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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Our latest Conference for Planning Support Staff is coming up on 25 June at our London venue. The programme is currently being finalised but topics confirmed so far include:
It is likely that full details will be available before our next issue of ENews in March so please check back on our website if you are interested in learning more.
Bookings can now be made for the Conference. Details of venue, price etc and a booking form can be found on our website. If you are not able to make a confirmed booking now but would like to reserve a place provisionally you can do so by calling 01204 385678 or using our online provisional booking facility.Back to top
Involvement in appeals is an integral part of a planning officer's role and requires a clear understanding of the process and a range of specific skills. To assist those who are new to planning or have only limited experience so far we've introduced a new workshop on appeals in our 2015 programme. An Introduction to Appeals is delivered by Senior Associate David Kaiserman who was responsible for over 1500 appeal decisions as a Planning Inspector.
Aspects covered include:
Practical advice is given on:
Although new to our advertised programme, this workshop has been run previously on an in-house basis with exellent feedback:
The workshop is running at our London venue on 16 June. See the website for full details including a booking form. If you would like to attend but are not able to make a firm booking straight away places can be reserved provisionally either over the telephone on 01204 385678 or via our online provisional booking facility.Back to top
TRA was recently commissioned to deliver two in-house training workshops, one in Perth and Kinross and the other in St Albans, as an Introduction to Planning.
These workshops provided a training opportunity for enforcement, administrative, clerical and technical staff who work in town planning, to learn about the key elements of the planning process, as well as any other staff who want to set their jobs in the wider context of the planning service (Building Control staff in St Albans' case).
The sessions assisted participants in developing:
The workshop delivered in Perth and Kinross was presented by Mike Hyde, and the second session was delivered in St Albans by Lee Prebble, both resulted in some excellent feedback:
If you think that your authority might be interested in providing this kind of training on an in-house basis and you would like to receive a no obligation quotation, please contact Angela Holmes to discuss your requirements.Back to top
TRA's new Planning Jobs Board was successfully launched back in October. So far, we are averaging 12 new vacancies each week and usually have between 20 and 35 vacancies listed at any one time.
The advertising service is entirely free to local authorities handling their own recruitment (unfortunately we can't offer it to recruitment agencies). It is also free to search for those looking for a new opportunity. The Jobs Board was set up as an additional service for our public sector clients and as a way of encouraging more people to visit our website.
Here are some of the current vacancies (with closing dates in March):
So if you are looking for a new challenge, visit TRA's Planning Jobs Board regularly - it could change your life!
If, on the other hand, you would like to advertise a vacancy on our Jobs Board you can download our 1-page pdf which provides more information. Alternatively, you can simply send your text and the authority's logo (if you would like this to be included) to email@example.com. The Jobs Board is fully managed by TRA's staff in Bolton to ensure that the whole process of advertising is as quick and hassle-free as possible.Back to top
As mentioned in last month's enews, the 2015 TRA Training Workshop Programme has now been published, and this year the programme kicks off with a brand new workshop for our Scotland Programme:
Understanding and Defining Development
"Development" is the core of the statutory planning process and so it is essential that those working in any aspect of the process understand and are able to define what it is, as well as being aware of the ever-increasing body of relevant case law. Anyone who seeks to draft planning policies must understand the scope of what they can control or promote as much as anyone wanting to correctly answer questions about whether a planning application is needed or a development is PD. Effective enforcement also begins with correctly defining whether or not there has been "development" without planning permission. This new workshop, which is equally appropriate for planners and those working in planning support and enforcement, will look at the two principal elements of the extended definition; the types of operational development and "What constitute s a material change of use?" It will consider the complexities of the statutory inclusions and exclusions from the definition and provide a practical look at how to assess the "materiality" of a change of use.
Running alongside this workshop on the same day will be another relatively new workshop which was introduced to the programme in 2014 and proved very popular:
Basic Tree Hazard Assessment and Tree Preservation Orders
Many Councils are now without specific tree officer resources, leaving planning departments with a skills shortage in terms of tree assessment, consultations on new planning applications and management for TPOs. This workshop has been developed to provide visual inspection training at a basic level 1 for staff from a non-arboricultural background. It aims to help participants identify obvious defects from ground level so they can report their findings and help determine the suitability of trees for a new TPO or whether works requested are suitable for their species and/or condition. Using a variety of techniques, including a site visit, the workshop considers the legal and safety implications of hazardous trees; how to recognise hazardous trees, determine the level of risk and decide on an appropriate course of action; and the importanc e of collecting and maintaining adequate information. The criteria for the serving of a new TPO will be explained and participants will gain a basic understanding of BS3998:2010 "Treework - Recommendations". They will also be encouraged to recognise their own limitations and maintain their own health and safety when carrying out visual inspections.
Both these workshops will take place at the Novotel Hotel, Glasgow on 30 April 2015. Booking forms and further details can be found on our website via the above links to each workshop. Alternatively, if you are unable to make a firm booking straight away, places can be reserved provisionally either over the telephone on 01204 385678 or via our online provisional booking facility.
If you would like to book places on some of the earlier workshops in 2015 but pay for them in the new financial year, this is no problem. Simply write 'Invoice in April' on your booking form and we will book your place now but send you the invoice in April.
Don't forget, discounts of up to 15% are available when booking 2 or more places at the same time under our discounted block booking scheme. Further details of the scheme are on the website.Back to top
Approaching the end of the current financial year and the start of the new one can make things complicated for those wanting to book training: some people have money they need to spend before the end of the year and others want to book now but pay out of next year's budget. At TRA, we do our best to help minimise these issues by being flexible with the timing of invoices.
A couple of typical scenarios should illustrate how we can help:
We know that money for training is particularly hard to come by at the moment and we hope that by being flexible like this we can help make sure you don't miss out.Back to top
According to recent DCLG figures, 62% of all local planning authorities have now designated at least one Neighbourhood Plan area and the total designated so far is more than 1200. More than 180 Draft Neighbourhood Plans have been published and over 100 have been submitted to the relevant LPA for publicity and independent examination.
The choice of Independent Examiner is down to the LPA (with the agreement of the Parish Council or Neighbourhood Forum) and they can appoint anyone who:
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.
We recently handled the examination of two Neighbourhood Plans for South Kesteven DC (Stubton and Hough on the Hill), assigning Colin Blundel as the Independent Examiner.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org without obligation.Back to top
TRA is the UK's leading provider of practitioner-presented training for Councillors involved in planning and has trained Councillors in almost 240 local authorities
throughout England, Scotland and Wales.
Even if this kind of training has traditionally been delivered by your own officers, it is certainly worth considering an "external" training session provided by TRA. These sessions are delivered by our experienced team of presenters, all of whom are planning practitioners, as opposed to academics.
Where Councillors have already undertaken basic training, we are able to conduct more detailed sessions on specific aspects of planning. These are mainly half-day "modules" with a single presenter. Topics include specialist aspects of planning and updates on policy, procedure and good practice. Some of the topics we can offer include:
This is a small selection of the sessions that we can run exclusively on an in-house basis; a full list can be found on our website. If required we are also happy to consider designing bespoke sessions, or tailoring an existing programme to suit an individual client's needs - please do not hesitate to ask if you have any specific requirements.
If you would like to see more information on any of our in-house training workshops for Members, including an outline programme, then please do not hesitate to contact Angela Holmes for a no-obligation quotation.
Please note that the prices we quote are "all in" and therefore include all of our fees, presenters expenses and pre-course/course documentation, this means that there are no hidden extras and our clients are aware what they can expect to pay at the outset.Back to top
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