ENews Issue - 22 December 2008

ENews - December 2008

Merry Christmas! - 22/12/08

We would like to wish all our clients, Presenters, Associates and business contacts of all kinds a very Merry Christmas and a happy and successful New Year. We are grateful for all the support we have received during the year and look forward to keeping in touch with you all during 2009.

Just so that we don't distract you too much from eating mince pies, playing Secret Santa, and worrying that you haven't done everything you need to before the big day - we're keeping this issue of ENews fairly short.

If you need to contact us over the holiday period, please note that the TRA office will be open between Christmas and New Year (29-31 December) but will be closed on Friday 2 January.

New TRA Urban Design Forum - 19/12/08

In summer 2009, TRA will be running a new and exciting one-day Forum on Urban Design.

TRA Forums are well established mechanisms for keeping up to date with policy and practice issues, learning about techniques and methodology, and exchanging experience with fellow practitioners in a structured but informal environment. TRA already runs successful and well established Forums on other specialist topics, including planning enforcement and planning support, and we are keen to continue this success with the Urban Design Forum.

The event will take place at the Hilton Hotel, Sheffield on 3 June 2009. Although we anticipate that most delegates will be from local authority planning and development departments, the Forum should also be of interest to those in related disciplines such as regeneration, highways, environment and property. It will be of benefit to those working in both the public sector (including Councillors) and the private sector.

The general theme of the Forum will be about improving the quality of urban design with a focus on sustainability. In view of the current financial situation, there will be an emphasis on sound economics and the need to kick start urban regeneration as well as on pure design quality issues.

Topics will include:

  • design quality at a price
  • local distinctiveness/identity
  • urban planning/masterplaning
  • housing design and sustainability.

Contributors will include:

  • Kevin Murray of Kevin Murray Associates, past president of the RTPI and board member of the Homes and Communities Agency
  • David Rudlin, Director of URBED, Manchester
  • Tom Walker from the Leeds office of the environmental design firm, Gillespies
  • Sheffield City Council - who will explain some of the exciting new public realm and architectural developments in the city and provide a walking tour.

Further details of the Forum will be available early in the New Year and will be circulated to our usual mailing contacts and posted on the website. If you do not normally receive our publicity but would like to receive information on this event please send an email with your contact details to promotion@tra-ltd.co.uk.

TRA review of Development Control in Chelmsford - 19/12/08

TRA has recently completed a review of the DC service at Chelmsford Borough Council, followed by the development of an online DC Procedure Guide. The consultancy team for this latest assignment included Lee Prebble, Mike Muston and Trevor Atkinson.

The unique online Procedure Guide system developed by TRA is now operational in more than 30 local authorities. The content of each Guide is bespoke to the individual authority, incorporating an optimum mixture of established local procedures and generally established good practice. The Guide is a system rather than a fixed document, accessible via a private internet site, enabling the authority's own staff to update it as appropriate at any time.

The development of the Guide is preceded by an in-depth review of all aspects of DC procedures, organisation and resources. The Review element of the assignment is a vital part of the process and culminates in a written report with justified conclusions and key recommendations for change. These recommendations are extremely important and their implementation can have a significant impact on the quality, consistency and speed of development control performance.

Basic details of our DC Review and Procedure Guide service are available on our website.

As well as full-scale reviews of this nature, we can also carry out smaller reviews, focusing on particular elements of the planning/DC process. Our most recent assigment was a review of validation requirements for Dacorum BC.

If you would like to know more about any of our procedural review services please contact Penny O'Shea for further information and a no-obligation discussion.

Good Practice for Planning/DC Committees - 17/12/08

The first in our new series of training workshops for key Councillors involved in Planning/DC Commitees ran on the 8th and 9th of December in York.

The two-day workshop, Good Practice for Planning/Development Control Committees, is aimed principally at Planning Chairs, Vice Chairs and other Councillors significantly involved in planning committees. It can also be of benefit to senior planning, legal and administrative officers who are responsible for managing Committees.

The session in December was attended by 19 Councillors, representing 11 different authorities from across the North and Midlands. It included a very thorough and detailed consideration of delegation schemes which got most participants motivated to have a close look at the way their authorities operate. It also looked at a number of 'grey areas' in the practice at Committee ie aspects for which there is no official good practice guidance - late representations, public speaking rules etc.

Feedback from all the Councillors who took part was positive and their comments included:

  • The workshop style of learning and participating with other members is very good and suitable for all. An excellent way of sharing issues and concerns as well as experiences with Councillors from other authorities. Cllr Dave Pickering, Rotherham MBC
  • Very informative with sound advice and good comments. Good to hear of different practices within other authorities. Cllr Carl Sherwood, North Lincolnshire County Council
  • Very comprehensive presentations. Thought provoking. Cllr Mrs Glynis Barrie.

This particular workshop will be running again on 8 & 9 June 2009 in Cambridge and bookings can be made now.

There are three other workshops running as part of this series during 2009:

  • Securing Community and Infrastructure Funding through planning agreements and related mechanisms (12 & 13 March in Cambridge and 22 & 23 October in York)
  • Effective Planning Enforcement and Compliance (27 & 28 April in York and 29 7 30 October in Cambridge)
  • The Interface between Cabinet/Executive, the Planning Committee and the Planning System (18 & 19 May in York and 23 & 24 November in Cambridge).

Bookings can be made on any of these workshops now and early booking is recommended since our inter-authority workshops for Councillors are usually very popular. Further details of each event, including a leaflet/booking form, can be accessed via the links above or printed leaflets can be sent on request. To reserve a place, please contact Shelagh Pooley.

Madingley news catch up - 16/12/08

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.

Apologies that we haven't featured Madingley News for a while. Here are a few notable achievements from the second half of 2008:

  • From the Planning Support programme - Amy Laurie from Tendring DC, who has just attended her fourth module, is now working as a Planning Officer (she was previously a Customer Services Assistant). She also got married earlier this month - so congratulations on both counts!
  • From the Management programme - Paul Beckett from the City of London Corporation has been promoted from Planning Policy Manager to Policy & Performance Director. Paul received the management certificate in 2006. We wish him all the best in his new role.
  • From the Planning Enforcement Programme - Mark Turner from Wokingham BC (previously with Slough) has been working through the enforcement modules alongside a planning degree. We are delighted to report that he received a 1st class honours degree in Urban and Environmental Planning earlier in the year from London South Bank University.

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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