Planning Application Screening Volunteers

Planning Application Screening Volunteers

Ongoing role
At a glance


  • Rural and town planning
  • Research (qualitative / quantitative)


anywhere within Surrey, GU1 1JP
Mainly at home
Travel limit? within the County of Surrey


Either in or out of office hours Estimate of time needed:
0-5 hours / month
How often you'll need to work, and for how long will depend on how many planning applications are submitted in a given period. Please be flexible.

You will help us to protect Surrey’s beautiful countryside by identifying potentially harmful planning applications which sacrifice green space unnecessarily.

What will you be doing?

We are looking for volunteers to join our Planning Team. Together we work to monitor and respond to planning applications that may be particularly damaging to the environment and the open countryside in Surrey (including the Green Belt and the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). 

Our Planning Application Screening volunteers provide the essential first trawl and preliminary research on potentially harmful development proposals. Those that meet certain criteria are then referred to one of our senior planners for further research and preparation of CPRE Surrey’s response. 

As one of our Planning Team volunteers, you will do a weekly screen of planning applications in one of Surrey’s eleven districts (Elmbridge, Epsom & Ewell, Guildford, Mole Valley, Reigate & Banstead, Runnymede, Spelthorne, Surrey Heath, Tandridge, Waverley, Woking).  At the moment we particularly need individuals to focus on Guildford, Runnymede, Spelthorne and Elmbridge, although assisting our current Planning Team with monitoring applications in other districts would also be helpful.  You will do this from your home, online, and it typically takes about 1-2 hours per week. You can perform this role at any time that suits you. Training and guidance for new volunteers will be provided.

What are we looking for?

Previous exposure to the town planning system may be helpful. You should have good written and verbal communication skills, the ability to make sense of complex information, and up-to-date computer skills - the internet, email and Microsoft Word. You should also be detail-oriented, well-organised and reliable. You should live in or near Surrey and be passionate about Surrey’s countryside and green spaces.

What difference will you make?

Our Planning team is comprised of several qualified professional Planners and others who are enthusiastic amateurs, who all work together to protect Surrey’s countryside from inappropriate development. In this role you will gain the satisfaction of having made a real difference in ensuring the beautiful countryside will remain for everyone to enjoy both now and in the future.

What's in it for the volunteer?

Some of our existing volunteers have been with us for many years. Why do they volunteer with us and what might you get out of it? 

  • be part of a well-respected environmental charity
  • have the satisfaction of having made a positive difference to Surrey’s green spaces, for everyone’s benefit
  • improve your knowledge of the planning system and enhance your CV
  • share your passion for the Surrey countryside and Green Belt
  • be part of a small and friendly team and form new connections with others
  • be thanked and recognised for your contribution

Before you apply

If you are interested in this role but would like further information, please make an application through Reach and we'll be happy to answer your questions at the next stage.
Due to the nature of the role, we are unable to say how many hours you will need to work in any given week or month as this will be dependant on the number of planning applications submitted. We are looking for people who can be flexible with their time and the work will be shared amongst a group of key volunteers.

  • Campaigning
  • Environment
  • We are the Surrey Branch of CPRE - the countryside charity. We campaign to protect the rural environment and for people to have access to the countryside and understand the benefits of retaining ...