ENews Issue - 29 June 2005

ENews - June 2005

TRA ENews is the monthly newsletter of Trevor Roberts Associates. It provides information about TRA generally, its staff and Associates, current and forthcoming events, new training courses and consultancy services etc.

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Redcar & Cleveland Council is the latest local authority to take delivery of an Online Development Control Procedure Guide developed by TRA. The Guide, which was handed over this month, is bespoke to the authority and its development was preceded by an in-depth review of all aspects of procedures, organisation and resources in the development control section. This particular assignment was undertaken by a TRA team led by Senior Associate, Vivien Green.

The Guide itself is a system rather than a fixed document, operating over a private internet site, which can be updated at any time by the authority's own staff. The Review element of the assignment is a vital part of the process and culminates in a written report with justified conclusions and key recommendations for change. These recommendations are extremely important and their implementation can have a significant impact on the quality, consistency and speed of development control performance, all of which are crucial concerns in the era of Planning Delivery Grant.

Click here for further information on this unique service. If you would like to explore things further please contact Penny O'Shea for a no-obligation discussion.


More than 80 people attended the latest in a series of Planning Law Updates organised by TRA in conjunction with PEBA (The Planning and Environment Bar Association).

The event, held in London earlier this month, focused on the use of planning obligations. Contributions from the varied panel of speakers provided a good mix of both theory and practical advice/guidance which was appreciated by those who took part and feedback on the event was positive.

Previous conferences in the series have focused on Gypsies and Travellers, PPG3, and Material Change of Use and we are hoping to organise more events in the future. Look out for details in ENews and on our website.


Trees and Development: future strategies is a brand new workshop running as part of the 2005 NATO programme organised by TRA. The workshop is presented by Chris Hudson, Forestry Officer with Macclesfield Borough Council and focuses on the key policy areas in the new planning legislation and provides practical guidance on how these can be applied when preparing Supplementary Planning Guidance and a rationale for retention of trees on development sites.

The workshop ran in London at the end of May and feedback from participants was excellent, in fact one particularly satisified participant gave the session 6 out of 5! The workshop is running again in York on 20 September and there are still some places available. Please contact Shelagh Pooley if you would like to reserve a place.


TRA has recently carried out a review of development control procedures in Mid Beds District Council. The review was more limited in scope than our usual reviews as it focused almost entirely on the mainstream processing of planning applications as carried out by the authority's Development Control and Administration sections and its Contact Centre. As in most authorities, the development control service in Mid Beds is facing an increasing workload and they were keen to explore areas where they might improve the efficiency of the service whilst still seeking to ensure quality outcomes. This particular assignment was carried out by a TRA team led by Trevor Roberts.

Although our more usual DC Review assignments are more extensive than this and are usually linked to the development of an Online Procedure Guide, we are able to undertake a variety of more limited reviews focusing on specific aspects of plannin g and development control. The sort of areas we can cover include:

  • organisation of planning services overall

  • development control support

  • receipt, registration and validation

  • consultation and notification

  • delegated and Committee reports - quality, structure and preparation

  • development control management and monitoring systems

  • management and staff resources

  • delegation schemes and their improvement

  • planning enforcement

  • appeals procedures

  • Committee procedures

  • quality of planning decisions

  • quality management systems

  • systems for assessment of development control quality

  • the customer service interface and its organisation.

  • A brochure providing further details will be available shortly but in the meantime if you are interested in any of the above please feel free to contact Penny O'Shea.

28/06/05 - 2005 ENFORCEMENT FORUM

The programme for this year's Enforcement Forum in Warrington is almost complete. The event will take place on Thursday 13 October and publicity details will be circulated shortly to our usual mailing contacts.

The theme for this year is making the most of the enforcement toolkit. Topics being covered include:

  • Zero tolerance and the use of the BCN

  • To stop or not to stop? Use of the Temporary Stop Notice

  • Default Action v Prosecution

  • Injunction v Notices

  • Implications of recent case law for planning enforcement

  • The Psychology of Enforcement
  • .

    The forum is suitable for everyone involved in the enforcement process - enforcement officers, legal and planning staff. It provides excellent CPD (accredited by the Law Society) and an opportunity to meet fellow practitioners and exchange views and experiences.

    The Forum is always very popular, with ma ny people attending every year. It has been a sell-out in recent years and early booking is strongly advised to avoid disappointment. It is possible to make provisional bookings now by contacting Shelagh Pooley. If you are not on our mailing list and would like to receive a copy of the leaflet once it is available please get in touch.

    The Forum will run from 10am to 4.30pm and places are £125.00 plus VAT.


TRA's recent Councillor training assignments have included sessions for new clients Derbyshire County Council and Darlington Borough Council, and return visits to Bassetlaw District Council, Cambridgeshire County Council, Hampshire County Council and Kerrier District Council.

Whilst our two main one-day workshops A Briefing on Planning for Councillors and The Role of Councillors in Planning: probity and propriety issues remain the most popular choices, we are also able to provide training on a variety of other topics. For example, we recently delivered two training sessions for Broadland District Council, one providing an update on changes to the planning system including recent/draft PPSs and the other focusing on Local Development Frameworks. Please see the Councillor training section of our website for details of the options available.

We are also able to provide half-day training sessions for Parish and Town Councillors and workshops have recently been held for East Lindsey District Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

If you would like more information on our Councillor training services or to arrange a training session please contact Sharon Collier.


Congratulations to the following students who have recently been awarded Certificates in Continuing Education (either in Planning Enforcement or in Management Concepts and Skills in Planning) from the University of Cambridge:

Planning Enforcement:

Paula Evans - Gwynedd Council

Bill Murray - Lake District National Park Authority

Serena Wearne - Restormel BC

Brian Morgan - Aylesbury Vale DC

Russell Gadbury - Blyth Valley BC (previously with Gateshead MBC)

Alison Twyford - Cambridge City Council

Lynne Thomas - Woking BC

Steve Olsen - Isle of Man Government.

Management Concepts and Skills in Planning:

Fiona Webb - Mid Beds DC

Jane Farquharson - Elmbridge BC.

Students put a lot of hard work and commitment into these courses. Being awarded the Certificate is a considerable achievement, s o well done to all of them!

Please click for further details of the Cambridge courses on Planning Enforcement and on Management Concepts and Skills in Planning.


Many of TRA's workshops are aimed at relatively new or less experienced development control staff, for whom training is particularly important. These workshops cover basic skills and procedures and offer practical training and advice in a small-group interactive format. All are run as part of our main inter-authority programmes and most can also be run on an in-house basis for individual authorities or groups of authorities.

A recent participant on several of these basic skills workshops, Michael Powell, a Planning Assistant with Alnwick DC, got in touch with us to say: "I would like to express my thanks for the way in which the workshops were presented and organised. The course presenters were clear and engaging, the atmosphere was always friendly, and I feel that I have learned a lot about the intricacies of the planning system!"

Workshop topics currently available include:

  • An Introduction to Development Contr ol

  • Permitted Development

  • Planning Conditions: a positive approach

  • Preparing Committee Reports and Appeal Statements: how to be both effective and efficient

  • Negotiation Concepts and Skills

  • The Basics of Planning Enforcement

  • Personal Effectiveness and Time Management

  • Preparing Written Representation Appeals

  • Appearing at Hearings.

  • If you are interested in the inter-authority events please see our programmes in England or Scotland. If you are interested in the possibility of arranging an in-house workshop please contact Sharon Collier for further details.


Congratulations and well done to Clare Munday (Thurrock Council), who recently completed a three year MA in Town Planning. Clare was awarded the Cambridge University Certificate in Continuing Education for Planning Enforcement in 2001. The work she completed for the certificated course helped her gain the necessary credits for entry onto the Town Planning course at post graduate level.

Russell Gadbury has recently moved from Gateshead MBC to take up an Enforcement Officer post with Blyth Valley BC. Russell recently received the Cambridge University Certificate for Planning Enforcement. Jonathan Lester has moved from Herefordshire Council to become an Enforcement Officer with the City of Worcester. Jonathan has so far completed two of the Madingley enforcement modules and is signed up to do a third later this year. We wish them both the best of luck in their new jobs.


Trevor Roberts Associates

1 Atlas House, St. Georges Square,

Bolton, BL1 2HB,

United Kingdom Tel: (01204) 385678 Fax: (01204) 386376 Email: mail@tra-ltd.co.uk Website: http://www.tra-ltd.co.uk/


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