ENews Issue - 30 March 2015

ENews - March 2015

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:

  • Latest vacancies on TRA's Planning Jobs Board
  • Conference for Planning Support Staff - details now finalised!
  • Hammersmith & Fulham CIL approved by Examiner
  • Test Valley Enforcement Officers polish up their report writing skills
  • Book now for workshops in Manchester in May 2015
  • Training on protected trees for Oadby & Wigston Councillors, Officers & Tree Wardens




Latest vacancies on TRA's Planning Jobs Board

TRA's new Planning Jobs Board was successfully launched in October 2014 and is proving increasingly popular as a means of gaining additional publicity for local authority vacancies. We 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). We are keen to include planning roles of all types including those in planning support and planning enforcement. 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 April):

  • Group Leader: Development Management - Charnwood BC
  • Planning Policy Team Leader - Shepway DC
  • Principal Planning Policy Team Leader - North Dorset DC
  • Senior Planing Officer (x3) - Wiltshire Council
  • Planning Policy Officer - Runnymede BC
  • Planning Policy Officer - North Dorset DC
  • Planning Officer - South Bucks DC
  • Major Applications Officer (fixed term) - Lancaster City Council
  • Conservation Project Officer - Rochdale BC
  • Graduate Planning Officer - West Lancashire BC
  • Graduate Planner (fixed term) - Lancaster City Council
  • Planning Supervisor / Enforcement Officer - Herefordshire Council
  • Assistant Development Control Officers (x2) - North Yorkshire CC
  • Planning Assistant/Officer - Runnymede BC

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 jobsboard@tra-ltd.co.uk. 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.

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Conference for Planning Support Staff - details now finalised!

Details are now available to view on the website for the forthcoming 2015 Conference for Planning Support Staff, which will be taking place at The Wesley in London on 25 June 2015.

This annual event represents a valuable opportunity to meet with colleagues from other authorities and learn about current best practice and future developments affecting planning support.

TRA aim to support all staff contributing to planning service delivery and in this crucial period of continuing uncertainty and challenges for support staff, this year's conference aims to allow participants the opportunity to understand the current shape and focus of their service delivery and what it might look like in the future. As always, the event involves a mixture of general presentations and smaller group sessions in which participants can discuss topics in more detail. The contributors and topics under discussion will be:

  • VIVIEN GREEN, Planning Consultant and TRA Senior Associate - 10 things you should be doing but probably aren't....
  • NICOLA HAMILTON, Enforcement Team Leader at St Helens Council - Handling difficult customers - lessons learned from enforcement
  • KARL ROBERTS, Assistant Director of Planning Services at Arun District Council - How localism may affect support staff
  • CHRIS WEETMAN, independent planning consultant and TRA Associate - Delivering services in times of austerity

Once again the conference is being run in conjunction with the Planning Admin Network (PAN), a free online network open to anyone with an interest in the administration of the planning service in England, Wales and Scotland. Membership of PAN is absolutely FREE and registration is quick and easy via the PAN website.

A discounted price for the conference is available to PAN members of £175.00 (normal event price £190.00), and further discounts are available to all via our block booking scheme which offers between 10 and 15% discount for bookings of 2 or more places made at the same time over any number of events in the 2015 programme. (Please note - PAN member discounts are only available to those who registered on or before 20 March 2015).

Further details for the conference and a booking form are available on the TRA website. If you would like to attend but are unable to make a firm booking straight away, provisional bookings are recommended and can be made by telephoning 01204 385678 or via the online provisional booking facility.

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Hammersmith & Fulham CIL approved by Examiner

The London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham submitted its Draft CIL Schedule to Trevor Roberts Associates on 18 November 2014 and appointed Terrence Kemmann-Lane as the Examiner. A Hearing was held on 10 February 2015 and the Examination was concluded on 20 March 2015. In his Report, the Examiner concluded that the Hammersmith & Fulham CIL Charging Schedule "provides an appropriate basis for the collection of the levy in the borough" and "is set at a level that will not put the overall development of the area at risk". He therefore recommended that, subject to four minor modifications, the CIL Schedule should be approved.

A recent article in Planning magazine reported that only a quarter of councils are likely to have a CIL schedule in place when the new rules restricting the use of s106 contributions come into force on 6 April. This is according to a report by Savills commissioned by the Home Builders Federation in February which found that 57 councils have adopted CIL schedules and 56 have draft schedules currently undergoing Examination.

In terms of progress by the remaining authorities:

  • 42 authorities are committed to implementing CIL but have not yet started work
  • 58 authorities are currently undertaking preparatory work
  • 46 authorities have published a Preliminary Draft Charging Schedule, and
  • 28 authorities have published a Draft Charging Schedule.

If your authority is one of those working towards the implementation of CIL and you are interested in learning more about TRA's CIL Examination service please visit our website for further information. You can also contact Penny O'Shea to find out more, including likely costs, without obligation.

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Test Valley Enforcement Officers polish up their report writing skills

Test Valley District Council recently commissioned TRA to prepare and deliver an in-house bespoke workshop on Effective Report Writing, specifically for Enforcement staff.

The workshop provided attendees with an opportunity for debate about good practice, drawing on the presenter's, Lee Prebble, long experience in both planning enforcement and appeals.

The main objectives of the session were to:

  • provide a refresher on "material considerations" and an opportunity to discuss any grey areas
  • suggest guidance on what Councillors need from officers (and maybe what they don't)
  • give advice on what to include in reports and what can safely be left out
  • show how a good report (whether for Committee or delegated) can greatly simplify the handling of straightforward appeals
  • give an insight into what Inspectors are looking for, and the way they currently approach "written reps" cases
  • take a brief look at some recent appeal decisions.

Feedback from the attendees was very encouraging:

  • Good inputs on report structure which I will find very useful.
  • Nice presenter who has a good way of putting his knowledge across.
  • Gave me a better understanding of what needs to be included in a report; it also provided interesting information on Appeals.
  • It was a very useful refresher as well as covering a lot of material I was unaware of (planning involvement in enforcement reports).
  • It set out clearly what is expected of enforcement reports - what they should contain/purpose etc. Was good to have a discussion on appeal/inquiry points and to hear examples of experiences.

If you think that your authority might be interested in running an in-house workshop on writing enforcement reports (as above) or report writing in general, please contact Angela Holmes to discuss your requirements and/or receive a no obligation quotation.

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Book now for workshops in Manchester in May 2015

As mentioned in last month's Enews, the TRA 2015 Training Workshop Programme will kick off in Glasgow on 30 April with a couple of recent additions to our training portfolio covering the Definition of Development and Basic Tree Hazard Assessment. The England & Wales programme is also due to start shortly with a batch of workshops all of which are also relatively new to the programme, having been introduced within the last 3 years. These are due to take place in Manchester on 20 May 2015. Bookings are already coming in but there is still time to reserve your place:

  • Effective Validation: good practice for all application types

    This extremely popular workshop is concerned with validating the wide range of applications submitted to a Planning Authority: planning, advertisement, listed building, certificates of lawfulness and prior notifications. The workshop will consider the different requirements for different types of application as set out in primary and secondary legislation (including the fee regime); Government policy on the use of local validation requirements; and when to ask for further information. Identification of statutory consultations, notifications and publicity usually follows from validation and identification of constraints, so the workshop will also ensure that participants are aware and up to date on the requirements for different application types. The workshop will conclude by considering how authorities deal with invalid applic ations, handle disputes and when an appeal against non-determination can be made. It will highlight the opportunities that exist through incremental and marginal changes to make this key element of the process both more efficient and effective.
  • Securing Good Design within the NPPF

    Taking up almost two pages in the NPPF, design remains a government priority in terms of decision and policy making. When more advice and support was available through CABE and supporting guidance, much of the technical detail and nuance was available to planners and their design advisors. Since then, times have changed but the principles of good design have not. This recently developed workshop is aimed at development management, planning policy and design officers and explores the basic principles of good design, as outlined in the NPPF. The main elements will be drawn out in an accessible and interactive way, providing the key tools and understanding required to bring high level guidance to life in your locality. Exploring design codes, integrating green infrastructure, responding to local character, creating a sense of place, and securing and negot iating quality outcomes will form the structure of the workshop. At the end, participants will be empowered to integrate good design into negotiations, local plans and decision making.
  • 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 impo rtance 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.

Further information and booking forms can be found on the website via the above links to each event. If you are unable to make a firm booking straight away, provisional bookings are recommended to reserve your place and can be made by telephone on 01204 385678 or via our online provisional bookings facility.

Bookings of 2 or more places made at the same time over any number of events will attract discounts of between 10 and 15% under our discounted block booking scheme (depending on the total number of places booked). Details are on the website and also on this special block booking form.

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Training on protected trees for Oadby & Wigston Councillors, Officers & Tree Wardens

TRA was recently approached by Oadby and Wigston Borough Council to create and present a one-day in-house workshop on Trees and the Planning Process, for the benefit of Councillors, Officers and Tree Wardens with responsibility for trees as part of their role.

The workshop provided training on protected trees, in particular tree preservation orders for those with a limited arboricultural knowledge base or non-arboricultural background. The training allowed participants to understand how and why trees are protected and help determine the suitability of subject trees for the serving of a new TPO or whether works requested to such trees are suitable for their species and / or condition.

The main course objectives were to help attendees:

  • gain a basic understanding of tree biology
  • gain a basic understanding of tree work
  • gain an understanding of trees and the law
  • make appropriate new tree preservation orders
  • deal with objections and applications to carry out work to trees
  • carry out administration relating to Tree Preservation Orders
  • understand what reasonably to expect regarding information on trees during the planning process.

The session was developed and delivered by TRA presenter, Sharon Hosegood and feedback from the participants was excellent:

  • Provided a very useful and timely refresher. Steve Robishaw
  • A comprehensive coverage of range of topics. I now feel better equipped to carry out my role as an elected member of OWBC. David Carter
  • The presenter had a very good knowledge about trees. Very helpful training and it was good to be involved in the same session as Councillors and Tree Wardens. Stephen Dukes
  • Thank you for this clear and informative presentation! It was very engaging and educational. It was great to see examples of suitable trees to be protected by TPOs and helpful to obtain advice regarding validation of applications and what standards are required for aboricultural report submissions. Sarah Booth
  • Met my expectations and more. Thoroughly interesting and well presented. M E Loydell.

This workshop is now available to all of our clients exclusively on an in-house basis, so if you would like to receive further details, such as an outline programme, please do not hesitate to contact Angela Holmes for a detailed quotation.

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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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