Skip to content

Planning volunteer

We need volunteers to scrutinise the lists of planning applications to our four local authorities, and help with site visits and support us with our letters and responses.

We really need research. Much of this can be done online and with reference to our existing records, but in some cases we’ll need to contact individuals, initiate or renew dialogue with local groups and/or activists, and find out what’s happening locally. Occasionally, site visits may be needed, but don’t worry if you’re not able to travel.

Read more here about what one of our past Planning Volunteers (Rebecca) got up to, and what she got out of her role with CPRE Peak District and South Yorkshire.

We cover the Peak District, South Yorkshire and North East Derbyshire, including the landscapes around Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield

Activities involve:
  • Investigating planning applications which have a significant impact upon the countryside and helping us to influence their outcome
  • Visiting the local planning offices to look at plans and record details
  • Reviewing plans, applications and other consultations on the internet
  • Visiting sites and recording details
  • Sharing the information, and your thoughts, with CPRE Planning team

As your skills develop you will be encouraged and supported to:

  • Draft letters to the local planning authority
  • Research planning policy and best practice
  • Liaise with parish councils, district councils and other conservation bodies
  • Assist in the preparation of responses to wider consultations, including planning appeals
  • Contribute to our Planning Team/Policy Committee and assist CPRE in planning research.

This role does not require any previous experience with planning, as training and guidance will be provided.

What we need from you:

You will be home-based, carrying out activities around your other commitments. We keep in regular contact via phone and/or email to discuss progress and to provide support. You would also be welcome in our Sheffield based office if you prefer.

This is an opportunity to be involved in a vital aspect of our work. You will gain satisfaction from investigating local concerns, improve your knowledge of the planning system, meet local people and feel part of a friendly and passionate group.

Ideally, we hope that you can offer us most of the qualities described below:

  • A strong interest in the countryside
  • An understanding of the planning system (or be willing to learn)
  • An interest in investigative work, with an eye for detail
  • A desire to share your knowledge with others in the branch
  • Good communication skills – written and verbal
  • Can attend meetings or, when not possible, can provide updates for meetings
  • Computer literate – the internet, e-mail and MS Word or equivalent

As a guide, we anticipate this voluntary role will take 1-2 hours per week.

What’s in it for you?

CPRE volunteers are motivated to help for a range of reasons, but normally they have a strong interest in protecting and enhancing the environment, as well as encouraging people to enjoy the countryside and all it has to offer.

Benefits include:

  • A great opportunity to use your existing experience and to develop new skills
  • Working with others to make a difference both locally and nationally
  • The potential to meet and discuss issues with a wide range of like-minded people
  • Opportunities to attend local and national CPRE activities, events and workshops

The role is voluntary although we will pay all out-of-pocket expenses with prior agreement, in line with our Volunteers Policy.

For further information or to apply for the role, please get in touch with us on