ENews Issue - 26 February 2016

ENews - February 2016

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 Planning Jobs Board
  • Certificated Training on Material Changes of Use
  • Scotland Programme 2016 to kick off in Glasgow in May - time to reserve your places!
  • Guildford BC In-house Training Series - A Planning and Legislation Update
  • Neighbourhood Plan Examination service
  • Help us spread the word about TRA
  • In-house training specifically aimed at Town and Parish Councils




Latest vacancies on TRA Planning Jobs Board

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.

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.

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

  • Head of Service, Planning & Environment - East Sussex CC
  • Planning Policy Manager - Maidstone BC
  • Senior Planner - Swale BC
  • Senior Planning Officer (Mins & Waste) - Surrey CC
  • Consultation Officer - Lancaster City Council
  • Planning Monitoring Officer - Surrey CC
  • Conservation and Design Officer - Lichfield DC

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 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.

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 (most application forms ask this question).

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Certificated Training on Material Changes of Use

The next module in TRA's Certificated Training Programme on Planning Enforcement is due to begin in April at Madingley Hall in Cambridge. Although previously provisionally fully booked, a number of students who were keen to complete the module have unfortunately been unable to secure funding and so we now have a couple of places available for anyone who would like to attend.

The course was originally developed in conjunction with the University of Cambridge and provides a unique opportunity for anyone involved in planning enforcement to undertake certificated training and work towards a formal qualification.

The forthcoming module is Planning Enforcement and Material Change of Use and the dates are 18-19 April & 6-7 June 2016.

This Module considers the significant "grey area" of material change of use, and covers: the definition of material change of use (and the statutory exclusions); key tests to determine "materiality"; the concepts of the planning unit and "curtilage"; the legal status of existing use/loss of use rights; certificates of lawful use; concepts such as nil use, intensification and abandonment; the workings of the Use Classes Order and will look at key cases for material change of use and recent case law. Further details of the module can be found on our website.

For those interested in obtaining the qualification, this training programme leads to the award of the Certificate in Planning Enforcement (through successful completion of four out of the five modules available). However we are pleased to have people attend modules on topics of particular interest to them on a one-off basis.

For each module, students are required to attend two two-day tutorial sessions (4 days in total, dates for this module as listed above), and complete project work based on their own work situation. Because of this, a certain level of commitment is required but ultimately students will gain a systematic framework for their job, and invaluable knowledge and skills which can make real improvements to their day to day work, their own professional development and also be of great benefit to their authority. Feedback from previous students has been very positive and some of their comments can be found here.

If you are interested in reserving a place on this module, please contact Shelagh Pooley on 01204 385678 or shelagh@tra-ltd.co.uk as soon as possible. Booking forms can be downloaded from the TRA website, however we do recommend getting in touch first to make a provisional booking to secure your place. Further details of the programme as a whole including the other modules available can be found on our website, or by contacting Shelagh who will be pleased to answer any questions you may have.

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Scotland Programme 2016 to kick off in Glasgow in May - time to reserve your places!

As mentioned in last month's Enews, the TRA Training Workshop Programmes for 2016 have now been published and bookings are currently being taken.

The first two workshops this year will be in our Scotland programme and will take place in Glasgow on 10 May 2016.

  • An Introduction to Enforcement:maintaining the integrity of the planning process (NEW FOR 2016)

    The credibility of the planning system is increasingly reliant on effective enforcement of planning control. This workshop is aimed at any staff in planning and other departments who may be drawn into enforcement work or who wish to have a contextual understanding of the system, as well as relatively new or less experienced enforcement officers. The workshop will look at what constitutes a breach of planning control, focusing particularly on what constitutes "development" and importantly the statutory exclusions from the definition. Participants will then be introduced to the immunity rules before moving onto when and how the decision on expediency should be made and the "scenarios" that follow from it. The session will take an overview of using the enforcement toolkit with reference to relevan t case law and Government guidance.
  • The Basics of Planning

    This practical workshop is designed as an introduction to the planning process for enforcement, administrative and technical staff in LPAs and support staff working in private practice. As well as providing an introduction to anyone who is new to planning, it is also relevant for more experienced staff who want to set their job in the wider context of the planning process. The workshop deals with the key elements of the process: development management, enforcement and development planning, incorporating group exercises and case studies where appropriate. It also provides participants with a valuable opportunity to meet and share experiences with colleagues from other authorities and other parts of the planning process.

Further details for each workshop can be found on our website via the above links where you can download pdf leaflets. Booking forms are also available to download. If you 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 on our website.

Our popular block booking system remains in place for 2016 meaning bookings of 2 or more places made at the same time over any number of events in the programme, will receive between 10 and 15% discount. This is an ideal opportunity to sort out all your training needs for 2016 in one go and save some money at the same time. A block booking form giving further details can be found here.

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Guildford BC In-house Training Series - A Planning and Legislation Update

Guildford Borough Council recently commissioned TRA to deliver a series of four in-house training sessions for their Planning Officers. The first session, 'Supporting the Processing of Planning Applications' ran earlier on this month. The second and most recent session, was a bespoke workshop entitled A Planning Policy and Legislation Update.

This workshop consisted of a linked series of updates on the Government's future proposals for the planning system. It gave participants updates on housing supply matters, neighbourhood planning, heritage issues and EIA/SEA work, with a specific focus on viability and how this might impact on the development of brownfield sites.

It was an interactive session developed and delivered by TRA Presenter, Andrew Ashcroft and participant feedback was very encouraging:

  • It gave a basis of understanding to planning policy - where it currently is and where it is likely to be heading. It was presented in a clear and interesting way that was easy to understand and follow.
  • Gave me a better understanding of the themes coming from the Government and the implications of the Planning and Housing Bill.
  • An interesting and informative workshop, clearly presented.
  • A good, wider context provided. Good that the Presenter had relevant and recent local Government experience.

The remaining two sessions in this series will run over the next couple of months and include a workshop on Personal Effectiveness & Time Management and The Use of Conditions.

If you would like more information on the various sessions we can deliver for Planning Officers please visit our dedicated web page. Angela Holmes would be happy to deal with any questions you may have or provide you with a no obligation quotation if required.

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Neighbourhood Plan Examination service

There has been a rapid rise recently in communities getting involved in neighbourhood planning. According to recent DCLG figures, more than 1700 communities (representing 8 million people) are now undertaking neighbourhood planning. So far 126 Neighbourhood Plans have successfully made it through referendum and are now formally part of the planning framework in their area.

The choice of Independent Examiner for each Neighbourhood Plan 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 the LPA, 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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Help us spread the word about TRA

One of the keys to TRA's success and longevity is the solid reputation we have built up over more than 30 years. This reputation is based on the fact that we provide both quality services and value for money and it has grown over time thanks to the many clients who have felt comfortable in recommending us, allowing us to publish their feedback, or simply suggesting that colleagues take a look at what we offer. "Word of mouth" is extremely important to us.

Naturally, if you are able to recommend TRA from personal experience that is much appreciated. If you attend one of our events, either at an external venue or in-house at your own organisation, and would be happy to share your thoughts about the course with others please do take the time to complete our evaluation slip and provide your name. This enables us to publish feedback that potential participants might find helpful.

If you spot something on our website that you think might be of interest to a colleague you can use our Email Page function. You'll find this in the top right hand corner of each page (with a little brown envelope icon). Clicking on this allows you to enter the name and email address of the person you'd like to send the page to and gives you space to write a short message to go with it. They'll receive an email from TRA saying that you have suggested they take a look at that particular page. Simple!

In a similar vein, if you know someone who may find this ENewsletter of interest then please do forward it on. If they like what they see, they can subscribe straight away and receive their own copy in future - there are instructions at the bottom of the newsletter. Alternatively, they can sign-up via our website.

Thanks for your help and we hope to see you at one of our events soon.

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In-house training specifically aimed at Town and Parish Councils

Being the UK's leading provider of practitioner-presented training for Councillors involved in planning, TRA are able to provide in-house training specifically aimed at Town & Parish Councillors.

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 has been 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 in order to reinforce key points, and the session is delivered by one of our experienced Councillor presenters.

Some examples of recent participant feedback are as follows:

  • Very worthwhile; an excellent foundation for me as a new Parish Councillor. Mike Dudley-Jones, Alderley Edge PC
  • Very informative and covered a wide range of issues. Helen Richards, Wilmslow TC
  • Presenter was good and very knowledgeable, some interesting points spoken about. Thank you! Jennifer Nettleship, Matlock Bath PC
  • The training was very helpful. It gave a lot of food for thought on recent subjects to the local area. I personally have little knowledge of planning and this training has helped me to consider future applications. Sean Clayton, Ashbourne TC
  • Gave good and valuable insight into today's planning procedures. Caroline Cooper, Ashbourne TC.

If you are interested in finding out more about this training then please do not hesitate to contact Angela Holmes directly for a detailed quotation. The prices we quote are inclusive of all of our fees, presenter's expenses and pre-course/course documentation. This means that there are no 'hidden extras' and our clients are aware from the outset what they can expect to pay at the invoicing stage.

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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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