Dorset Council: Senior Conservation and Design Officer/Conservation and Design Officer

£25,927 – £38,553 (depending on grade and experience)
Full time/part time, permanent
Ref: 61045411

Dorset is a beautiful and iconic area, with historic market towns and miles of stunning coast. But it is also a place of growth and innovation, with a population of 375,000 and an economy worth over £7 billion. To serve this unique area, a new unitary council was established in 2019. Bold and ambitious, with a One Team approach, we are taking Dorset into the future – and our Planning team is taking centre stage. The Conservation team is a specialist team sitting within the wider planning team.

Are you an experienced Conservation professional with a passion for the historic environment and preserving our heritage?

Due to current high workloads and vacancies, we are looking for new team members to join us in our Conservation and Design Team at Dorset Council. Posts are permanent.

With over 12500 Listed Building and 188 Conservation Areas, Dorset Council is a largely rural county with a diverse landscape and long history. Over half of the county is designated as an Area of outstanding Natural Beauty, and three quarters of the coastline is part of the Jurassic Coast Natural World Heritage site.

As the home of Thomas Hardy, the iconic Gold Hill, and the Cerne Abbas Giant, Dorset is a fascinating place to work.

Come and join our friendly dedicated Team and experience the beauty of Dorset every day in your job.

What you can expect to be doing:

You will be working with a supportive and enthusiastic team of Conservation Officers. We are seeking qualified candidates with qualifications and experience who will be responsible for assessing and negotiating applications for Grade I, Grade II* and Grade II listed buildings and Conservation Areas at pre-application and application stage across the Dorset Council area.

You will be playing an active role in development management both in the assessment and determination of Listed Building Consent applications, and in providing consultation responses to planning applications affecting heritage assets. The Senior Officer will also be expected to deputise for the team leader when required and provide expert advice on more complex planning applications and assist with training up less experienced officers.

You will also have the opportunity to review and update Conservation Area Appraisals, address the Buildings at Risk Register, and progress enforcement cases. You will contribute to the development of guidance notes and Supplementary Planning Documents, and take part in planning committees, appeal hearings and inquiries.

We work flexible hours and support agile working, including working from home where this fits with work demands.

Applications from those wishing to work part-time as well as full-time are welcome. You will be expected to undertake continuing professional development.

About you:

You will have an appropriate qualification in Town and Country Planning, Building Conservation, or a related discipline. Membership (or eligibility for membership) of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) is necessary.

You will possess good communication skills (written and spoken) and the ability to respond confidently in a variety of situations. You will be able to write reports and policy documents and give presentations to committees, appeals and other groups. You will be skilled and experienced at assessing development proposals and their impacts on heritage assets and at providing technical and design advice to Listed Building occupiers and those in Conservation Areas. Experience working with large estates and challenging stakeholders is desirable.

Additional information:

We are looking to appoint two Conservation Officers with several years’ experience; one at grade 9-10 and a Senior Conservation Officer at grade 11.

You will be required to work across the Dorset Council area and carry out site visits and appraisals, so a full driving licence is required. You will therefore need to live within reasonable travel distance of one of the Council’s offices (Dorchester, Wareham, Wimborne).

This post requires significant travel. You must have a vehicle (or transport we deem suitable) available for use as needed.

You will be confident and diplomatic in dealing with customers and stakeholders. You will need to demonstrate a proven ability to make competent decisions on matters relating to listed buildings and Conservation Areas and have a good understanding of relevant policy.

Whatever stage of your career you are at, you will also need a gift for clear communication and affinity with our values: Responsibility, Respect, Recognition and Collaboration.

With a team that lives by these principles, we have a friendly workplace where you’ll be free to learn and thrive. Employee benefits include a local government pension, flexible working and continual learning and development. With beautiful beaches and countryside on your doorstep too, a career in Dorset comes with everything you need.

Further details and APPLY

Closing date: 4 September 2022
Interviews to take place Thursday 15 September 2022.

Contact details:

For an informal discussion about the role, please contact Kathryn Melhuish, Team Leader for Conservation and Design, on 01202 228775 or email

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