ENews Issue - 26 August 2005

ENews - August 2005

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 recently produced an Online Procedure Guide relating to Building Control procedures for South Oxfordshire District Council. This is our second such project (a similar guide was developed for East Dorset District Council earlier this year).

We are now keen to expand this area of our business and would be pleased to hear from authorities who might be interested. We will outline what is involved and arrange for an on-site demonstration of the Online Guide.

Key features of this service are:

  • the guide is developed in an online format, on what is in effect a private internet site, and handed over to the authority as an active system for them to maintain themselves as they develop and review their procedures

  • we develop the Guide to reflect local procedures; where these are documented we incorporate them and where they are not we work with staff locally to systematise them

  • the s ystem is designed to meet the requirements of ISO 900:2001 for Building Control. Operational procedures are specified in detail and the Guide also incorporates appropriate Quality Management procedures.

  • If you would like further information please contact Penny O'Shea.


We are currently finalising our 2006 workshop programme for England and Wales and details will be posted on the website in the next couple of weeks.

The programme will include workshops on four brand new topics. There will be an introduction to minerals and waste development control for professional staff relatively new to the field; a practical guide to interpreting the Environmental Impact Assessment regulations; a workshop on effective pre-application discussions; and a session for DC managers/team leaders looking at the legislative requirements underpinning administrative procedures in development control.

If you would like information on any of these new workshops once they are available you can keep an eye on the website or contact TRA and we will send the details out to you in due course. Alternatively, you can sign up to our mailing list via the website.


TRA has been organising an annual programme of workshops on behalf of NATO, the National Association of Tree Officers, since 2000. The programme is aimed at all those involved with trees in both the public and private sectors and has proved very popular.

At this stage, there are still places available on some of the workshops running towards the end of the year:

Disease and Decay in Trees - 22 November in York.

Tree Hazard and Risk Assessment - 8 December in Manchester.

Tree Related Subsidence: advanced claim handling - 8 December in Manchester.

Prompt booking is recommended. Please contact Shelagh Pooley for a leaflet or to make a booking. Our website also includes a provisional booking facility.

We are currently preparing the NATO programme for 2006. Details will be available shortly and will be posted on our website and circulated to our usual mailing contacts.


Preparing Written Representation Appeals is a one-day workshop available exclusively from TRA on an in-house basis. It can be run for individual authorities or for a group of neighbouring authorities.

Roughly three quarters of all appeals are dealt with on the basis of "Written Reps". It is therefore essential for practitioners to appreciate the importance of good preparation in order to maximise their chances of success with this type of appeal. This practical workshop is designed to help participants improve the way they approach this important process and in particular to produce more effective appeal statements. It also looks in detail at guidance prepared by the RTPI and the Planning Inspectorate. The workshop is suitable for both those who already have some experience of appeal work and relative newcomers.

The workshop is presented by David Kaiserman. David is one of TRA's Senior Associates and a highly experienced workshop presenter.

If you would like further information or to arrange a workshop please contact Sharon Collier. You can also visit our website for details of all our in-house training for Development Control.


TRA has recently introduced a new topic to its range of Councillor training - handling the media. This half-day workshop is designed to develop members' skills in handling the media - press, radio and television - especially when dealing with planning issues. The workshop will include exercises aimed at improving personal presentation, and one or two surprises - just like real life!

The workshop is presented by Peter Lerner, one of TRA's Senior Associates. Peter has many years' experience in local government as both Head of Service (Chief Executive) and Director of Planning. He has written for a large number of magazines and periodicals and has chaired local and regional advisory councils for the BBC.

Topics covered during the session include:

  • proactive media: promoting good news, how and where to obtain coverage

  • reactive media: dealing with bad news, avoidin g pitfalls

  • distinguishing between political advantage and the official line

  • skills in dealing with the press - local and national

  • skills in dealing with local radio - phone-ins and interviews

  • skills in dealing with television and national media

  • how should I sound, how should I look?

  • when to leave it to the officers.

  • Details of the range of other topics we can cover can be found on our website under Training for Councillors. If you would like further information please contact Sharon Collier.


As part of its popular series of workshops for planning support staff, TRA is now offering a brand new workshop, Supporting the Historic Environment Regime, presented by Vivien Green, one of our most experienced presenters.

This one-day workshop is aimed at experienced support staff and provides a legal and policy context for dealing with applications relating to the Historic Environment. It will develop participants' knowledge and understanding of the different requirements in processing applications for listed building and conservation area consent and deal with issues such as when consent is required; the type of consent(s) required; the curtilage of a listed building; and the consequences of breaching listed building control. The workshop will enable participants to develop their expertise and deal with any areas of concern.

The workshop was success fully piloted earlier this year for Arun District Council. Feedback from staff there was very positive:

It was extremely informative. The presentation was clear and easy to understand, despite the broad range of issues covered. The group work and informal nature of the workshop kept the day interesting.

It provided a very good broad look at all aspects of Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas.

It was good to understand my part in the bigger picture.

This topic is available exclusively on an in-house basis and can be delivered for an individual authority or group of neighbouring authorities. If you would like further information on this workshop or any of the others in the Training for Support Staff series please contact Sharon Collier.


We are very pleased to announce the appointment of four new Senior Associates. They are:

Peter Lerner, who is involved in Councillor training, training for support staff, and DC Procedure Review/Procedure Guide assignments.

Simon Rowberry, who is part of our Councillor training team and is involved in the development of Procedure Guides for Building Control.

Philippa Jarvis, who is involved in training for officers and is part of our DC Procedure Review/Procedure Guide team.

Nigel Eveleigh, who works on DC Procedure Review/Procedure Guide assignments and is a member of our Councillor training team.


As part of our series of workshops on urban design topics, TRA offers a one-day workshop for those looking to develop an awareness of urban design issues and some of the basic skills.

Basic Principles of Urban Design is suitable for planning staff at any level and no previous urban design knowledge or experience is required. It is a practical workshop (involving some hands-on exercises during the afternoon), run by Ian Bentley, an urban designer with an international reputation.

By the end of the workshop participants will be able to:

  • understand the spirit and purpose of urban design

  • understand key qualities of built environments in urban design terms

  • understand how physical design can be used to enhance these qualities in practice
  • .

    The workshop is next running in York on 15 September and there are still places available. Please contact Shelagh Pooley for further information or to reserve a place. Prompt booking is strongly recommended.


Stewart Glassar joined TRA on 1 August to take up the new post of Planning Manager. Stewart was previously a Principal Planner with responsibilities for major minerals and waste developments and enforcement at East Sussex County Council. He is 39, originally from Brighton, and gained his degree in planning from the University of Dundee. Having worked for planning consultancies based in the south east of England, Stewart moved to Wales in 1993 to work for Vale of Glamorgan Council in their busy Development Control section.

However, a lack of decent football teams eventually lead to his return to Brighton in 2000 were he was once again able to support his home town club. Apart from playing and watching football, Stewart is a keen cinema and theatre goer. However, at the moment, most of his spare time is spent on the house he and his partner bought last year and are slowly modernising.

As well as being TRA's main source of advice on planning issues g enerally, Stewart will be directly involved in procedural consultancy assignments and in the design and delivery of training courses.


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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