Planning and Communities Officer

Job Description

About Us

The Local Highway Operations Service provides the operational management of Highways, Countryside and Public Rights of Way for West Sussex County Council (WSCC). Within this service, the Public Rights of Way Service manages the 4000km+ Public Rights of Way (PRoW) through a proactive 15-month inspection and maintenance regime to ensure the network is safe and serviceable for PRoW users. It manages customer and stakeholder requests and enquiries in relation to PRoW matters and provides technical and legal guidance on access and landowner matters. The service is supported by and works closely with volunteers and community groups to maintain and improve the network.

For more information about West Sussex County Council, please visit our website.

About The Job

Salary: £25,991 - £28,672 per annum
Working Pattern: Full time (37 hours per week)
Location: County Hall, Chichester

The role of the Planning and Communities Officer - Public Right of Way (PRoW) Team is to work within the planning process to ensure development in West Sussex does not have a negative impact on the PRoW network and to identify enhancements within this process where possible.

You will develop and utilise opportunities to work collaboratively with community groups to protect and improve the network. The pressure of development on the PRoW network has been increasing over a number of years and securing investment in the network to mitigate its increased use is a key aspect of the service.

For this role you will be expected to engage with the planning process to secure development funding where possible and develop schemes that can be delivered through this funding and mechanism.

Improvement schemes are often put forward by user groups and community groups, you will support those groups in the development of the schemes and the identification of funding to deliver them. This funding may be secured via the WSCC Capital Programme or through external funding streams.

Once secured, schemes will be delivered through the County Council's delivery programmes or by partners. Where communities or stakeholder groups want to work on the PRoW in their local area to improve the places in which they live, this role will help facilitate those works and ensure West Sussex PRoW standards are maintained.

You will undertake site meetings so must be able to travel around the county independently, often to remote locations.

Experience and Skills

We are looking for a dynamic "can do" individual, who is motivated to provide an excellent PRoW service. You will be a strong team player with a flexible approach. You will be an effective communicator, and be able to demonstrate excellent customer service skills, working with stakeholders to find creative solutions to problems presented with integrity, openness and awareness of others.

Key Skills:

  1. Ability to work in a customer-focused way, providing high quality service with high level of attention to detail, and gaining the trust of customers and community groups. Provide support to community groups who are seeking to contribute to the improvement and management of the PRoW network.
  2. Ability to anticipate and identify problems, plan solutions, make sound pragmatic problem-solving decisions and make best use of available resources.
  3. Ability to organise/prioritise work, co-ordinate a variety of tasks in a clear and logical way and meet agreed deadlines that minimise disruption to the business.
  4. Excellent proven written communication skills to write clear and concise responses to planning applications to secure investment in the West Sussex PRoW network, and preparation of work orders.
  5. Ability to develop and maintain credible relationships including gaining the trust and respect of other professionals in order to be able to secure and develop partnership working.

Qualifications and/or experience:

  • HND in relevant subject (e.g. Access Management/Planning) or equivalent qualification or experience.
  • Ability to travel independently to various meeting venues and other locations across the county.
  • Prior experience of working in Public Rights of Way or Planning.
  • Practical and technical experience of PRoW access management and/or Planning, either within the office or in the field, including implementation of legislation, delivery of improvement projects, and providing advice and practical assistance to landowners, the public and interested parties.
  • Sound and accurate IT knowledge in order to use a handheld data capturing device, plus all Microsoft Office Applications.
  • Demonstrable customer service & community engagement skills.
  • Proven successful experience of working as part of a team in order to effectively meet objectives within agreed/necessary timescales.

Rewards and Benefits

As an employer we recognise that it is our employees that are central to everything we do. We aim to create a supportive and dynamic working environment where employees can achieve their full potential, achieve a healthy work-life balance and are rewarded for the work they do.

Including 26 days annual leave, you will also have access to a full list of the benefits offered to you as a West Sussex County Council employee you can find them on our Rewards and Benefits page.

Further Information

The reference number for this role is EIE00718 .