ENews Issue - 28 March 2006

ENews - March 2006

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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As well as our well-established portfolio of inter-authority training events for planning support staff, we also provide a considerable amount of training on an in-house basis. This can be organised for an individual authority or for a group of authorities.

This has proved a particularly popular option for authorities in recent months and sessions have included:

Supporting the DC Function - Stratford on Avon DC and neighbouring authorities

"It actually exceeded my expectations! Very interactive, engaging content and discussions. Useful material to take away from the course to refer back to." Lucy Hammond, Stratford on Avon DC

"Brilliant - was a great day for covering essentials." Bev Dancer, Cherwell DC

"The workshop was delivered in a way which made the detail understandable whatever one's knowledge." Tricia Sims, Stratford on Avon DC.

Training for technical/support staff (bespoke programme) - Penwith DC

"Generally I feel, and have been told by a number of participants, that the training was very useful. It has proved as I had hoped a catalyst for achieving change in the department which will be a real benefit to us." Peter Bainbridge, Sustainable Development Team Leader

Planning and Advertisements for support staff - Arun DC

"An excellent workshop - has ironed out a few grey areas." Janice Chapman

"Thanks very much - a good course and great delivery. I work in enforcement and so it was very relevant and made you think about a very complex area." Joanne Searle

"Once again, the presenter managed to pitch the course at all levels of experience within the group." Nicola Spencer.

Other workshops delivered recently included the Basics of Planning for Administrative Staff for East Lindsey DC and the Basics of Planning for Frontline Staff delivered twice for Mid Beds DC.

Details of the main options for in-house training for planning support staff can be found on our website. If you would like further information or are interested in arranging some training please contact Penny O'Shea without obligation.


As part of our 2006 programme of workshops in England and Wales, we are including a brand new workshop on Effective Pre-application Discussions.

The workshop is aimed at all those involved in the negotiation of planning submissions and explores the ways in which pre-application discussions can play a positive role in ensuring both speed and quality in DC decision-making.

The workshop is presented by Philippa Jarvis, one of TRA's Senior Associates, and will explore the following:

  • the important role of guidance and advice for applicants

  • what are applicants seeking to achieve?

  • the role of the DC officer as negotiator, co-ordinator, mediator and project manager

  • the Development Team approach

  • charging - the pros and cons

  • the use of checklists to assist the proces s.

  • This new workshop is proving popular but there is still time to reserve a place for Manchester on 6 June. For a leaflet/booking form or to reserve a place provisionally please contact Shelagh Pooley.


TRA is well-known for its workshops for planning and development staff run on an inter-authority basis. Many of these workshops can also be delivered on your own premises for staff from your authority and this can be a particularly cost-effective way of meeting training needs. We are also happy to arrange joint training sessions for a group of authorities (all we need is one authority to take the lead for organisational purposes).

A particularly popular option is our series on Basic Skills and Procedures for Development Control which is ideal for new or less experienced staff.

A flier providing basic information on this series can be downloaded in PDF format here. If you would like any additional information or if you would like to discuss the possibility of arranging some in-house training please contact Penny O'Shea.


As part our workshop programme in Scotland, we will be running our popular session on Trees, Planning and Development on Tuesday 9 May in Glasgow.

The workshop, which is delivered by Steven Milne, take a detailed and highly practical look at the interface between trees and contemporary development pressures. It will be of benefit to planners in both the public and private sectors who are involved/interested n tree protection but who are not specialists in that field. It provides a good contextual understanding of an integrated approach to tree protection and covers tree biology and structure; legislation and guidance; impact evaluation; and tree protection.

There are still places available for this workshop but prompt booking is recommended. Please contact Shel agh Pooley for a leaflet or to reserve a place.

Don't forget that if your authority is interested in booking several places on our 2006 programme, you can take advantage of our block-booking discount. A special block booking form can be downloaded in PDF format from our website.


Mole Valley District Council is the latest authority to commission TRA to undertake a review of Development Control procedures and develop an Online Procedure Guide. The review was submitted last December and the Procedure Guide was handed over to the authority at the end of February.

Feedback from Head of Planning, Clive Smith, has been very positive. "We have been very pleased with your thorough and thoughtful review of DC Procedures. So, also, have the two Chairmen of the DC Committee and Environment Committee. You hardly disturbed us at all...You have given us much to do to better the way we work and the service we deliver. I anticipate that we will be implementing most of your recommendations over the next few months."

The preparation of an authority specific online Procedure Guide is a unique service developed by TRA. Guides are now operational in 20 local authorities (see our website for details) and our consultancy teams are currently working on a further four.

Some basic information on this service is available on our website. A brand new brochure, outlining in detail what is involved in both the Review and the Procedure Guide, is now available. Please contact Penny O'Shea for a copy. It is also possible to view a demonstration version of the Procedure Guide via our website.

If you would like to explore things further please feel free to contact Penny O'Shea without obligation.

Please note that we can also produce Procedure Guides for Building Control. Details are available on our website.


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. Some students have already received their certificate by post and others will be attending the awards ceremony at Madingley Hall in June to receive the award in person.

Planning Enforcement:

Lisa Price - South Gloucestershire Council

Tamara Roberts - Northampton BC

James Willoughby - Northampton BC

Matt Whitton - Great Yarmouth BC

Bob Lee - Slough BC

Zoe Fuller - Newark & Sherwood DC

Roger Howard - LB of Barking & Dagenham

Peter Lowe - Three Rivers DC

Michael Muscroft - Bedford BC

Gaynor Richards - East Staffordshire BC

Frances Smith - Nottinghamshire County Council

Management Concepts and Skills in Planning:

Andrea Gilmour - East Hertfordshire DC

Helen Brookes-Martin - Dudley MBC

Trisha Coyle - LB of Havering

Tim Marsh - Carrick DC

Jenny Nell - Mid Beds DC

Nicola Stinson - Kerrier DC

Richard Purcell - East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Anthea Jones - Carlisle City Council.

Gaining the Certificate is a considerable achievement, involving lots of hard work and commitment, and TRA is very proud of all our new "graduates".

Please click for further details of the Cambridge courses in Planning Enforcement and in Management Concepts and Skills in Planning plus the brand new programme for Planning Support Staff.


This section of ENews is a way for people who have taken part in the TRA/Cambridge University certificated courses to keep in contact with us and each other. We are keen to keep in touch so please let Shelagh at TRA know if you have any news.

Lynn Thomas from Woking Borough Council, who received the Certificate of Continuing Education in Planning Enforcement in 2005, has now achieved Technical Membership of the RTPI. Lynn followed Route 2 to Technical Membership.

The requirements under Route 2 are that applicants must be able to demonstrate at least 10 years' relevant experience, at least 5 of which need to be in a clear planning support role, and submit a report on some aspect of planning support work, to be assessed by the RTPI. However, possession of the TRA/Cambridge University Certificate provides appli cants with exemption from this report requirement.

There is also an alternative route, Route 1, which involves having an RTPI recognised qualification (of which the TRA/Cambridge Certificate can form part) plus relevant experience. Further information on both routes is available from Shelagh Pooley at TRA and an information pack on RTPI Technical Membership is available from the Institute - please contact Dushy Large, Education and Membership Officer, tel: 0207 929 9484, email: dushy.large@rtpi.org.uk

Congratulations to Zoe Fuller from Newark & Sherwood DC who not only gained the certificate in planning enforcement this year but also had a bouncing baby girl at the beginning of March.

Please click here for details of the TRA/Cambridge University certificated courses.


In last September's issue of ENews we announced that TRA has been developing a brand new certificated course in planning support which will be accredited by the University of Cambridge.

Progress with this exciting new initiative is going very well and we are now able to provide some basic details of the proposed programme. A factsheet is available for download in PDF format from our website. A paper copy can also be sent on request if preferred.

It is also possible to sign up for an emailing list we have set up specifically for people interested in in this particular course. We will use this list to circulate information about the course as it develops. If you would like to subscribe (only occasional emails will be sent) please click here and choose the appropriate list.

We are aiming to run the first module in e arly 2007 and in the meantime we would be very interested to hear from you if you have any comments or suggestions regarding the course as it is proposed. Details of how to get in touch are included in the factsheet.

We are very much looking forward to the launch of this brand new course. It will represent a unique training opportunity for those working in planning support and we hope that it will be well supported.


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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