Development Control Officer

Anyone wishing to build on or develop land must first gain planning permission from the council. Development control officers play a crucial role in this process dealing with planning applications and providing advice and guidance to the public and developers about making the most of the land and its resources, whilst also taking into consideration the environment.

Work Environment
Development control officers spend some of their time based in council offices and some of their time outdoors travelling around visiting proposed building sites.
Development control officers usually work a standard 37-hour week.

Daily Activities
Development control officers carry out a wide variety of tasks, which may include:

  • assessing planning applications, often in consultation with colleagues, and evaluating the outcomes;
  • making site visits to investigate developments or proposed developments and check that planning restrictions are fully understood and complied with;
  • providing professional advice to colleagues within the council, elected members and others such as archaeologists on the impact of planning applications on archaeological and heritage sites;
  • liaising with developers, architects, contractors, consultants and the public to ensure they are well-informed of council planning policies and procedures;
  • advising outside experts - such as the National Trust, CADW and voluntary bodies - on regulations and recommendations for conservation and development;
  • working with others to prepare schemes for the conservation of the area's historic buildings and the countryside.

Skills & Interests
Development control officers need:

  • an appreciation of the countryside, environment, and ancient and historic monuments, and how they fit with modern development and public need;
  • an eye for detail and an ability to pick out important facts;
  • an appreciation of what looks right and design awareness within the context of new developments;
  • good communication skills - able to explain complex points to a wide range of people;
  • to be able to think through an issue carefully and make well-considered decisions;
  • good organisational skills and an ability to prioritise work.

Entry Requirements
A diploma or a degree in planning recognised by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). There are several routes to qualification, including:

  • a first degree in planning accredited by the RTPI;
  • a postgraduate qualification accredited by the RTPI - entry to these courses is usually with a first degree related to planning, such as geography, geology, economics or architecture;
  • a distance learning degree accredited by the RTPI.

Senior posts will also require several years' relevant post-qualification experience in planning. A valid driving licence may be required and, preferably, access to a vehicle.

Future Prospects & Opportunities
There are progression routes to more senior and managerial roles within planning and environmental services. There may be opportunities on gaining relevant qualifications to move into other related areas such as building control or surveying.

Further Information & Services
Creative and Cultural Industries Council
Institute of Historic Building Conservation
Royal Town Planning Institute
The Heritage Alliance  

You may find further information about this area of work through Careers Wales ( or in your local library, careers office or school careers library.

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