ENews Issue - 30 September 2014

ENews - September 2014

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.

View our contact Information or subscription information.

In this issue:

  • Charnwood provides staff with Effective Witness training
  • New "Jobs Board" coming soon
  • Tiverton Town Council hosts in-house training for local Councillors
  • Neighbourhood Plans: independent examination service from TRA
  • Looking at Sustainability and Viability in today's economic climate!
  • The Planning Admin Network (PAN) - open to everyone with an interest in Town Planning




Charnwood provides staff with Effective Witness training

TRA was recently commissioned to deliver a one-day in-house workshop at Charnwood Borough Council. The workshop, Being an Effective Witness at Inquiry, was aimed at both planners and other professionals e.g. architects, landscape architects, arboriculturists, environmental health officers etc. who may be required to act as an expert witness at an Inquiry.

The aim of the session was to provide all of those likely to be called as experts with an understanding of what needs to be included in the written submissions and their oral evidence, with an emphasis on sound preparation to ensure effective performance on the day.

The course specifically covered:

  • a brief background to appeals and the statutory requirements
  • pre-inquiry statements and their content
  • Pre-Inquiry Meetings
  • preparing a Proof
  • Statements of Common Ground
  • responding to the appellant's evidence
  • co-ordinating evidence and preparing for the actual Inquiry
  • presenting evidence
  • responding to cross-examination and questions.

The workshop was delivered by TRA presenter, Lee Prebble, and feedback from the attendees was excellent:

  • As usual a very good training session, thanks!
  • It provided a very good overview of the issues.
  • It was a very thorough workshop, taking us through every stage of the Inquiry process and giving us a lot of tips and confidence in our role.
  • Met my expectations fully. I feel like I have been given a good grounding in understanding PI's and feel less intimidated by them.
  • A good comprehensive day, well delivered.
  • Very good information about the format and procedure of Public Inquiries.
  • Sensible advice was given about witness statements and statement of case preparation.
  • Very informative and will be useful in our roles.

If you would like more information on potentially running this workshop on an in-house basis, please contact Angela Holmes directly who will provide you with a detailed proposal including an outline programme.

The workshop is also running as part of our inter-authority programme in London on 21 October. Places are still available. You can view the details on our website.

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New "Jobs Board" coming soon

We are currently working on a brand new feature for the TRA website. The Jobs Board will offer employers the opportunity to advertise their job vacancies on our site, which currently receives around 1,000 visits per month. The Jobs Board will also be accessible to the almost 3,000 subscribers who receive TRA ENews every month.

Visitors to our website and ENews readers have a common interest in planning and development but they cover a wide range of roles, areas of activity and specialisms so we are hoping to attract a good variety of job types at different levels within organisations. For instance, as well as planning officers and those in management positions, we also have a large audience of technical and support staff working in planning and enforcement and jobs in these areas tend not to feature all that prominently on other job sites.

The service will be completely free for both employers and job-seekers. It will be fully managed by TRA's staff in Bolton to ensure that the whole process of advertising is as quick and hassle-free as possible.

We are still finalising the details but hope to be able to launch the Jobs Board in the next month or so. So, if you are looking for a new opportunity then keep an eye out for details of the launch in future issues of ENews and if you are intending to advertise a vacancy within the near future then please do give our new service a try.

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Tiverton Town Council hosts in-house training for local Councillors

TRA is the UK's leading provider of practitioner-presented training for Councillors involved in planning and has trained Councillors in more than 220 local authorities throughout the UK with an extensive track record of positive results.

You may not be aware that we are able to provide in-house training specifically aimed at Town & Parish Councillors and, since a recent promotion for reduced price training, we have received a number of enquiries and bookings.

The most recent session we delivered was on behalf of Tiverton Town Council who hosted the training for several neighbouring councils. Feedback from the workshop, delivered by TRA presenter, Jed Griffiths, was very encouraging:

  • Met my expectations in full, even exceeded them! Anthony Buczkowski, Cullompton Town Council
  • Very informative and an update on present planning regulations. Hilary Kirkcaldie, Axminster Town Council
  • It exceeded my expectations significantly. I feel massively better prepared now to consider and discuss these issues. Funny too! Robert Corden, Tiverton Town Council
  • I enjoyed following the case study through the process. Andrew Wyer, Tiverton Town Council
  • Very well put together and delivered. Very enjoyable. Tim Bridger, Tiverton Town Council
  • Good use of an interesting case study. Brian Watson, Axminster Town Council.

Many of our District council clients have been keen to organise this kind of training for their Town/Parish Councils with most of them running several repeat sessions. Some feedback from these sessions can be viewed on our website.

The most popular option is our Briefing on Planning for Town and Parish Councils. Aimed at Councillors and Clerks, it is designed to enable participants to make a more effective contribution to the Development Management process. It is a general Planning overview and the main aims of the session are:

  • to familiarise participants with the overall framework of the planning system and where development management fits into this
  • to explain the basic components of the development management process and where Parish/Town Councils fit in
  • to explain some key concepts of the development management decision-making process, to enable Parish/Town Councils to relate to these effectively
  • generally to clarify the potential for, and the limitation of, Parish/Town Council input.

The workshop is designed to run over a half-day with flexible timings in a morning, afternoon or evening. Concepts are applied to one or two case studies to reinforce key points, and it is delivered by one of our experienced Councillor presenters.

If you are interested in finding out more about this training (still at a reduced price!) then please do not hesitate to contact Angela Holmes for a detailed quotation.

As an aside, TRA has recently developed two NEW half-day training workshops specifically designed for community groups and Parish Councils who are keen to embark on the preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan, but may be unsure of what is involved and how the process works. If you would like more information on An Introduction to Neighbourhood Planning and/or Neighbourhood Plans: preparation and examination then please get in touch.

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Neighbourhood Plans: independent examination service from TRA

Neighbourhood Planning continues to gain momentum with more than 900 Neighbourhood Areas designated by LPAs so far. Around 130 Draft Plans have been published, nearly 80 have been submitted to the relevant LPA for publicity and examination, and 30 Plans have successfully passed a referendum. At the same time, DCLG has just completed a technical consultation on planning which included proposals to make neighbourhood planning quicker and easier in order to encourage more communities to follow suit.

Where communities take up their right to produce a Neighbourhood Plan (or Development Order), the LPA has a number of statutory duties to support the process, including making arrangements for the independent examination of the Plan before it can be put to a public referendum.

The choice of Examiner is down to the LPA (with the agreement of the Parish Council or Neighbourhood Forum) and they can appoint anyone who:

  • has appropriate qualifications and experience
  • is independent of the Parish Council or Neighbourhood Forum, and
  • has no interest in any land that may be affected by the proposed Plan.

TRA has put together a team of appropriately qualified and experienced practitioners to act as Independent Examiners for Neighbourhood Plans. Having provided support for the planning service for many years and being independent of both local and central government, TRA is ideally placed to offer this type of service to LPAs. All our examiners are Chartered Town Planners but have a wide range of backgrounds and experience, enabling us to suggest the most appropriate people based on the characteristics of the area, particular issues involved etc.

The TRA service offers expert Examiners, a competitive pricing structure, and the excellent administrative backup and customer service for which TRA is well known.

Further information can be found on our website. If you are interested in receiving a quotation or have any additional questions you can contact Penny O'Shea on 01204 385678 or via penny@tra-ltd.co.uk without obligation.

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Looking at Sustainability and Viability in today's economic climate!

The Autumn 2014 workshops are now underway both North and South of the border with some events being almost fully booked. Places are still available though on a number of workshops for those who have a little money left in the training budget!

In particular, we have a couple of workshops coming up which would be of benefit to planning and development professionals in both local authorities and the private sector, which delve into two particularly topical issues:

  • introducing new technologies and approaches to aid sustainable development whilst maintaining design integrity and viability
  • assessing the viability of development plans and individual developments.

Sustainable Development by Design - Edinburgh, 6 November 2014

This popular workshop looks at how local authorities, local communities and developers can best introduce new technologies and approaches to aid sustainable development, whilst at the same time maintaining the design integrity and viability of the development in question. The workshop will explore different technologies and design approaches to sustainability in the context of their environmental benefit and impact. The workshop will help to answer the conundrum of integrating good design with environmental principles, having regard to the current market and all the various pressures upon viability. The workshop will conclude with a look at the way in which careful design can help future-proof developments so that as new sustainable technologies come along, or become more affordable, they can be fully utilised without compromising the overall d esign. This workshop is presented by Timothy Crawshaw, an innovative designer with over 20 years' experience in both the public and private sectors and a particular interest in sustainability.

Understanding Viability: key concepts in development economics for planners - Manchester, 18 November 2014

In the current economic situation the need to be able to understand a development's viability has become an important issue for planners from all sectors of the profession. An understanding of viability can have a significant bearing on whether a development goes ahead and, if so, what benefits might accrue. This workshop is aimed at all planning and development professionals who need to judge the viability of development plans and projects. The workshop will be particularly relevant to public and private sector staff who assess and negotiate contributions under a planning agreement. Following the workshop, participants should be able to understand different approaches to financial appraisal; assess in broad terms the viability of proposals; and appreciate the financial impact of condi tions and planning agreements under consideration. The workshop will also review the negotiation positions typically adopted by the parties to planning agreements. Use will be made of basic financial models and there will be a review of the available software packages. This workshop is presented by Simon Rowberry, a public-sector-only management and support consultant with extensive experience in negotiating developer contributions on major housing, employment and retail sites.

Further details and booking forms can be found on the TRA website via the above links. If you are interested in attending but unable to make a firm booking straight away, provisional bookings can be made to reserve places by telephone on 01204 385678 or via our online provisional booking facility.

Don't forget, bookings of 2 or more places made at the same time (over any number of events) will receive between 10 and 15% discount, depending on the total number of places booked.

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The Planning Admin Network (PAN) - open to everyone with an interest in Town Planning

Whatever your role, if you are interested in the way in which the planning process is administered (in England, Scotland or Wales), then the Planning Admin Network (PAN) is likely to be a useful resource for you.

Originally set up in 2006 as a network for "Planning Administrators", PAN has evolved over time and its 791 strong membership now includes a large number of staff in other planning roles who are keen to keep up to date with developments and have access, via the Discussion Forum, to colleagues in other organisations who are facing similar issues.

One of the most useful features of the network is the PAN News page. It is packed with information, especially concerning changes to legislation etc, and interesting articles on a range of planning-related matters and is circulated on a monthly basis.

To access PAN News you need to be a member but it's FREE to join and only takes a minute to sign up online (see below). To give you an idea of the kind of things included in PAN News, you can download a PDF copy of the August and September 2014 issues now.

To find out more you can visit the PAN website. To join PAN now just click here. If you have any queries or comments please contact PAN Coordinator, Angela Holmes.

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Contact Information

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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