ENews Issue - 01 October 2006

ENews - October 2006

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.


As well as our two most popular full-day workshops for Councillors - A Briefing on Planning and The Role of Councillors in planning: probity and propriety issues - we provide a range of other briefing sessions on specific aspects of the planning system and updates on policy, procedure and good practice. Some of the topics we currently offer include:

* an update on planning policies, PPG & PPS changes etc

* PPG3 and housing (local and/or strategic issues)

* planning appeals : the Councillor dimension

* planning enforcement

* planning obligations and agreements (planning gain)

* sustainability and its link to the planning framework

* advertisement control

* the new Regional Spatial Strategies (RSS) - the regulations and processes for preparation.

Details of other topics available can be found in the Councillor training section of our website.

These briefings are an ideal way to supplement the basic training that Councillors receive and can help them fulfill their roles more effectively through increased knowledge and understanding.

If you would like further information on any of our Councillor training sessions please contact Suzanne Waldram.


Details are now available of TRA's brand new managment development programme for local authority staff.

TRA has extensive experience of providing management training and development over the past 20 years. Although in recent years this has focused on training for those in the planning/development field, it originally began as an inter-disciplinary series for anyone in local government wanting to extend their management skills.

Across our full range of management training, TRA's aim is to take the mystique out of management.

A brochure, providing details of the new programme as a whole, is available by post on request or can be downloaded in PDF format from our website - download. Details of individual workshops are also available here.

Crucially, the workshops are presented by people with lengthy local government experience at a senior level.

Since this series is aimed at staff in any department, we are keen to reach people beyond our existing planning/development contacts, so please feel free to forward these details to any colleagues you think might be interested or to your personnel/HR department.


TRA is especially well established in the planning field, although it has always operated across the board in local government. We are now looking for an additional senior person to join the team to develop our services in management training and local government training/consultancy-support/management-organisational generally, beyond the field of town planning.

Details of this exciting new post can be found on the job vacancies page of our website. The closing date for applications is 19 October 2006.


TRA has recently been commissioned by Hereford & Worcester County & District Planning Officers' Group to develop and deliver a series of six half-day workshops for staff in their authorities.

Three sessions have been delivered so far:

- Planning Policy Statements and the Environment

- Affordable Housing: effective negotiation techniques

- Local Development Documents: issues and emerging best practice.

Feedback from these sessions has been very positive:

Delivered in an interesting way with opportunities to ask questions. Information presented was varied and applicable to DC (very useful). Emma Worley, Wychavon DC

It gave a very practical insight into the LDF process, based on experience, which was good. David Hobbs, Worcester City Council

Very grateful that the presentation was from a local authority planner with relevant experience as opposed to an academic/researcher. Paul Hill, Malvern Hills DC.

The remaining three sessions will be delivered between now and March 2007:

- Planning Obligations: current practice and future prospects

- The Regional Spatial Strategy

- Achieving Quality in Development Control.

Details of the most popular workshops we can deliver on an in-house basis for DC/planning staff can be found on our website. It is also often possible for us to develop bespoke workshops covering other topics which are of particular interest to an authority or group of authorities.

If you would like to discuss the possibility of arranging an in-house training session, please contact Suzanne Waldram.


Wansbeck DC, in Northumberland, is the latest authority to engage TRA to review its development control procedures and to codify them into an online Procedure Guide. The assignment was handled by a TRA team led by Senior Associate Nigel Eveleigh. The review was completed earlier this year and the staff in Wansbeck took delivery of their Procedure Guide in August.

The Procedure Review element of these assignments results in a substantial written report with justified conclusions and key recommendations for change, the implementation of which can have a significant impact on the quality, consistency and speed of development control. The Procedure Guide itself has a number of key benefits including ensuring consistency in the way applications are handled; assisting new or inexperienced staff; and minisiming disruption due to staff changes.

Wansbeck's DC Manager, Jennifer Adamson, said "We consider that the Guide will be very useful in setting out a framework for our work and also giving advice on technical/legal procedures where sometimes, in a small office, we lack the expertise. Although we haven't got to grips with the guide as much as I would have liked just yet, we have already found it useful."

Some basic information on this service is available on our website and a more detailed brochure is available by post on request. It is also possible to view a demonstration version of the Procedure Guide. If you would like to explore things further please feel free to contact Penny O'Shea for an informal discussion.

Please note that we can also produce Procedure Guides for Building Control. Details are available on our website.


As a brand new service to local authorities, TRA is able to deliver briefings/training sessions on the planning system for the benefit of the authority's local agents and/or regular applicants. The purpose of the briefings is to help agents/applicants understand particular aspects of the system better and to be more effective in their engagement with it.

Many local authorities already provide this kind of training but engaging TRA instead eliminates the need for time-consuming preparation on the part of the staff involved and guarantees a professional presentation by people with extensive experience of briefing others on the planning system.

The briefings on offer cover a wide range of topics and can be delivered in a variety of formats (half-day, full-day, plus combinations). Details of all the options available, plus other useful information, can be found in our PDF flier.

If you would like to discuss the possibility of arranging a briefing for your agents/applicants, please contact Penny O'Shea, without obligation.


TRA has been organising conferences on aspects of planning law in association with PEBA (the Planning and Environment Bar Association) for a number of years. The latest event in the series is taking place in London on 26 October and will focus on the thorny issue of the control of advertisements.

There are many grey areas surrounding the control of advertising and various loopholes in the legislation, which make it both difficult and controversial. The Government has had the Regulations under review for several years and has recently consulted on a number of proposed changes. This event is therefore particularly timely.

An excellent panel of speakers from a variety of backgrounds has agreed to take part in the event, including three barristers, a representative from the DCLG, an Advertisment Appeals Inspector, someone with experience of using ASBOs to control flyposting, and a representative from the commercial sector.

The event is accredited for CPD purposes by the Bar Council, the Law Society and the Institute of Legal Executives.

Further details can be viewed here and bookings are invited.


This section of ENews is a way for people who have taken part in the TRA/Cambridge University certificated courses to keep in contact with us and each other. We are keen to keep in touch so please let Shelagh at TRA know if you have any news.

Clare Munday has left Thurrock Council after 9 years to take up a new job with Epping Forest. Clare gained the University's Certificate in Continuing Education for Planning Enforcement back in 2001.

Frances Smith, previously with Nottinghamshire County Council has moved to Derbyshire County Council as Senior Planning Assistant (Enforcement). The new job is closer to home and will give her more time with her little boy. Frances was awarded the Certificate for Planning Enforcement in June this year.

Best of luck to both of them in their new jobs.


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/


You can subscribe or unsubscribe directly from the form below. Alternatively, you can visit the Enews page on our website and manage your subscription from there.

You can also forward this email to a colleague and they can subscribe themselves using this form, or again via the Enews page on our website.


TRA will not share your email address with any third party, and you will only receive occasional emails from TRA. We do not use unsolicited email of any form.