ENews Issue - 31 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.

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TRA has been offering a workshop on Appearing at Hearings for several years and we have noticed a steady increase in demand for this particular topic. The workshop held in York earlier this month was fully booked and feedback from participant was very positive:

The workshop was well presented and clear. It has provided a clearer understanding of how to progress in Hearings. Andrew Morrow, Alnwick Council.

It provided a good theory and practical balance, providing an excellent opportunity to participate and ask questions. Jacqui Jackson, South Norfolk DC

An excellent way to experience a hearing before being in a "real" situation - very valuable. Emma Newton, Spawforths

The workshop will feature again in our 2007 workshop programme, running in London on 23 May and Manchester on 13 November. Please see our website for further details.

Alternatively, this workshop is one of a number we are happy to deliver on an in-house basis for an individual authority or a group of authorities. This can be a particularly convenient and cost-effective option. For details of how in-house training is organised please see our website. Please also feel free to contact Suzanne Waldram if you are interested in the possibility of organising an in-house workshop on this or any other topic.


A quick update for those of you eagerly awaiting the launch of the Planning Administrators' Network. The website which will form the hub of the network is currently being developed and we hope to be able to launch the Network in November.

Membership of the Network will be free and on an individual basis so it will be well worth joining in order to benefit from this unique opportunity to share experience and best practice with colleagues from all over the UK.

The website will offer facilities such as:

- latest news

- interactive discussion forums

- advance publicity on training events etc.

If you would like us to notify you when the network is launched please visit www.PlanningAdministratorsNetwork.co.uk and register your interest.


The 2007 programme of workshops for Scotland is currently being finalised and details will be available very shortly.

As well as repeats of many of our most popular workshops, the new programme will include a brand new workshop on Financial Appraisal. The session will equip participants with the techniques needed to make some degree of financial appraisal of proposals as well as an understanding of how commercial developers operate in this respect. It will be of benefit to planners in development control and others involved in regeneration, implementation and aspects of forward planning where commercial assessments are relevant.

In the meantime, there are just a few places left on some of the workshops taking place in November and December this year:

Preparing Committee Reports and Appeal Statements

Basic Principles of Urban Design

An Introduction to Development Control.

Please contact Shelagh Pooley if you would like to reserve a place.


A useful feature of the TRA DC Procedure Guide is a link to a news/update service which draws to the authority's attention any key changes in legislation and guidance which could have implications for development control procedures and also highlights useful features/improvements in the Guide software system.

If you have access to an online DC Procedure Guide developed by TRA, you can access the news/update service at any time, provided you are logged in to your Guide. You just need to click on the TRA Update Service link towards the bottom left of your Homepage. Please note that this service can only be accessed directly from a Procedure Guide.


Kirklees MBC is the latest authority to commission 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 Sue Glover. The Review was completed earlier this year and the Procedure Guide was handed over to Kirklees staff at the beginning of October.

The service offered by TRA is unique in combining an in depth review of DC performance, procedures, management, staff structures and resources/capacity with the production of a comprehensive online Procedure Guide for DC tailored to the particular structure and procedures of the individual client authority.

Key benefits of the Procedure Guide include:

- helping to ensure consistency in the handling of planning applications

- assisting new or inexperienced staff, providing support for training in techniques and procedures

- providing a template against which any complaints or investigations can be assessed

- helping to minise disruption due to staff changes

- providing guidance on procedures which are less frequently used, to minimise re-inventing the wheel.

A brochure providing considerable detail on the both the Review and Procedure Guide elements of this service is available on request. Some basic information is available on our website, including a link to a demonstration version of the DC Procedure Guide. A list of previous clients can also be accessed via the website.

If you would like to know more about this unique service please feel free to contact Penny O'Shea for an informal discussion, without obligation.


The latest TRA Forum on Enforcement took place earlier this month and was a sell-out event once again, receiving excellent feedback from participants:

Excellent content, have taken away several matters to use and re-address working practices within my authority. Gaynor Richards, East Staffordshire BC

Excellent as usual - the best way to keep up to date with developments in the enforcement world. Darren Ridley, Newcastle City Council

Very useful and rewarding. An excellent refresher. Sue Taylor, Bolsover DC

Excellent event, yet again. Most enjoyable and interesting. Karen Morville, Burnley BC

Another thoroughly relevant and thought provoking event - raising the bar further! Dave McGowan, Lake District NPA

Because TRA is particularly committed to providing training for those involved in enforcement, the decision was made after the 2005 Forum that there should be two of these events each year, allowing even more people to attend. In line with this, the next Forum is scheduled for Tuesday 27 March 2007 in Warrington.

We always do our best to ensure that the coverage of the Forum is as topical as possible. If you would like to suggest a particular topic for next March's event please feel free to email Enforcement Forum. Obviously, we can't promise to follow up on all suggestions but we do appreciate your input.


TRA's 2007 programme of training for planning and development practitioners in England and Wales has now been launched.

Brochures are currently being circulated to our usual mailing contacts and details are available on the website (click here). You can also print off a handy programme summary (PDF format).

As well as many of our most popular courses, this latest programme features 7 brand new workshops:

The Basics of Planning

The Essential Elements of Development Control Support

Effective Planning and Enforcement Site Visits

Financial Appraisal

Writing Effective Policies in the Local Development Framework

Establishing a Robust Evidence Base for Planning Policy

Effective Monitoring of Policy Implementation

Our popular discounted block booking scheme is also continuing for 2007, enabling you to get a 15% discount when booking six or more places at the same time (spread over any number of events).

If you would like a copy of the 2007 programme brochure or further details of any individual events please get in touch. Many of our events fill up very quickly so early booking is advised. It is possible to provisionally reserve places by telephone or via the provisional booking facility on the website.


Details are now available of a brand new training programme developed by TRA which is aimed at elected members in local government.

TRA has over 15 years' experience in training Councillors involved in the planning system. This brand new programme is aimed at all Councillors - Cabinet members, Scrutiny Committee members, chairs and convenors, and "backbenchers". The workshops are designed to equip Councillors to fulfil their difficult roles effectively; to maximise their impact; and, crucially, to enjoy the job.

The programme is divided into two separate mini-series:

* The Councillors' Toolkit - a series of workshops aimed at equipping all Councillors with the knowledge and skills to handle their roles competently, correctly and effectively.

* Executive Briefings - a series of workshops aimed principally at key portfolio holders, to assist them handle their role and functions in an informed manner, so that they can contribute fully and effectively in their Cabinet/Executive.

A brochure, providing details of the new programme as a whole, will be available shortly and can be downloaded in PDF format from our website - download. This includes details of our highly experienced team of presenters; venues and dates; costs etc. Details of individual workshops are also available here.

Since this series is aimed at all Councillors, 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 Member Services department.


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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