ENews Issue - 22 July 2010

ENews - July 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.

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In this issue:

  • Next opportunity to join certificated enforcement programme
  • September workshops in England and Scotland
  • The Planning Admin Network - not just for admin staff
  • Conference for Planning Support Staff (Manchester) - details available
  • Financial appraisal: improve your understanding of how developers work
  • New half-day workshops for support staff on enforcement and adverts
  • Development Management Conference highlights opportunities and challenges
  • Enforcement Forum - advance details and "early bird" discount




Next opportunity to join certificated enforcement programme - 22/07/10

Although it is not essential, we do recommend that most people wanting to join TRA's Certificated Programme in Planning Enforcement should begin with the module entitled Key Principles of Planning and Enforcement, which is generally seen as the "introductory" module. The next opportunity to attend this module will be in October/November this year and there are a few places still available. If you would like to attend, prompt booking is recommended as attendance is strictly limited to 12 students.

The module will take place at Madingley Hall, Cambridge on 4-5 October and 15-16 November 2010. It provides an excellent introduction to enforcement, ideally suited to staff new to enforcement, whether qualified or not, who need to learn quickly in order to get on with the job. It is also of great benefit to established enforcement staff who may not previously have had much specific training, giving them a good framework for their practical experience. It is a valuable, though not essential, foundation for other modules. Full details of this module and the enforcement programme as a whole can be found on our website.

For further information or to reserve your place on the October/November module please contact Shelagh Pooley.

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September workshops in England and Scotland - 22/07/10

TRA's inter-authority workshop programmes are now taking a break for the summer but will be back before you know it, with events starting again in late September. There are four workshops running in September, two in our England & Wales programme and two in our Scotland programme and places are currently available on these events.

Edinburgh - 23 September

  • Design in Development Management: adding value to mainstream applications
  • Certificates of Lawfulness: what are they and how should they be handled?

York - 30 September

  • The Basics of Planning Enforcement
  • Appearing at Hearings

For full details of these events, including what they will cover and what previous attendees have said, just click on the relevant link. Our website also provides details of all the remainig 2010 workshops for England & Wales and for Scotland.

Workshop places are priced at just £215 plus VAT but don't forget that all of these events are eligible for our discounted block booking schemes - save 15% when you book 6 or more places across either the England & Wales or the Scotland programme.

If you would like to reserve a place you can either download and return a booking form to us or, if you're not quite ready to book yet, you can reserve a place provisionally for a limited period either by telephone or via our online bookings facility.

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The Planning Admin Network - not just for admin staff - 21/07/10

It might sound like it, but you don't have to work in a planning admin/support role to be a member of PAN - the Planning Admin Network. Whatever your role, if you are interested in the way in which the planning process is administered (in England, Scotland or Wales), then PAN is likely to be a useful resource for you.

Originally set up in 2006 as a network for "Planning Administrators", PAN has evolved slightly over time and its membership now includes a number of staff in other planning roles who are keen to keep up to date with developments and have access, via the Discussion Forum, to colleagues in other organisations who are facing similar issues.

One of the most useful features of the network is the PAN News page. It is packed with information, especially concerning changes to legislation etc, and interesting articles on a range of planning-related matters and is updated and circulated on a monthly basis. Its content is co-ordinated by TRA Senior Associate Vivien Green, who many of our readers will have come across in the past. To access PAN News you need to be a member but it's free to join and only takes a minute to sign up online (see below). To give you an idea of the sorts of things included in PAN News, you can download a PDF copy of the April and July 2010 issues now.

To find out more you can visit the PAN website. To join PAN now just click here. If you have any queries or comments about PAN please contact Angela Holmes.

PAN Survey - In order to find out what people think about PAN and how it could be developed/improved, we are currently conducting a brief online survey (max 5 minutes) of PAN members, so if you are already a member but haven't yet completed the survey please login to the Discussion Forum asap for details of how to take part - responses needed by 16 August.

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Conference for Planning Support Staff (Manchester) - details available - 20/07/10

The programme for our next Conference for Planning Support Staff has now been finalised. The event will take place in Manchester on 28 September. Details are currently being circulated to our mailing contacts and are available on our website.

We know that budgets are tight so we have introduced some discounts for this event. Basically, the earlier you book and the more places you book - the more money you can save:

  • 1 place = £165 plus VAT
  • 2 places = £155 plus VAT each
  • 3 or more places = £140 plus VAT each.

Plus - Bookings received by 5pm on Friday 13 August will automatically receive a 10% discount on these prices.

With new ideas for planning coming from the coalition government and major budget cuts looming, the next few years promise to be the most challenging phase in what is proving to be an extended period of change and reform. This Conference aims to the help support staff understand both "the big picture" in terms of change and, more crucially, what it will mean in detail for them and the way they work.

It can sometimes take a while for news and information, especially regarding forthcoming changes, to filter through to support staff - by which time there's not always a lot you can do to influence how things turn out in your authority. But this conference will put you ahead of the game. Support staff will continue to be essential in delivering an effective and efficient planning service and we believe that they need to take an active role if local authorities are to prosper in these changing times.

You can download a PDF leaflet and booking form from our website. If you would like to book more than 1 place and receive a discount you will need to complete our special booking form. Provisional bookings can be made by telephone or via our online booking system but don't forget - book by 13 August and get an extra 10% discount.

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Financial appraisal: improve your understanding of how developers work - 15/07/10

A recent addition to TRA's portfolio of training events is a one-day workshop on Financial Appraisal, aimed at planning and development staff who work with and/or negotiate with commercial developers. So far, the workshop has been delivered three times on an inter-authority basis (in Glasgow, Manchester and London) and twice on an in-house basis (for Arun District Council and Turley Associates).

It is proving to be an extremely valuable workshop for those wishing to get a better idea of how the commercial sector carries out appraisal of proposed development and how planning considerations, including conditions and planning contributions, can impact on the viability of development schemes:

  • It dealt with matters that are relevant to my job and gave me a good insight into the development market and where I can find out more information. The knowledge will help me in future negotiations with developers. John Gunn, Tamworth BC
  • Has significantly improved my understanding of the development appraisal process. Peter Lawson, Turley Associates
  • Very informative course which is very relevant to my current role as senior planner. Claire Rodway, Arun DC
  • I have a better understanding of terminology and practices. I hope I'll be able to discuss more "knowledgeably". Karine Suller, Aberdeenshire Council.

As you would expect, the workshop currently makes specific reference to developing in a recession.

The workshop is next scheduled to run in York on 24 November and is also available throughout the year on an in-house basis for individual organisations/authorities or a group of neighbouring authorities.

Further details for the November workshop, including a leaflet/booking form can be found on our website. Alternatively, if an in-house course (where we come to you) might be more appropriate please feel free to contact Angela Holmes for more information, without obligation.

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New half-day workshops for support staff on enforcement and adverts - 14/07/10

TRA provides a range of workshops to help planning support staff understand the context of their work and develop their knowledge and skills. We have recently added two brand new half-day sessions to the list for delivery on an in-house basis:

  • An Introduction to Planning Enforcement
  • An Introduction to the Advertisement Regulations and Dealing with Applications and Appeals.

Both workshops are delivered by TRA Senior Associate and enforcement expert, Vivien Green. Vivien has been the Course Tutor on TRA's popular Certificated Course in Planning Enforcement since its start in 1996 and has delivered numerous training sessions for support staff on a wide range of topics.

An Introduction to Planning Enforcement is aimed at support staff who may have to take complaints; deal with enforcement enquiries; and/or provide administrative support to their enforcement colleagues. The workshop focuses on the following key elements:

  • what is a breach of planning control?
  • when is it expedient to take enforcement action?
  • elements of an Enforcement Notice/Appeal
  • what can happen if a notice is not complied with.

An Introduction to the Advertisement Regulations and Dealing with Advertisement Applications and Appeals is aimed at support staff who have to deal with enquiries; validate and process advert applications; handle the administrative aspects of appeals; and even in some cases handle advert applications themselves. It covers the following key aspects:

  • what is an advertisement?
  • the advert regulations (using practical examples)
  • when express consent is required
  • how applications are determined
  • adverts and the historic environment
  • handling advert appeals.

Although both sessions have been developed primarily for support staff they will also be of benefit to other staff who have little experience in these particular topics, such as those who are new to the enforcement team or junior planners. In-house training from TRA is already a cost-effective option but involving not just support staff could make it even more so. The workshops can be run independently as half-day sessions but a considerable saving can be made by delivering both sessions on the same day ie with one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

If you would like more information on either or both workshops please contact Angela Holmes without obligation. Please note that the prices we quote you are fully inclusive of all our fees and expenses (so no worrying about hidden extras) and are valid for 90 days.

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Development Management Conference highlights opportunities and challenges - 09/07/10

TRA's new annual Conference on Development Management took place earlier this month in Manchester. Not surprisingly, for this first event, the main theme was what exactly does "development management" opposed to "development control" mean for practitioners both inside and outside of local authority planning. The event attracted a good mix of senior planning staff from both the public and private sectors and provided an excellent opportunity to share experience and take away some ideas for consideration/implementation.

Colin Walker, Director of Planning at Newark & Sherwood DC, began proceedings with an overview of how development management is being used to put corporate plans and priorities into action within the Borough. Kath Lawless, Head of Development Management at the City of Newcastle upon Tyne, provided us with an in-depth look at how the move from development control to a more facilitative development management approach has been undertaken during the past 12 months, focusing on how both processes and culture have changed. By contrast, Heather Morrison, Senior DC Officer at Copeland District Council, provided examples of some fundamental problems faced when trying to make this transition in a small rural authority with resource and logistical issues.

The breakout sessions led by TRA's Senior Associate, Vivien Green and Principal Planning and Management Consultant, Chris Weetman provided delegates with the opportunity to discuss cultural and process changes that will be required to move to development management. Vivien took the opportunity to question how the Government's "localism" agenda is likely to affect the processes and procedures for controlling development. Following discussion of some of the procedures suggested in Open Source Planning and recent Government announcements, the conclusions were that planners must get to grips with what localism might mean and be positive and open to new ways of working and thinking if they are to implement localism in their LPAs.

Finally, Phil Kirby, from the Planning Officers Society provided an overview of Development Management's key role in the spatial planning system, highlighting how important it can be in achieving corporate aims and aspirations, especially in these troubled economic times, and the opportunity this offers to planning and planners to achieve a higher profile within Councils.

A number of key lessons emerged from the event, most notably that planners need to understand the links between key strategic documents and the work they do in facilitating development, and that to engender culture change it is essential to have strong outcome-focused leadership within the organisation.

Feedback from this first event was very positive and we look forward to organising similar events in the future:

  • A well organised event with a full and practice-related agenda that highlighted the opportunities and benefits of Development Management with plenty of opportunities for comment, feedback and networking. Alan Coleman, Worcester City Council.
  • A useful event for reflection and thinking ahead. Tim Furnell, East Staffordshire BC
  • Excellent thought provoking day. Emma Curle, Stockport MBC
  • Much more interesting that I expected - thought the subject might be a bit "dry" but enjoyed the variety of speakers and the discussions.
  • Very helpful opportunity for learning and sharing together as well as from speakers.
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Enforcement Forum - advance details and "early bird" discount - 08/07/10

The details of TRA's next annual Forum on Enforcement have now been finalised. The event will take place in Warrington on 21 October 2010. Information is currently being circulated to our usual mailing contacts and you can access the details now on our website.

You can also save more than £40 by taking advantage of our "early bird" discount. This offer ends on Friday 30 July so there's no time to waste.

Topics covered this year include:

  • How the new Government's plans will affect enforcement, based on its document Open Source Planning
  • A legal update looking at recent cases and their implications for day to day enforcement work
  • The Section 106 Agreement - a rarely used but potentially very effective tool for enforcement
  • Preparing for an Inquiry - how to work effectively as part of a team, how to present your evidence to best effect, particularly what to (and what not to) include.
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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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