ENews Issue - 30 April 2012

ENews - April 2012

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:

  • Results of the ENews poll on the NPPF
  • We can examine your CIL Charging Schedule
  • Certificated Enforcement programme: student update
  • Help us spread the word about TRA
  • New workshop for Expert Witnesses at Planning Inquiries
  • New workshop on Advertisement Control - last chance to book!
  • Validation made simple




Results of the ENews poll on the NPPF

The NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) has been given a cautious but positive welcome by planning practitioners according to the TRA website poll carried out over the last month.

The poll, which was designed to give respondents an opportunity to express their initial reaction to the NPPF, revealed that 30% felt either "happy" or "very happy" with the document and that it would either lead to an improved planning system that would help deliver sustainable development (14%) or represented a radical shift for planning that would definitely shape the environment for the better (16%). By contrast, only 16% felt unhappy with the document and that the new guidance would actually make life harder for LPAs and was unlikley to deliver the right development in the right areas.

Although just over half the 374 respondents expressed a neutral opinion, believing that the guidance offered both good and bad aspects (which, given both the newness of the NPPF and experience of past government planning guidance, is not too surprising), the poll results were nevertheless broadly in line with initial reports from the wider planning and development industry which has also given the NPPF a generally positive but cautious welcome.

We hope to repeat the exercise in 12 months' time to see whether practitioners still feel as positive about the NPPF and its impact on the planning system.

Results summary:

Which of the following best reflects your feelings about the new NPPF?:

Very happy 16% Happy 14% Unhappy 16% Neither happy nor unhappy 54% Back to top

We can examine your CIL Charging Schedule

Back in January we launched our brand new CIL examination service. Authorities who wish to introduce the Community Infrastructure Levy are required to produce a CIL Charging Schedule and have it independently examined. While authorities will be used to submitting Development Plan Documents to the Planning Inspectorate for examination, CIL Charging Schedules do not need to be handled by PINs: the authority can appoint anyone who, in their opinion, is independent of the authority and has appropriate qualifications and experience. And this is where we come in...

As an organisation that has provided support for the planning service for many years but which is independent of both local and central government, we believe that TRA is ideally placed to provide this service. We are building a team of Expert Examiners (for details of those already involved please see our website) and can offer the examination service now.

An outline of the service we can provide can be found on our website. If you would like to find out more, including likely costs, please contact Penny O'Shea for an informal discussion.

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Certificated Enforcement programme: student update

Congratulations to the most recent students to successfully complete TRA's Certificated Course in Planning Enforcement:

  • Michelle Hoyles, North Kesteven DC
  • Katie Saunders, South Gloucestershire Council
  • Ian Williamson, King's Lynn and West Norfolk DC
  • Neil Howat, South Gloucestershire Council.

Commenting on his experience of the training, Neil said "Thanks again for all the support - the course has been a truly excellent learning experience for me personally."

The latest four join the long list of students to be awarded the Certificate in Planning Enforcement since the programme was first set up in 1996 - there are now 130 graduates.

Full details of the 2012 modules in Planning Enforcement can be found on our website, including the next opportunity to undertake the Key Principles of Planning and Enforcement module (October & November 2012), which many students choose to begin the programme with. For any questions regarding the programme please contact Shelagh Pooley by email or phone on 01204 385678.

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Help us spread the word about TRA

TRA has been in business for nearly 28 years and one of the keys to our success and longevity is 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. "Word of mouth" is extermely important to us.

Naturally, if you are able to recommend TRA from personal experience that is much appreciated. So if you attend one of our events, either at an external venue or in-house at your own organisation, and would be happy to share your thoughts about the course with others please do take the time to complete our evaluation slip and provide your name. This enables us to publish feedback that potential participants might find helpful.

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 and receive their own copy in future - there are instructions at the bottom of the newsletter. Alternatively, they can sign-up via our website.

Thanks for your help.

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New workshop for Expert Witnesses at Planning Inquiries

TRA are introducing a brand new workshop aimed at both planners and other professionals such as architects, landscape architects, arboriculturists, environmental health officers etc; who may be required to appear as an expert witness at an Inquiry, but have relatively little or no experience.

The workshop entitlted 'Being an Effective Witness at Inquiries' will take place in London on 25 September 2012, and will be led by Lee Prebble, Town Planning and Management Consultant and TRA Senior Associate. Lee has a great deal of experience in all aspects of development management and acts as a specialist consultant to local authorities dealing with complex applications, enforcement cases and appeals.

Both local authorities and the appellant need to provide expert evidence to support their case in relation to various issues being considered at an Inquiry and it is essential that all witnesses are properly prepared in terms of giving evidence in chief and responding to cross-examination. This workshop aims to provide all those likely to be called as experts with an understanding of what needs to be included in the written submissions and their oral evidence, with an emphasis on sound preparation to ensure effective performance on the day. It should help witnesses to be confident, comfortable and to present a competent case.

The workshop will also identify the legal and procedural requirements and provide practical advice on the approach to providing both the written and oral evidence needed to support reasons for refusal, conditions to be attached to a permission, or justification for enforcement action.

Further details and a booking from can be found on the TRA website. Provisional bookings can be made to reserve places for a limited time either by telephoning 01204 385678 or via our online provisional booking facility. This event is included in our block booking scheme meaning bookings of 2 or more places (over any number of events in the 2012 programme) will be entitled to between 10 and 15% discount.

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New workshop on Advertisement Control - last chance to book!

As mentioned in February's Enews, TRA have introduced a new workshop on 'Advertisement Control' into the 2012 training programme for England and Wales. The workshop will be on 22 May 2012 at the Staff House Conference Centre in Manchester and a number of places are still available for those interested in booking a place.

The workshop will provide a clear insight into the complexities of the present Advertisement Regulations using real life examples at each stage, to equip participants with greater confidence by improving their awareness of advertisement control, developing their knowledge, and providing opportunities to exchange experiences. Whether you are a development management, enforcement or support officer you will benefit from attending this workshop.

Further details and a booking form are available on our website. Provisional bookings can be made to reserve places for a limited period of time via our online provisional bookings facility or by telephone on 01204 385678.

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Validation made simple

Since it first ran in October 2010, our in-house workshop on Validation has become a very popular session with our clients. The most recent workshop was delivered at Derbyshire Dales District Council, with staff from neighbouring authorities also joining in.

The session helps authorities to simplify the validation process by:

  • identifying the key elements of the different 'control regimes'
  • demystifying the legal requirements surrounding validation
  • helping participants to understand the often complex issues relating to listed buildings and conservation area consents
  • discussing any proposals the Government may have for change
  • using relevant case studies/group exercises to help reinforce key points.

The workshop is delivered by Senior Associate, Vivien Green, and participant feedback from the session at Derbyshire Dales DC was extremely positive:

  • Even better than I expected. All questions were answered and very helpful and clear information was provided, thanks a lot! I was also very grateful for the detail relating to my concerns and for the guidance given directly to me. Sarah Booth, Erewash BC
  • Was better and more in depth than I expected, with many useful aspects covered. Useful links to further documents and info also given which will be useful to my department. Richard Collins, Peak District NPA
  • My expectations were exceeded - it not only addressed Validation clearly but also addressed other planning matters which were raised. Gareth Griffiths, Derbyshire Dales DC
  • Met all expectations and more. I would highly recommend the course to other Support Officers. Kathie Batley, North East Derbyshire DC
  • Informed me of current legislation relating to Validation and associated aspects. Very enjoyable and informative. Julie Scroggins, Peak District NPA

TRA appreciates that training budgets are tight and we strongly encourage our clients, who may not be able to fund training by themselves, to consider joint in-house training with neighbouring authorities. Many of our clients now organise training in this way, not only to maximise cost effectiveness but also because they find that their staff benefit immensely from being in an environment where they can share experience and local knowledge with staff from other authorities.

If you would like a quotation or any further information on the above workshop, such as an outline programme, please contact Angela Holmes, for a no-commitment discussion.

Don't forget that our prices are quoted on an 'all-in' basis and therefore include all of our fees, presenter expenses and pre-course/course documentation. This means that there are no 'hidden extras' and our clients are aware from the outset what they can expect to pay at the invoicing stage.

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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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