ENews Issue - 30 June 2009

ENews - June 2009

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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In this issue:

  • New Management Development series
  • Briefings and updates for Councillors involved in planning
  • Book early for September workshops!
  • New workshop on Advertisement Control now available
  • Successful first Forum on Planning Agreements
  • Trevor Roberts says farewell

New Management Development series - 30/06/09

Achieving corporate or community objectives cannot be done single-handedly and managing staff, budgets and resources to achieve these objectives is a challenge that requires both knowledge and skills. Most local authorities expect their more senior professional staff to not only be specialists in their own field but also to be at least competent managers of others. However, they don't necessarily provide them with opportunities to develop a basic understanding of managerial concepts and skills.

To try to bridge this knowledge and skills gap, TRA has developed a new programme of one-day Management Development workshops, aimed specifically at planners and those in related disciplines.

The workshops are available exclusively on an in-house basis and the programme is flexible so that authorities can either take an "overview" approach by choosing our one-day Professionals Becoming Managers workshop, which covers seven key elements of the management process, or focus in on specific elements by going for one or all of our more detailed one-day workshops covering:

  • Supervision and Leadership
  • Negotiation Skills
  • Developing and Managing Teams
  • Personal and Organisational Effectiveness
  • Managing Customer Expectations.

The workshop programme has been developed and is being delivered by Senior Planning Consultant Chris Weetman, who is also the key Course Tutor on TRA's certificated course in management concepts and skills.

Further details on the series can be found on our website. You can also contact Penny O'Shea for further information or to discuss your requirements.

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Briefings and updates for Councillors involved in planning - 29/06/09

As usual at this time of the year, TRA's team of Councillor training presenters have been busy delivering lots of training for members, especially in those authorities where there have been elections. Workshop sessions have recently been delivered for Mid Devon, Cambridgeshire County and Derbyshire County councils and for the new authorities in Central Bedfordshire and Cornwall.

But even if you haven't had elections this time round, now is still a good time to consider the options on offer to help your members develop their understanding of the planning process. TRA offers a comprehensive range of day and half-day workshops on planning related topics of particular interest to members. Topics include enforcement, planning appeals, and planning obligations and agreements, and a full list of our Briefings on Specific Aspects of Planning can be found on our website.

A new addition to the list of topics available from TRA is Trees and the Planning Process for elected members. Delivered over half a day, the workshop will normally include a short site visit to look at trees locally and covers the following:

  • a background to the relevant legislation
  • tree reports submitted with planning applications
  • opportunities for landscape improvements
  • effective planning conditions
  • the importance of site supervision by consultants
  • opportunities for community involvement.

For further information on any of our training workshops for Councillors or to discuss your requirements please contact Penny O'Shea.

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Book early for September workshops! - 29/06/09

The first half of the TRA Training Programmes for Planning and Development Practitioners 2009 in both England and Scotland have now come to an end for the Summer break. However, the programmes will resume again in September and now is a good time to reserve places on the courses you are interested in. Some of the early workshops running in September on which places are currently available are listed below:

  • An Introduction to Development Management - Edinburgh, 17 September 2009
  • An Introduction to Development Control - York, 22 September 2009

This practical workshop is designed for professional staff relatively new to development management/control. It provides an overview of how the planning process works in practice and a step-by-step guide to dealing with planning applications. Participants have the opportunity to discuss issues informally and test their skills in a practical way through consideration of case studies.

  • Planning Enforcement: an essential update - Edinburgh, 17 September 2009

This workshop on enforcement is designed for anyone with an interest in planning enforcement, not just Enforcement Officers, but also their managers and planning officers who may get involved with enforcement issues from time to time. This unique and practical workshop will look at how the new legislative and policy frameworks are being shaped and implemented and how this relates to day-to-day enforcement practices. As always, this workshop will provide an opportunity to discuss matters of general concern and share working experiences.

  • Effective Pre-application Discussions - York, 22 September 2009

The government continues to emphasise the importance of pre-application discussions to assist in providing quality outcomes. This practical workshop is aimed at all those involved in the negotiation of planning submissions and highlights the various ways in which discussions can be undertaken, the importance of identifying the relevant issues early in the process, and how negotiations can be made more effective and successful.

Further details and booking forms for each of these workshops can be found by following the above links. Provisonal bookings can be made via the provisional bookings page of our website or by telephone. There is still time to make a block booking and obtain a 15% discount by booking 6 or more places across any number of events remaining in the 2009 programme. Details of the other events available in both our England and Scotland programmes can be found on our website.

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New workshop on Advertisement Control now available - 19/06/09

TRA is now offering a new one-day workshop on Advertisement Control. The workshop is available on an in-house basis for authorities (or groups of authorities) in England, Scotland and Wales.

Advertisement Control is an increasingly important yet often misunderstood part of the planning process. The main purpose of the current regime is to help everyone involved in the display of outdoor advertising to contribute positively to the appearance of an attractive and cared-for environment in cities, towns and the countryside. A good working knowledge of the Regulations is therefore invaluable whether you are providing pre-application advice, dealing with applications for consent, or investigating breaches of control.

This new workshop provides a clear insight into the complexities of the Regulations using real life examples at each stage. The workshop is suitable for staff working in development control/management, enforcement or planning support. Specific aspects covered include:

  • what is an advertisement?
  • advertisements not covered by the Regulations
  • deemed and express consents
  • Areas of Special Control
  • advertisement enforcement
  • flyposting.

Commissioning an in-house workshop from TRA is a particularly cost-effective way of providing training and it is very simple to do. Training can be organised for a single authority or for a group of authorities jointly (an option which is becoming increasingly popular with our clients). In-house workshops can cost from as little as £88 per person.

Details of the full range of in-house training available from TRA can be found on our website, including workshops on: Development Control and Enforcement, Planning Support, Planning Inquiries/Examinations, Urban Design, Planning Obligations and Agreements, Planning for Building Control and Planning for Agents/Applicants.

For further information on in-house training on Advertisement Control or any other topic please contact Penny O'Shea without obligation.

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Successful first Forum on Planning Agreements - 17/06/09

The 10th June at the Staff House Conference Centre in Manchester saw the first ever TRA Forum on Planning Agreements, with over 50 attendees enjoying a wide-ranging series of contributions from speakers from a number of different backgrounds.

As the Forum was held in uncertain economic times, this provided a continuing theme throughout the day. Stephen Hill, Senior Planning Manager with ATLAS opened the day with a pragmatic analysis of how the economic downturn has affected negotiations of Section 106 contributions, with the key word being "flexibility". Katy Phillips, Planning Obligations Officer with The City Of London showed how obligations monies could be used in a primarily urban environment and urged that the key to success was the early involvement of Section 106 officers in policy making and negotiations.

The three parallel session speakers, Garry Payne (Wyre BC), Sharon Brown (Cambridge City Council), and solicitor Frank Orr (Dickinson Dees), all provided thoughtful insights into how wide-ranging the Section 106 obligations regime is. Garry, who is Director of Planning and Regeneration, concentrated on how, with limited resources, a small rural/coastal authority can still draw in huge amounts of community contributions through the positive use of Planning Performance Agreements. Sharon, who is Major Developments Manager, demonstrated both the effort involved and the benefits accruing from having robust, flexible and well thought-out policies to back up Section 106 requirements. Frank gave a thoroughly entertaining tour of the legal side of Section 106 agreements and some interesting case law to give food for thought.

To round the day off, Leonora Rozee, Deputy Chief Executive of the Planning Inspectorate, provided a timely reminder that the Planning Inspectorate takes the approach that a robust evidence base must be in place to support all requirements for Section 106 contributions and highlighted Cambridge City as an example of how to "do it well". All in all a very satisfying and well received event as the following comments/quotes demonstrate:

  • Broadening knowledge of other practices adopted by other authorities is essential in having a balanced view of your own policies. This TRA course helps in achieving this. Kevin Walton, Kirklees Council
  • A great networking opportunity. Good to hear others' problems and solutions in delivering in this area of work. Nicola Hamilton, St Helens MBC
  • Not attended a TRA event before - very impressed. Alison Freeman, Emery Planning Partnership
  • I have only been in the position of s106 officer for 3 weeks. I found all the content to be extremely helpful and it was great to speak to officers from other authorities. Laura Sharman, Doncaster MBC.

The intention is to make this Forum an annual event and the date of the next Forum will be publicised as soon as it has been fixed. In the meantime, we offer a range of other training options in relation planning obligations and agreements and details are on our website.

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Trevor Roberts says farewell - 11/06/09

I retire from active involvement in TRA on 30 June 2009, after 25 years hard at it, building up and working in the company, remaining only as non-executive Chairman. This is a long planned move. TRA will continue to operate just as it has in the last few years, with the existing team of staff, associates and presenters, headed by Penny O'Shea.

Many people have asked what I intend to do in "retirement". The main answer is - nothing to do with what I have been doing for the last 25 years!

But for those worried about me being bored and frustrated, I have a few plans about what to do with any time left over from my family (first priority); touring obscure parts of Europe; my village, Threlkeld in Cumbria (where for some years I have been a Parish Councillor, Chairman of the Village Hall Committee promoting a £1 million renewal scheme, editor of the village newsletter); reading (a long list recently neglected); films (Keswick Film Club); continued research into the East Highland malts (based at the Pot Still University, Glasgow); fell walking in the Lake District (I have just finished the 214 Wainrights for the second time, but have various local ambitions) etc.

These plans include:

  • my wife Jane and I fancy learning Italian up to a passable standard and are looking into doing moderately intensive courses at a series of levels in various places in Italy, which looks like fun
  • I have in the last couple of weeks become a Board member/trustee of the Brathay Exploration Group, with a view to assuming the Chair position later this year - an active voluntary role since the Group needs someone with my sorts of skills and experience to pull it together and take it forward; the BEG is a long established organisation based in the Lake District which organises challenging expeditions for young people, led by experienced BEG members, to various parts of the world such as South America, Nepal, Tanzania, the Pyrenees, Greenland, Norway, Corsica, Scotland - see their website if you are interested www.brathayexploration.org.uk.

So don't worry about me! Many thanks to everyone who has contributed in ways large and small to my immensely interesting career in planning, local government and TRA.


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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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