ENews Issue - 24 March 2010

ENews - March 2010

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.

In this issue:

  • Training workshops for planning and development staff running in May
  • Brand new TRA conference on Development Management
  • Conference for Planning Support Staff - still time to book!
  • Keeping you up to date with changes to PD and validation
  • Got a training budget?... make the most of it with TRA
  • Joint working: a sensible option for enforcement
  • Responses to recent CLG consultations
  • Councillor training roadshow: June & July

Training workshops for planning and development staff running in May - 24/03/10

With the TRA training workshop programme for 2010 getting underway shortly, there is still time to book on the earlier events taking place in May. Workshops with places still available include:

  • Permitted Development - Bristol, 13 May 2010 (also in Manchester, 23 November 2010)

The purpose of this workshop is to help participants develop the knowledge and confidence essential in dealing with this complex aspect of the planning process. The workshop has been updated to reflect the changes to PD, recently announced by CLG, which come into effect on 6 April 2010.

  • Writing Effective Policies in the Local Development Framework - Bristol, 13 May 2010

This workshop explores the most effective and practical means of expressing policies within the various elements of the LDF. It is crucial to get this right if the policies are to be clearly understood, applied and implemented through the control process and other mechanisms. Aspects covered include general principles and their application including relevance, precision and "plain English ", and more specific issues associated with writing Core, Action Plan and other policies.

  • Housing Design and Layout - Manchester, 20 May 2010

This recently developed workshop aims to pull together the various means by which planners and design officers can influence housing design and layout, helping to achieve distinctive, sustainable and life enhancing places for people to live. The workshop includes an opportunity to look at well-known examples of best practice and consider their positive and negative aspects, and to share experience and issues.

Further details including a downloadable leaflet/booking form for each of the workshops are available on the website via the relevants links above. Provisional bookings can be made to reserve places either by telephone on 01204 385678 or via the provisional bookings page on our website.

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Brand new TRA conference on Development Management - 24/03/10

Details are currently being finalised for our brand new Development Management Conference which will take place in Manchester on Wednesday 7 July.

The conference is particularly timely, given the recent publication of the draft PPS and advisory note on Development Management by the Department of Communities and Local Government; and will be a "must" for all those thinking about or already moving towards development management.

Topics covered will include:

  • the "mechanics" of moving from development control to development management in both metropolitan and rural districts
  • a perspective of development management and how it fits in with wider LDF and LSP objectives, and
  • how and why the Planning Officers' Society has led the drive towards this more proactive approach to planning.

Two facilitated discussion sessions will also provide the opportunity to debate how the culture of organisations will need to change, and what processes/procedures will be required to facilitate the move to Development Management. The opportunity to network with other practitioners and exchange experience during these sessions will be invaluable.

Full details of the event will be available shortly and will be posted on the website and circulated to our usual mailing contacts. In the meantime, you can book a place by contacting Shelagh Pooley or reserve one provisionally using our online provisional bookings facility.

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Conference for Planning Support Staff - still time to book! - 23/03/10

A number of places are still available on our forthcoming Conference for Planning Support Staff due to take place in London on 29 April 2010.

TRA works to support all staff contributing to planning service delivery and amongst other things, has been organising this annual conference since 1990. The event represents a unique and extremely valuable opportunity for those involved in planning support to meet with colleagues from other authorities, exchange experience and learn a lot about current best practice. Past participants have stressed the usefulness of the advice and ideas they have been able to take back to their authority, and some of their comments have included:

"The event was very informative and gave a broad base for support staff to build on in their own authorities" Kathie Batley, North East Derbyshire District Council

"Very well run and organised. These conferences are invaluable, not only in the planned sessions, but in the discussion with other delegates" Sarah Burningham, Canterbury City Council

"The conference answered lots of questions and gave me a lot to take back to discuss" Catherine Morton, South Cambridgeshire District Council

Topics to be covered this time include:

  • The future of planning in these uncertain times: examining both the "big picture", and what it means for those at grass roots level
  • Improving the planning service: insights and lessons learnt by Dudley Council
  • Pro-active planning: how to progress from "Development Control" to " Development Management"

Further details of the topics to be covered and who will be speaking at the conference can be found on our website. Bookings can be made using the downloadable leaflet/booking form or places can be reserved provisionally by telephoning 01204 385678 or via our online provisional bookings facility.

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Keeping you up to date with changes to PD and validation - 22/03/10

As expected, March has seen a flurry of legislative and policy changes on Permitted Development and Validation in England emanating from CLG, all of which will come into effect on 6th April 2010.

TRA has been actively responding to the relevant consultations from CLG and has taken the changes on board in order to ensure that all of our workshops are up-to-date. Two of the sessions in particular that have been updated are the extremely popular Permitted Development workshop and the specialist workshop for experienced administrative and technical staff on Supporting the Processing of Planning Applications, both of which are available on either an inter-authority and in-house basis.

For a limited period, we are also able to offer an in-house "update" workshop (half-day or full-day) on the changes to Permitted Development, information requirements for applications and validation procedures, and the other annexes that will form part of the new Planning Policy Statement on Developmen t Management.

If the current squeeze on training budgets is a problem for your authority, one popular option is to run in-house training jointly with neighbouring authorities. This can be the most cost-effective way of providing CPD for your staff, in an environment where local knowledge and experience can be shared.

For more information about this new in-house "update" workshop, including an outline programme, please feel free to contact Angela Holmes without obligation.

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Got a training budget?... make the most of it with TRA - 19/03/10

We all know that when money is tight, as it is at the moment in local government, it can be really difficult to hold on to a budget for training. However, staff training and development is essential for organisations wishing to continually improve their services, increase efficiency, and retain their existing employees; it should be seen as an investment and neglecting it can lead to major problems in the future.

At TRA, we have always offered high quality, practically oriented training at competitive prices and we pride ourselves on offering really good value for money. Below is a sample of prices (per person) for 1-day training events for planning and development staff during 2010.

TRA Professional Workshop

Standard price


Discounted price* £183 TRA Professional Update/Conference

Standard price


Discounted price* £140 TRA In-house workshop

Standard one-day workshop from as little as


RTPI Conference Series (1-day events)

Non-member price


Member price £389 Cheapest price (when you book 25 places) £280 UWE Short Course Standard price £200 (no VAT)

* a 15% discount is available when booking six or more places at the same time across any number of events.

As you can see, TRA workshops are extremely competitively priced and, we believe, the best quality events around. If you have attended our events in the past you will already be aware of this and we hope you will continue to support our training programmes. If you haven't used TRA for training before, take a look at some of the feedback from people who have, and why not give us a try?

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Joint working: a sensible option for enforcement - 19/03/10

TRA has championed enforcement officers and the work that they do for many years. Through our training programmes (certificated courses, workshops and Forums) and reviews of planning organisation and procedures, we know all too well that enforcement remains largely under-funded and a low priority. However, we also know that without re-prioritising the role of enforcement, local authorities will be unable to move towards development management and will not be able to place the monitoring of development at the heart of the planning process.

It is our view that in many cases joint or reciprocal working with other authorities could be part of the answer. TRA is therefore able to offer assistance to those local authorities who are in the early stages of considering this type of working, through to those who are actually looking to implement a joint or reciprocal working arrangement.

Based on our extensive experience and knowledge of planning enforcement, we can undertake initial evaluations to see whether this could work for your authority or assist with the detailed working arrangements of how a scheme could operate in practice.

Given the number of potential variables in any one assignment (how many authorities involved, their size, what stage the idea is at etc), we would need to provide an individual quotation for each enquiry. If joint working in enforcement is something you have already been considering or if it sounds like an option that might be useful for your authority then please feel free to get in touch without obligation. Please contact Penny O'Shea in the first instance, for a basic discussion of your circumstances and requirements, and we'll take it from there.

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Responses to recent CLG consultations - 19/03/10

As part of our role in supporting the planning service and contributing to its improvement, TRA regularly responds to consultation papers issued by central government and other organisations. The combined experience and expertise of TRA and all its Associates and Presenters in the management and operation of the planning system makes us ideally qualified to comment on proposed changes.

We have recently responded to three consultations from the Department of Communities and Local Government (CLG):

  • Development Management: proactive planning from pre-application to delivery
  • Improving Engagement by Statutory and Non-Statutory Consultees
  • Improving the use and Discharge of Planning Conditions

We have also submitted some comments on the consultation on Model Planning Conditions issued by the Planning Inspectorate.

Our consultation responses are published in the Advice and Opinion section of our website, under Consultation Responses, for you to view.

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Councillor training roadshow: June & July - 16/03/10

Earlier this year we announced that two of our most popular workshops for Councillors involved in planning - A Briefing on Planning for Councillors and The Role of Councillors in Planning: propriety and good practice - will be going "on tour" shortly after the 2010 local elections. With 6 May fast approaching and limited places available we recommend that you reserve your places soon to avoid missing out.

If you know you will definitely want to send one or more Councillors along, but don't know at this stage exactly who they will be, that's fine - you can still make a booking and let us know the participants' names later. If you are less sure, you can always register your interest by making a provisional booking, without obligation, and we will contact you when the events are nearly full so that you can decide whether you want to make a confirmed booking. In either case, please contact Shelagh Pooley.

All the details, including dates, venues, leaflets/booking forms etc are available on our website.

Although the timing will make the workshops particularly attractive to new members of Committee, attendance is by no means restricted and any Councillor with an involvement in planning can attend. These workshops are normally only delivered on an in-house basis for individual authorities, so this roadshow represents an ideal opportunity for:

  • authorities where only a few Councillors currently need training
  • authorities wanting to "test-run" a workshop with a view to possibly running them in-house at a later stage
  • Councillors who may have missed out on in-house training for any reason
  • Councillors who want to meet and share experience with colleagues from other authorities.

If you are looking to train a larger number of Councillors, perhaps the whole Committee, then in-house training is likely to be a much more cost-effective option for you. Further information is available on our website or you can contact Angela Holmes to discuss your requirements.

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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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