Job type

Town planner

£18k - £80k

Typical salary

38 – 40

Hours per week

Town planners help shape the way towns and cities develop, and balance the demands on land with the needs of the community.

More info

  • Plan how villages, towns and cities are developed, regenerated and laid out
  • You'll need to have excellent negotiation skills and an appreciation for the environment and how people and spaces interact
  • You'll normally work for a local authority, but could also become a freelance consultant

As a town planner you'll help shape the way villages, towns and cities are organised and the buildings, developments and transport links within them.


You'll use methods like surveying, geographical information systems (GIS), and computer-aided design (CAD) to draw up plans and make recommendations for land use. You could work in a wide variety of areas, like transport, urban design or conservation. 

Depending on your employer your work could include:

  • Assessing the effect of new rail links or roads
  • Planning for houses and renewable energy generation sites like wind farms
  • Redesigning urban spaces and developing parks, woodlands and waterways in a sustainable way
  • Conserving old buildings and archaeological sites
  • Developing local or national planning policies for government
  • Making decisions about planning applications
  • Advising the public, businesses and land developers on planning policies, rules and regulations
  • Making sure planning rules and regulations are carried out
  • Organising meetings to hear feedback from local people


You'll normally work during office hours but you may also need to attend events like public meetings in the evenings, and you'll need to travel to meetings and site visits.

You'll need

Town planners need excellent negotiation and presentation skills, good organisational and time management skills, excellent research and report writing skills, and IT skills.

You'll also need to gain qualification accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), like a degree in a relevant subject like planning, environment and development, city and regional planning, or urban planning and property development.

Or, you could do postgraduate qualification in planning if you have a degree in an unrelated subject.

Alternatively, you could qualify while working as a planning technician or other support staff. You'll need the backing of your employer and you'll combine practical experience with part-time or distance learning study towards an accredited planning qualification.

You'll find it useful to get as much work experience as possible. This will give you a better understanding of the career, and the contacts you make may help you to find paid work.

You can search for companies listed by the Royal Town Planning Institute or contact your local council to ask about opportunities.


With experience, you could apply for chartered town planner status, and then become a planner or senior planner. With at least 10 years' experience you could become a senior manager or planning consultant. 

Alternatively, you could work as a self-employed consultant or move into environmental management, urban regeneration, recreation management and property development.