a beautiful city, with an incredible history, rich cultural heritage, and a truly international brand and reputation. Oxford is also a modern and vibrant city, a renowned global centre for innovation, enterprise and research excellence in many of today’s leading technologies, and home to two universities including the University of Oxford, rated as one of the best universities in the world.

It means Oxford’s importance to the national economy cannot be underestimated, not least due to the current global turbulence, and as we recover from the impact of the global pandemic and plan for our future.

In Oxford we have many assets and levers of growth at our disposal, and in an increasingly competitive environment we are looking to maximise and innovatively build on these. We have ambitious plans to expand and make best use of our infrastructure and transport links with significant investment planned in housing, infrastructure, and economic growth.

We have a significant development pipeline, including the expansion of the city centre and station area around Oxford’s West End for both new homes, lab and office space, large scale housing opportunities in Redbridge and Blackbird Leys, the expansion of both the science and the business park, and major plans for development across both our universities and health trusts.

However, it is evident that Oxford’s economic vitality does not bring benefits to all our residents. We are committed to tackling inequality by focusing investment on improving the quality of life in the less affluent parts of the city. Bringing different communities together is also crucial for the future of our city and we have recently invested extensively in community buildings, sports, and leisure services, providing strong focal points for the social fabric of our city.

Oxford City Council is an ambitious authority, and we are making significant strides to take advantage of the potential investment and growth in the local economy. The scale of major schemes taking place in Oxford is sizeable and complex, especially in housing, commercial and infrastructure space.

We have ambitious plans to build around 2000 new homes through our wholly owned housing company. We also have an ambitious capital programme to deliver new offices, and further major improvements to community and leisure facilities across the city.


We have made good headway recently, but challenges remain, and turning our aspirations into action is where you come in.

The Role

It is no understatement to say that this is one of the most critical appointments that Oxford City Council will make as Oxford prepares for a post Covid-19 and post EU landscape.

To turn our plans into reality we are seeking an exceptional planning professional to lead our planning service who shares our ambition and passion. This is a role which will shape and deliver the future direction and economic prosperity for all our communities in what is truly a global city.

As the chief planning officer for Oxford you will personally take the lead in delivering the Council’s strategic priorities in relation to place shaping and our critical role in supporting inclusive economic growth. You will also be directly responsible for creating a dynamic, proactive and solution-driven planning and building control service which meets the needs of citizens, the development community and other stakeholders, and ensuring the continued delivery of the council’s spatial and design policies and our Local Development Plan.

With huge demand and constrained space, the role of the Head of Planning Services will be to balance several competing interests for the overall good of the city, including between jobs and homes, and between growth and environmental sustainability in all its facets.

We are keen to attract the best talent from the public and private sectors. Where you have previously worked is not critical-it could have been within local government, government departments or arms-length bodies, a developer or within a consultancy or advisory setting.

What is critical is that you can look at the wider picture and think strategically to anticipate housing, development, transport and infrastructure needs, and then utilise planning policy tools to drive and achieve development outcomes. It is anticipated that you will have a depth of experience, but what is infinitely more important is what you have learnt from your experience and where you see yourself headed in the future.

Oxford City Council is absolutely committed to having a workforce that reflects the diverse local community it serves. Currently we are under-represented across the organisation in senior leadership roles by people from BAME backgrounds and females, and applicants from both under-represented groups will be welcomed to apply for this role.

If you see your future career ambitions reflected in our vision, we will very much welcome your application.

For an informal and confidential discussion, please speak with our advisors at Berwick Partners:

Recruiting Head of Planning - YouTube

Marek Dobrowolski

Associate Partner

D:        0121 654 5975

M:        07793529576



Ruth Hernandez Turner


D:        +44 121 654 5936



Closing date for applications: Friday 26th August

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