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Following the introduction of a new workshop for officers on Development in the Green Belt as part of our 2016 training programme, we can now offer a similar session for Councillors.
Understanding Development in the Green Belt is a three hour workshop which can be delivered at a time of day to suit Councillors' other commitments, whether that's morning, afternoon or evening.
The session begins by considering the purpose of Green Belt before moving on to it's main focus - what you can and cannot do in the Green Belt - looking at the NPPF, the role of development plan policies, the difference between appropriate and inappropriate development, and what is meant by very special circumstances.
The workshop includes practical work on a case study looking at a range of Green Belt issues and a round-up of important case law.
If you would like to know more about this workshop and how it can be run for your authority please contact Angela Holmes.Back to top
TRA's 2016 Planning Support Conference took place last week in London. 73 delegates from 38 LPAs heard a well-rounded series of presentations and debate around the future of planning. In light of more and more Government proposals to alter how the planning system operates and who provides it, the theme for this year's Conference was "change".
Peter Lerner, TRA Senior Associate, and currently Interim Director responsible for planning at Hounslow, took delegates through the pros and cons of opening up the processing of planning applications to alternative providers. Peter focused on a number of uncertainties that still exist around the proposal and expressed his belief that for a number of good reasons it was unlikely to be successful without further consideration of aspects such as member and third party inter-relationships.
Nick Harding, Head of Planning at Peterborough and Fenland Councils, where he manages a shared service, explained in detail the challenges and benefits of LPAs merging their services. Nick's thoughtful insight into the problems he faced and how, to date, they have been overcome, gave food for thought that LPAs can make the model work with a lot of hard work and no little flexibility from those involved.
Vivien Green, TRA Senior Associate rounded the morning off with a brief overview of recent procedural changes in development management. After lunch Vivien continued her presentation by demonstrating how the Government's changes have affected the amount of development proposals now within LPAs' determination as a result of the rise of Prior Approval Notifications, greater flexibility in permitted development and increased powers for direct Government intervention.
This led perfectly into a round-table discussion led by Chair Chris Weetman, TRA Associate and independent planning consultant. The good humoured and thoughtful debate focused on where the panel believe that planning is going, and what issues and challenges it faces. These included ensuring there is a balance between speed, quality of decision making, good customer service and good design, in what is seen as an increasingly Treasury-led process.
The debate was a move away from the traditional breakout workshop format and allowed delegates to hear how the changes could affect them and what they could do to get more involved in their own authorities to influence and respond to a changing planning landscape.
The final member of the panel, the well-travelled Simon Rowberry who is currently interim Planning Policy Manager at South and Vale Council, demonstrated how he believes that support staff are the bedrock of planning, providing an invaluable skill set not readily available in the private sector. Simon's conclusions were that change is not going away, and that staff have to be flexible, embrace change and influence it where they can.
Feedback on the day was positive:
Here's our pick of the current vacancies on our Planning Jobs Board (with closing dates in late May and June):
Advertising on TRA's Jobs Board is entirely free to local authorities handling their own recruitment. 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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).Back to top
The examination of the Arley Neighbourhood Plan, submitted to TRA by North Warwickshire BC, was completed in April. The Examiner Brian Dodd concluded that, subject to some modifications, the Plan meets the "basic conditions" and other legal tests required. He therefore recommended that the Plan should proceed to a Referendum once modified. The Borough Council will now consider the Examiner's report and make a decision on whether the Plan will proceed to this next stage.
The Neighbourhood Plan Examination service provided by 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 Examinations 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 email@example.com without obligation.
Following the local elections, the upcoming weeks are set to be a busy time for TRA as our presenters deliver training in planning matters for newly elected members and help to refresh the
knowledge of experienced Councillors in local authorities.
Due to time commitments, which is often a major consideration when organising Councillor training, our short three hour sessions are proving to be particularly popular at the moment, several of which are running within the next couple of weeks in Great Yarmouth, Woking, Redditch, Hart and Milton Keynes.
These sessions are essentially shortened versions of our one day workshops A Briefing on Planning and The Role of Councillors in Planning. Sessions can be run in a morning, afternoon or evening to suit and are delivered by one of our experienced presenters.
Both sessions provide an overview of all the key elements that members need to be familiar with/aware of and are therefore an excellent basic grounding. They are suitable for both new/newer members and those with more experience; TRA presenters are used to handling groups of mixed experience levels.
Feedback from previous sessions has always been very encouraging:
A Briefing on Planning
The Role of Councillors in Planning
As mentioned above, we can also deliver full day sessions, details of which can be found on our website. If you are considering booking training for your Councillors please do not hesitate to get in touch with Angela Holmes who will be happy to provide you with a detailed quotation.Back to top
The Scottish Workshop Programme is set to continue in June with two recent additions to the programme taking place in Edinburgh on 16 June 2016. Both these workshops proved very popular and were more or less fully booked for their first outing in Glasgow last year:
The Use and Abuse of Planning Conditions and Section 75 Obligations
Planning conditions or Section 75 Obligations can make the difference between the approval or the refusal of planning permission; they should therefore be necessary and reasonable. They must be monitored to ensure compliance with their requirements, so should therefore also be precise and enforceable. This recently developed workshop will examine the use of conditions and Planning Obligations with reference to Circulars 4/1998 and 3/2012, using genuine examples of both good and bad practice! The procedures relating to the submission of applications to vary/discharge conditions and obligations will also be looked at in detail.
The Language of Urban Design
This recently developed workshop seeks to equip participants with a confident approach to negotiating and commenting on planning applications with an emphasis on clarity, objective criteria and communication to Members, stake-holders and developers. Using a variety of techniques, participants will explore the language of urban design through examples, field work and the exploration of local and national policy, in the context of best practice from the UK and abroad. Touching on developing, using and supporting local policy, the workshop will provide participants with an essential understanding of local distinctiveness, in the context of Scottish Planning Policy. With specific exercises that define such matters as scale, form, massing, layout, parking, roofline, the use of materials and the integration of contemporary design in context, the workshop will provide a solid grounding in urban design for a wide range of development professionals.
(Note - this workshop is now also included in our programme for England & Wales and will take place in London on 9 June 2016.)
We received some very positive comments from delegates who attended last year's workshops including:
"It was a good refresher and informative presentation. Best part was the discussions generated between people from different authorities and the presenter's experiences" Malcolm White, Aberdeenshire Council (Planning Conditions)
"Good content, use of examples and informative participation and discussions" Fiona Knighton, North Ayrshire Council (Planning Conditions)
"Very interesting and very enthusiastic host. Was great to get out on site and look at the design in the area" Fiona Scott, Argyll & Bute Council (Urban Design)
"Very informative and was practical. Group exercise was good as it put knowledge into practice" Gavin Forrest, Stirling Council (Urban Design)
Further details and booking forms for these workshops are available on our website via the above links. If you are unable to send a booking form straight away for any workshop you are interested in attending, provisional bookings are recommended and can be made by telephone on 01204 385678 or via the online provisonal booking facility.
Don't forget - bookings of 2 or more places made at the same time over any number of events, will receive between 10 and 15% discount depending on the total number of places booked. Details are on this special discounted Block Booking form.Back to top
TRA was recently commissioned by the Isle of Man Council to develop and deliver a bespoke two and a half day training session on the concepts of Urban Design. The course offered a unique opportunity for the Council's planning officers and agents/architects to come together to better understand their role in the common goal of securing good design on the Isle of Man.
TRA Presenter, Tim Crawshaw, designed and delivered the training, creating a supportive and open environment where ideas could be explored with a view to promoting dialogue and a sense of common purpose, increasing the understanding of the priorities of clients, agents, policy planners, design and heritage specialists, and development managers.
Using a variety of participatory techniques, Tim provided the attendees with additional skills in developing and assessing schemes to reinforce local distinctiveness. In addition, the role of design codes and guidance in the context of the Island's distinctive character was explored alongside practical approaches to negotiations and the development of a common design language.
Participant feedback following the training was excellent:
Many of TRA's workshops are based on bespoke requirements, such as the above, to ensure that our client's needs are fully met with regards to training. If you think that your authority might benefit from a tailored training session, please do not hesitate to contact Angela Holmes directly to discuss the options available.Back to top
Tel: (01204) 385678
Fax: (01204) 386376
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