ENews Issue - 29 May 2015

ENews - May 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:

  • Time to book post-election training for Councillors involved in planning?
  • Latest vacancies on Planning Jobs Board
  • TRA support for planning policy departments
  • Forthcoming training sessions on Enforcement and Appeals
  • Still time to book on the 2015 Conference for Planning Support Staff
  • Protected Tree training for Canterbury City Officers
  • Crawley Down Neighbourhood Plan submitted for examination




Time to book post-election training for Councillors involved in planning?

TRA is currently extremely busy with councillor training following the recent elections. As the UK's leading provider of practitioner-presented training for Councillors involved in planning, TRA has trained Councillors in almost 240 local authorities in England, Wales and Scotland. If you are still considering the options for providing training in the planning system for re-elected and/or new members - we can help.

We can respond to various training requirements, providing individual bespoke sessions as appropriate, but particularly popular in the post-election period are our one-day sessions:

• A Briefing on Planning for Councillors

• The Role of Councillors in Planning: propriety and good practice



The Briefing on Planning workshop covers the basic policy and procedural aspects of the planning system. It is a "briefing", giving an introduction and an overview for the benefit of any Councillors involved/interested in the topic. Although the focus is on development management, the aspect of planning with which most Councillors have most contact, it does cover other important elements as well as providing a crucial general context/framework so that Councillors can see where they fit into the overall picture. Short exercises are used during the day to help reinforce key points.

The Role of Councillors workshop focuses on the often complex issues surrounding the Councillors role when they are dealing with lobbying on planning applications and making decisions on the Planning Committee or Board; and the manner in which a Councillor must conduct him or her self. It provides an insight into good practice and reflects current legislation, exploring in detail the implications for planning. A real life case study is used throughout this session to reinforce key learning points and is an element which Councillors find interesting and useful.

If the time commitment for Councillors is a major consideration we can also offer shorter sessions (usually 3 hours) with flexible timings during a morning, afternoon or evening. These sessions are essentially shortened versions of the above one-day workshops and are delivered by one presenter, rather than two.

Another alternative is a NEW training format that we have recently developed. This one-day workshop, A Planning Workshop for Councillors combines elements from BOTH of the above mentioned sessions and is delivered by one presenter, rather than two. Due to the way in which the workshop runs a full case study cannot be used throughout the day, however the presenter does use short exercises and cameo cases to help reinforce key points.

The Training for Councillors section of our website provides further information and answers the most frequently asked questions. If you are interested in the possibility of arranging a training session and would like any additional information, such as an outline programme, please feel free to contact Angela Holmes without obligation.

Demand is always very high in the period immediately after the elections however, due to our large team of experienced presenters, we should have no problem in accommodating new bookings for late June and July at this stage. We would highly recommend that you get in touch with Angela as soon as possible to discuss your preferred date(s).

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Latest vacancies on Planning Jobs Board

Here are some of the current vacancies on our Planning Jobs Board (with closing dates in June):

  • Planning Manager (Development Management) - Dudley MBC
  • Principal Planning Officer - Gloucester City Council
  • Principal Planning Officer (Spatial Policy) - Maidstone BC
  • Principal Planning Policy Officer - Reigate & Banstead BC
  • Senior Planning Policy Officer (Food Enterprise Zones) - Babergh & Mid Suffolk DC
  • Planner/Senior Planner x 3 - Swale BC
  • Senior Planner (Projects) - Welwyn Hatfield BC
  • Planning Officer (Spatial Policy) - Maidstone BC
  • Planning Officers x 3 - Guildford BC
  • Planning Officer (Policy & Delivery) - Suffolk Coastal and Waveney DC
  • Planning Obligations & Community Infrastracture Levy Officer - Welwyn Hatfield BC
  • Assistant Planning Officer - Gloucester City Council
  • Assistant Enforcement and Tree Officer - Craven DC

Advertising on our Jobs Board 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. If you would like to advertise a vacancy 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.

It is also free to search for those looking for a new opportunity. So if you are in the market for a new challenge, visit TRA's Planning Jobs Board regularly - it could change your life! And please - if you do apply for one of these vacancies we'd be really grateful if you could mention that you saw it on the TRA Planning Jobs Board.

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TRA support for planning policy departments

Although TRA is particularly well-known for its training and consultancy support for development management and enforcement, we also offer a range of services to assist planning policy departments and individual policy planners. These include:

Training and professional development workshops

  • Writing Effective Policies in the Local Plan (in-house)
  • Appearing at Local Plan Examinations (in-house)
  • Engaging with Local Communities in Neighbourhood Plan Preparation (Nov 12th in London or in-house)
  • Understanding Viability: key concepts in development economics for planners (in-house)
  • Negotiation Skills: the key to achieving planning goals and objectives (Sept 24th in London or Nov 5th in Edinburgh or in-house)
  • Strategic Environmental Assessment (in-house)
  • Preparing Development Briefs and Masterplans (in-house).

Neighbourhood Plan Examinations

In appointing an Independent Examiner for a Neighbourhood Plan, the LPA is free to choose (with the agreement of the Parish Council or Neighbourhood Forum) 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's Neighbourhood Plan Examination Service offers appropriately qualified and experienced Examiners, a competitive pricing structure and the excellent administrative and customer service for which TRA is well-known.

Community Infrastructure Levy Examinations

The 2008 Planning Act requires planning authorities who wish to introduce CIL to have their proposed CIL Charging Schedule scrutinised by an independent Examiner. According to s212, the authority must simply "appoint someone who, in the opinion of the authority -

a) is independent of the charging authority, and

b) has appropriate qualifications and experience."

So, unlike Development Plan Documents, CIL Charging Schedules do not need to be examined by the Planning Inspectorate.

TRA can provide a professional, prompt and competitively-priced CIL Examination Service and we would encourage authorities to take a look at what we can offer so that they can make a fully-informed decision when appointing an Examiner.

Planning Jobs Board

Our new Planning Jobs Board is proving particularly popular for planning policy vacancies. Advertising on our Jobs Board is entirely free to local authorities handling their own recruitment (unfortunately we can't offer it to recruitment agencies). The Jobs Board is also free to search for those looking for a new opportunity.

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Forthcoming training sessions on Enforcement and Appeals

TRA have a couple of training workshops coming up in our London venue on 16 June 2015 focusing on the basics of two important aspects of planning: enforcement and appeals. These workshops would be of benefit to those either looking to gain a basic knowledge or to improve their understanding in these particular areas:

  • The Basics of Planning Enforcement

    The credibility of the planning system is increasingly reliant on effective enforcement of planning control. This workshop is aimed at planning staff who are either directly involved in enforcement work or who wish to have a contextual understanding of the system, as well as relatively new or less experienced enforcement staff. Specific aspects covered include: what can be enforced - the definition of development and what constitutes unauthorised development; the immunity rules; how to deal with complaints; evidence collection; the effective use of the enforcement toolkit; and practical steps to make enforcement more efficient and effective.

  • An Introduction to Appeals (NEW FOR 2015)

    This new workshop provides an overview of the appeals process and is ideal for those new to planning or with limited experience so far. It includes a reminder of the basics including: rights of appeal; the methods of appeal; the role of Inspectors and the courts; and key points from the Regulations and planning practice guidance. The characteristics of each of the three methods of appeal (written representations, hearings and public inquiries) are considered and practical advice is given by an experienced practitioner on what makes a good appeal statement. Recent trends, including success rates, the Government's view of how the appeals system should operate and the current culture of the Inspectorate will be discussed. The workshop also includes an introduction to the costs regime. It concludes with a practical look at some recen t appeal decisions to consider their style and scope.

Places are still available on both workshops and further details for each can be found on the TRA website via the above links. Booking forms/leaflets are also available to view/download from the website.

If you are unable to make a firm booking straight away, provisional bookings are recommended and can be made by calling 01204 385678 or via the online provisional booking facility.

Discounts of between 10 and 15% are available via our block booking system when bookings of 2 or more places (over any number of events) are made at the same time. See the website for more details.

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Still time to book on the 2015 Conference for Planning Support Staff

Just a quick reminder that if you haven't already reserved your place on this year's Conference for Planning Support Staff due to take place in London on 25 June, now is the time to do it!

Details for the conference including the contributors and topics up for discussion are on the TRA website or you can download the leaflet/booking form here. Booking is going very well and we are expecting a good turnout - but places are still available.

Places can be reserved provisionally if you are unable to make a firm booking straight away, by telephone on 01204 385678 or via the online provisional booking page on the website.

A discounted price is available to PAN members and further discounts are available to all via our usual block booking system (for bookings of 2 or more places).

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Protected Tree training for Canterbury City Officers

Following a successful in-house training session at Oadby and Wigston Council in March, TRA was recently commissioned by Canterbury City Council to deliver another one-day in-house workshop on Trees and the Planning Process. This time the training was for the benefit of Planning and Conservation Officers taking on responsibility for trees as part of a change in their roles.

The workshop provided training on protected trees, in particular tree preservation orders and allowed participants to understand how and why trees are protected and help them determine the suitability of subject trees for the serving of a new TPO.

The session, which was delivered by TRA presenter, Sharon Hosegood, was extremely interactive and a visit to a nearby park (right) to assess and discuss some of the local trees was an element the attendees found particularly interesting and enjoyable.

Post-course feedback from the participants was excellent:

  • Very much met my expectations. Planning Officers have very limited knowledge of Trees etc. The info and downloads are useful. Looking at trees in the park brings the assessment of the merit of trees to life and makes it understandable. Nicola Hughes
  • The workshop was very well presented by a knowledgeable presenter. Gave lots of useful pointers for dealing with 'tree issues' and for finding further information. Steve Musk
  • A range of topic areas covered in great detail and delivered clearly and concisely. Extremely helpful workshop. Sian Smith
  • Really enjoyable and learnt a lot! Very well presented and very engaging. Thank you! Louise Daniels
  • It was thorough, interactive, practical and well organised. The training was engaging and practical unlike much theoretical training common today. Vicky Taylor.

If you think your authority would benefit from an in-house session similar to the above then please do not hesitate to contact Angela Holmes for a no obligation quotation. Remember, the prices we quote are 'all-in', so there are no hidden extras and you are aware from the outset what you can expect to pay at the invoicing stage.

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Crawley Down Neighbourhood Plan submitted for examination

The latest neighbourhood plan submitted to TRA for examination is the Crawley Down Neighbourhood Plan. The plan was submitted by Mid Sussex District Council at the end of April and has been allocated to Examiner Brian Dodd.

The Neighbourhood Plan Examination service from TRA offers a competitive pricing structure and the excellent administrative backup and customer service for which TRA is well known. If you would like to know more about the service please visit the Neighbourhood Plan Examination page of 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 penny@tra-ltd.co.uk without obligation.

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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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