ENews Issue - 31 January 2011

ENews - January 2011

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:

  • Book now and we can invoice in April
  • Certificated Course for Planning Support Staff - next module booking now
  • We'd love you to spread the word
  • Free training for enforcement practitioners
  • Discounted in-house training for experienced Councillors - time is running out!
  • TRA's certificated courses: student news
  • Workshop on 'Certificates of Lawfulness' now available in England & Wales
  • The TRA Training and Development Survey
  • Briefings on Planning for Building Control Staff and other 'Non-Planners'




Book now and we can invoice in April - 31/01/11

Good news! If you want to reserve your place now on one of the earlier workshops in our inter-authority programmes but need the invoice to be raised in the new financial year then we can help you. We understand how it is with budgets and financial years and we don't want you to miss out on the training event of your choice just because the timing isn't quite right.

So why not take a look at some of the events running early on in our programmes for planning and development staff and see if anything grabs your attention:

  • England and Wales programme
  • Scotland programme

To ensure we invoice in April, please mark this clearly on your booking form or contact Shelagh Pooley to be doubly sure.

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Certificated Course for Planning Support Staff - next module booking now - 25/01/11

TRA's certificated programme in Town Planning Support has now been running successfully for four years and the next opportunity to join the programme is coming up in May and June 2011. Full details of the programme, including feedback from previous participants, are available on our website.

The programme offers a unique opportunity for staff working in the crucial administrative/ support role within planning to develop themselves through focused training, tailored to their needs and relating to issues and experience in their own workplace, and at the same time work towards a formal qualification. In comparison with other qualifications that support staff may consider, and which cover a range of generic skills, the TRA programme is unique in its detailed consideration of the planning context in which staff are working and its focus on improving their knowledge and understanding of the planning system.

The programme is modular, consisting of four modules, and the next one to run will be Best Practice in Planning Support taking place on 11-12 May and 23-24 June. Since places on the certificated modules are strictly limited to 12, prompt booking is recommended if you would like to take part.

This module looks at different approaches and what might be regarded as "best practice" with regard to the following:

  • permitted development and use classes
  • validating planning applications
  • consultation, notifications and publicity
  • supporting the LDF
  • site visits
  • end procedures (conditions, registers etc).

The other modules in this programme are:

  • The Statutory Basis for Town Planning and Planning Support - 5-6 October & 7-8 November 2011
  • The UK Planning Framework and the Role of Planning Support within it - 23-24 January & 5-6 March 2012
  • Planning Support, Planning Performance and Customer Care - 10-11 May & 21-22 June 2012.

If you would like further information or to discuss whether the course would be right for you (or one of your staff) please contact Shelagh Pooley who will be happy to discuss things in more detail.

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We'd love you to spread the word - 25/01/11

One of the keys to TRA's success over the past 25+ years has been the solid reputation we have built up. This reputation is based on the fact that we provide both quality services and value for money and it has grown over time thanks to the many clients who have felt comfortable in recommending us, allowing us to publish their feedback, or simply suggesting that colleagues take a look at what we offer. You can't beat "word of mouth" as a promotional tool!

Naturally, if you are able to recommend TRA from personal experience that is much appreciated. But even if you haven't yet tried out our services for yourself but can see that they may be of interest to people you know then there are still ways in which you can help spread the word.

If you spot something on our website that you would like to pass on to a colleague you can make use of our "Email Page" function. You'll find this towards the top right hand corner of each page (with a little brown envelope icon). Clicking on this allows you to enter the name and email address of the person you would like to send the page to and gives you space to write a short message to go with it. They will then receive an email from TRA saying that you have suggested they take a look at that particular page. Simple!

In a similar vein, if you know someone who may find this ENewsletter of interest then please do forward it on. If they like what they see, they can subscribe straight away - there is a box right at the bottom of the newsletter where they simply enter their email address to receive their own copy of TRA ENews in future.

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Free training for enforcement practitioners - 24/01/11

This is the third year that TRA has set up a bursary scheme, offering free places at our training events for individuals who can demonstrate how they would benefit by attending. We believe this sort of initiative is particularly important at the moment while access to training opportunities is severely restricted for many people.

This year the scheme is aimed at enforcement practitioners and there are 10 free places on TRA's 2011 events up for grabs. TRA has always recognised the crucial role of enforcement in the planning system and has been providing training and development opportunities for enforcement practitioners for over 20 years. The scheme is being run in association with the National Association for Planning Enforcement (NAPE) and you must be a member of NAPE to apply.

The bursary covers 8 enforcement-related events taking place in England and 5 in Scotland so there is plenty to choose from.

Full details of the scheme, including an application form, are available on our website. The closing date for applications is Monday 28 February 2011. So if you would like the chance to attend one of TRA's highy regarded training events for free then don't delay - apply today!

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Discounted in-house training for experienced Councillors - time is running out! - 24/01/11

Back in November we told you about a brand new workshop which has been developed specifically for Councillors involved in the planning process.

Planning: Beyond the Basics has been designed to complement our highly successful Briefing on Planning for Councillors and The Role of Councillors in Planning: propriety and good practice workshops. It is aimed at members who already have a reasonable level of experience of town planning and an understanding of their role within the decision-making framework.

We would like to remind you that the introductory 10% price discount (for this workshop only) is due to end on the 28th February 2011, for sessions being delivered before 29th April, 2011. This means a Beyond the Basics session, delivered by two of our experienced presenting team for up to 25 participants, could cost as little as £93 per person.

The workshop provides Councillors with a greater understanding of the environment, both built (listed buildings, conservation areas, advertisements) and natural (trees, hedges, landscape, protected species). It explores how members can become more positively involved in improved design through design briefs etc. and importantly how, through the use of legal agreements and charging, they can help deliver new development for their locality.

Where required we can also conduct more detailed sessions on Specific Aspects of Planning. These are mainly half-day "modules" with a single presenter. Topics covered include:

  • planning enforcement
  • advertisement control
  • planning obligations and planning conditions
  • trees and the planning process (NEW)
  • design considerations and the principles of urban design
  • conservation areas/listed buildings
  • planning for wind farms
  • communication skills and/or working in partnership.

A full list can be found on our website

If you haven't already booked your Planning: Beyond the Basics session and are interested in receiving further information about this, or any of the workshops on offer, then please contact Angela Holmes, without obligation.

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TRA's certificated courses: student news - 23/01/11

Congratulations to Caroline Thomas from Eastleigh BC on her recent promotion. Caroline attended three modules on TRA's certificate in Planning Enforcement and was promoted from Enforcement Team Leader to Head of Development Control in November 2010. Regarding the course, Caroline said: "I would really like to thank TRA, and Vivien Green in particular, for the excellent training and support provided which I know greatly contributed to my selection."

Congratulations also to the following students who were awarded their certificates between September 2010 and January 2011:

Certificate in Planning Enforcement

  • Khalid Mahmood, Sheffield City Council
  • Lisa Hughes, Herefordshire Council
  • Clive Watts, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council
  • Marilyn Ager, Thurrock Council
  • Jane Devine, London Borough of Greenwich
  • Kevan Hooper, South Gloucestershire Council
  • Sean Michael Baldock, Guildford Borough Council.

Certificate in Town Planning Support

  • Lorraine Gray, North Norfolk District Council
  • Martin Barnes, Sheffield City Council
  • Alison Woodfield, West Sussex County Council

Certificate in Management Concepts and Skills in Planning

  • Lisa Page, East Hertfordshire District Council
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Workshop on 'Certificates of Lawfulness' now available in England & Wales - 20/01/11

As you may be aware, the TRA training workshop programmes for 2011 in both England/Wales and Scotland were recently finalised, and details are currently being circulated to our usual contacts. Both programmes include a number of new workshops this year, and the first one of these coming up in the England/Wales programme is 'Certificates of Lawfulness: what are they and how should they be handled?' and will take place on 26 May 2011 in York.

Certificates of Lawfulness were introduced in 1991 and can be used for establishing both immunity from enforcement action or the need for planning permission. If handled correctly they can be a versatile tool. This new workshop will examine the effect and content of both Existing (Section 191) and Proposed (Section 192) Use Certificates using a mixture of presentations, case studies and group exercises. Applications for Certificates are variously dealt with by planning, enforcement or legal officers and if their consideration falls within your area of work you will benefit from attending. On the other hand, if you are employed in the private sector, having a good understanding of how to prepare and submit Certificate applications can be of considerable advantage to your clients.

The workshop has previously been run a number of times in Scotland and has received some very positive feedback:

  • "Presenter had a wide knowledge of the subject and kept the course interesting and encouraged the delegates to participate"

    Lesley Campbell, Dundee City Council
  • "Very informative with good use of case studies and practical exercises. Feel knowledge on the topic has increased significantly and would now be confident dealing with applications for certificates of lawful use"

    Michael Lorimer, Aberdeenshire Council
  • "It was really interesting and informative and helped me understand what is lawful development"

    Morag McRaith, Fife Council

If you are interested in attending the workshop, a leaflet/booking form can be downloaded here. If you are unable to make a firm booking straight away places can be reserved provisionally, either by telephoning 01204 385678 or via our online provisonal bookings facility.

Don't forget, our improved block booking scheme means that if you book 2 or more places on this or any number of workshops in the 2011 programme you will receive a discount of between 10 and 15% (depending on the total number of places booked). An option well worth considering to make any available funding stretch that little bit further! A discounted block booking form can be downloaded form the website.

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The TRA Training and Development Survey - 20/01/11

We would like to say a big 'thank you' to those of you who took the time to complete our recent Training and Development survey.

The survey closed on the 17th December and we are delighted with the amount of responses that were received. We will now compile a report based on the results.

Congratulations to Debbie Kirk of Cheshire East Borough Council who was chosen at random to win a free place on one of TRA's training events following completion of the survey. Debbie has opted to attend the annual TRA Enforcement Forum, and we hope that she finds the event enjoyable and of benefit to her work.

A summary of the reported findings will be posted on our surveys webpage in due course.

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Briefings on Planning for Building Control Staff and other 'Non-Planners' - 18/01/11

Based on our extensive experience, TRA is ideally equipped to explain the "mysteries of the planning system" to 'non-planners' who regularly interact with the system. These include building control staff, other local government staff and agents/applicants.

Building Control Staff

Building Control staff often work very closely with their colleagues in Development Management but often with only limited knowledge of the planning system, how it operates, and the limits and considerations which have to be kept in mind by planning officers. Along the lines of 'An Introduction to Planning', we are able to provide a workshop which is specifically designed to give Building Control staff a basic grounding in how the planning system works. Specific aspects covered include:

  • What is town planning?
  • Who is involved in the process and how do they relate to each other?
  • How LPA's deal with the question "Do I need planning permission?"
  • Planning applications - what do they involve; how are they handled; how are they decided?
  • What happens if somebody "develops" without planning permission?
  • Planning appeals
  • Links between Planning and Building Control.

The workshop helps participants to develop their knowledge and confidence when liaising with planning officers. It also enables them to make their own building control decisions with a greater awareness of the planning implications and the sanctions available if enforcement action becomes necessary

Other Local Government Staff

Due to the increasing requirement for staff in LPAs to be 'multi-skilled', TRA has developed a briefing on planning for those who have limited or no experience in the town planning process, but who need to have a basic understanding of the system. Our one-day workshop helps to demystify the planning process, giving participants an insight into how the system operates which in turn will enable them to work effectively alongside their colleagues and customers alike

Agents and Applicants

Many local authorities have established liaison arrangements with local agents and regular applicants and already run, or would like to run, briefing and training sessions so that they can understand aspects of the planning system better and be more effective in their engagement with it. TRA can put its experienced training team at the disposal of local authorities to carry out this kind of briefing session, thus eliminating the need for time-consuming preparation on the part of busy local authority staff, and also guaranteeing a professional presentation by people familiar with briefing others on the planning system at the local level.

Various workshops formats are available and if you would like further information on any of these, including an outline programme, please contact Angela Holmes, without obligation.

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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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