Cairngorms National Park
Cairngorms National Park
The Cairngorms National Park is an iconic landscape, home to over 18,000 people and attracting 1.92 million visitors every year, and it is our duty, along with many others, to look after and enhance this special place for the people of Scotland. Along with delivering our two statutory duties of planning and outdoor access, we provide a number of services to support the Park’s businesses, land owners and local communities.

Current vacancies

Top job! Head of Planning and Chief Planning Officer

  • Full time
  • £54,172 – £65,000
  • On site: Grantown on Spey
  • Closing 18th June 2024

The Cairngorms National Park is an incredible place to live and work. The UK’s largest national park is home to over 25% of the UK’s rare and endangered species, four of the UK’s top five highest mountains, the largest Caledonian forest and some of Scotland’s most iconic rivers. It is a truly unique landscape and this is an exceptional role for the right person.

Alongside its spectacular nature, the National Park is home to 18,000 residents and over 1,000 businesses, alongside the nearly two million people who visit the area each year. This role is a great opportunity for the right person to ensure that the Park Authority’s key services deliver for residents, businesses and visitors alike.

The Cairngorms National Park Authority is a fantastic place to work and offers great opportunities to grow your career. The Park Authority is listed in the UK’s top 100 best not- for-profit companies to work for. We’re dedicated to both this amazing place and our employees.

We now have an exciting opportunity for a Head of Planning and Chief Planning Officer to join the CNPA and lead, motivate and manage the staff team and financial resources to deliver an outstanding Planning Service across the National Park.

The Role:

As the Head of Planning and Chief Planning Officer you will lead, motivate and manage the staff team and financial resources to deliver an outstanding Planning Service across the National Park. This includes delivery of development planning, development management and enforcement functions in the context of the national planning improvement framework.

You will deliver the Authority’s Corporate and Operational Plans with specific emphasis on planning and delivering national planning priorities, championing place, renewables, built heritage, transport, design, flooding, community development and economic development.

You will also be the Park Authority’s Chief Planning Officer, playing a key role in the leadership, vision and strategic direction of the Park Authority, raising the profile of planning in authority decisions. You will be an ambassador for the planning profession and advise the Park Authority about the carrying out of the functions conferred on them. As the Chief Planning Officer for the Park Authority, the notice period for the role is 3 months, to help ensure continuity of coverage in this statutory role.

So, if you are keen to be our Head of Planning and Chief Planning Officer and you can display the skills and experience listed here, this is the role you’ve been waiting for.


CNPA is an inclusive organisation and we welcome applications from everyone irrespective of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion and belief, pregnancy and maternity, relationship status, disability, age and social class. We particularly welcome applications from individuals from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, disabled and LGBTQ+ communities, as they are under-represented in the environment sector.

We are Disability Confident committed employer, if you are an applicant with disabilities who meets the essential requirements of the post, we will interview you. In all circumstances CNPA appoints on merit-based evidence the applicant supplies in meeting the essential criteria for the post.

CNPA Benefits:

  • Civil service pension scheme – some of the benefits include:
    • member contribution rates among the lowest in the public sector
    • tax relief on your contributions
    • generous employer contributions
    • a secure, inflation-proof pension for life, with no investment uncertainty
    • the option of tax-free lump sum on retirement
    • potential access to ill health and injury benefits if you become too ill to work
    • life assurance cover
    • benefits for loved ones and dependants
    • options to increase your pension
    • keeping all your pensions in one place by transferring in a pension you have built up elsewhere
    • support from our trusted charity partners
  • 25 days annual leave, increasing to 30 days with service, plus Public Holidays
  • Professional development
  • Flexible working
  • Cycle to work scheme
  • Use of pool cars

About You:

To be considered as our Head of Planning and Chief Planning Officer, you’ll need:

  • Experience of managing staff, and demonstrable ability to lead, motivate and develop a staff team
  • A degree in Town and Country Planning or equivalent and RTPI membership.
  • Significant experience of developing planning policy and preparation of Local Development Plans and/or development management.
  • The capacity to work autonomously of frequent senior management supervision.
  • Demonstrate ability to make sound judgements on the handling of controversial and sensitive planning issues.
  • Articulate, with excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Full UK driving licence or access to a driver if disability prevents driving.
  • Permission to work in the UK.