ENews Issue - 28 November 2005

ENews - November 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's 2006 programme of training for planning and development practitioners in England and Wales has now been launched.

Brochures have been circulated to our usual mailing contacts and details are available on the website (click here). You can also print off a handy programme summary (PDF format).

As well as many of our most popular courses, this latest programme features 5 brand new workshops:

Effective Pre-application Discussions

Environmental Impact Assessment: a practical guide to interpreting the Regulations

Understanding Development Control Administration/Support: a workshop for DC Managers and Team Leaders

An Introduction to Minerals and Waste Development Control

Character and Appearance as a Material Consideration

Our popular discounted block booking scheme is also continuing for 2006, enabling you to get a 15% discount when booking six or more places at the same time (spread over any number of events).

If you would like a copy of the 2006 programme brochure or further details of any individual events please get in touch. Many of our events fill up very quickly so early booking is advised. It is possible to provisionally reserve places by telephone or via the provisional booking facility on the website.


TRA was recently commissioned by BAA to develop and deliver a bespoke training session for staff working in its safeguarding department. The two-day workshop which took place earlier this month was prepared and presented by Senior Associates Vivien Green and Lee Prebble.

The staff involved had a variety of roles within BAA all of which had some connection to the planning system. Some were concerned with individual aiports and their operation, some were directly involved in responding to consultations from local authorities, and others were specialists who advise on specific issues such as developments involving construction cranes that might interfere with radar equipment or which might attract birds to a flight path etc.

The workshop covered the basics of the planning frameworks in England and Scotland and where BAA fits in, plus overviews of policy and plan making, permitted development, how applications are determined, planning obligations and agr eements, appeals and enforcement.


TRA is well-known for its workshops for planning and development staff and many of these can be delivered on your own premises for staff from your authority (and perhaps others from neighbouring authorities).

There are three main series of workshops for officers:

- in-house training for planning support staff

- in-house training in development control, including an excellent series on basic skills and procedures which is ideal for new or less experienced staff

- in-house training for inquiries.

In-house workshops delivered recently include: Negotiation Concepts & Skills for planning/development staff for Highland Council; a bespoke session for Arun District Council on Understanding th e Use Classes Order and Permitted Development; and a second workshop on Permitted Development for Dover District Council.

Organising training on an in-house basis can be particularly cost effective, especially if you are able to share the cost with other authorities. If you would like further information on any of our in-house training sessions please contact Sharon Collier.


A brand new workshop on High Hedges is being introduced as part of the National Association of Tree Officers (NATO) 2006 training programme, organised by TRA.

High Hedges: assessment of applications has been developed specifically in response to the requirements of the High Hedges Regulations which came into force on 1st June 2005 in England. The main aim of the workshop is to provide practitioners with the background knowledge and understanding of assessment procedures that they will need in order to undertake desktop and site assessments and to produce reports that can be used for decision making. The workshop will be of benefit to all those who are likely to be involved in undertaking and/or instructing staff involved in High Hedge site assessments following applications from members of the public. The workshop will take place in London on 22 June 2006 and in York on 22 November 2006.

Further details of this and all the other workshops in the NATO 2006 programme will be publicised shortly. Brochures will be circulated to our usual mailing contacts and details will be posted on the website.


More than 60 people participated in our latest Conference for Planning Support Staff held in Manchester earlier this month. Participants came from the full range of authority types and, as well as strong support from the north west, people attended from as far afield as Wear Valley in the north east, Powys in Wales, and Kingston upon Thames in the south. The event was very well received and comments from participants included the following:

"The best thing about these events is the interaction with people from other organisations. The events always give food for thought."

"An excellent event. I travelled up from London as all the topics were of interest and I wasn't disappointed."

"Hearing different views and listening to the experiences of others was helpful and very informative. It made me realise just how much room for improvement there is!"

Although the conference is aimed pr imarily at support staff themselves, quite a number of officers with managerial/supervisory responsibility for the support function have also attended and found it beneficial. This is certainly something we would recommend.

The conference is run twice each year, once in London and once in Manchester, hopefully giving everyone who is interested in attending the opportunity to do so. The next event will be in London on 27 April 2006 and details of speakers and topics will be publicised soon. If you would like to register your interest in receiving details once they are available please get in touch. You can also keep an eye on our website where details will be posted as soon as possible. The next conference in Manchester will be held on 28 September 2006. Although topics have not yet been publicised for either event, it is possible to book now to make sure you get a place.


TRA welcomes a new Associate - Julie Carpenter. Julie currently combines her part-time post as Planning Manager (Business Support) at Broadland District Council with her own planning consultancy. She has almost 20 years' experience in local government planning, principally in development control. Julie has joined TRA to work on DC Procedure Review and Procedure Guide assignments and as a workshop presenter. She is also likely to be involved in delivering TRA's new certificated course for planning support staff which is currently being developed and will begin in early 2007.


This section of ENews is a way for people who have taken part in the TRA/Cambridge University certificated courses to keep in contact with us and each other. We are keen to keep in touch so please let Shelagh at TRA know if you have any news.

Jay Everett has recently taken up the post of Associate Director with CB Richard Ellis Ltd where he will be leading a newly established planning team for Yorkshire and the North East, based in Leeds. Jay completed three of the modules on the Management programme between 1997 and 2001 while working at Craven DC. Since leaving local government, he has also worked for Storeys:ssp.

We wish Jay all the best in his new job.


TRA has recently carried out a review of development control organisation and resources in Dacorum Borough Council. The review was more limited in scope than our usual reviews as it focused entirely on the organisation and staff resources associated with mainstream processing of planning applications. This particular assignment was carried out by a small team led by Senior Associate Nigel Eveleigh.

Although our more usual DC Review assignments are more extensive than this and are usually linked to the development of an Online Procedure Guide, we are able to undertake a variety of more limited reviews focusing on specific aspects of planning and development control. The sort of areas we can cover include:

  • organisation of planning services overall

  • development control support

  • receipt, registration and validation

  • consultation and notification

  • del egated and Committee reports - quality, structure and preparation

  • development control management and monitoring systems

  • management and staff resources

  • delegation schemes and their improvement

  • planning enforcement

  • appeals procedures

  • Committee procedures

  • quality of planning decisions

  • quality management systems

  • systems for assessment of development control quality

  • the customer service interface and its organisation.

  • A brochure providing further details will be available shortly but in the meantime if you are interested in any of the above please feel free to contact Penny O'Shea.


Dan Roberts, who presents one of TRA's most popular workshops, Design in Development Control: adding value to mainstream applications has joined the University of Central England this month as a visiting lecturer.

Dan, who works for Lichfield District Council as Conservation and Urban Design Manager, is already a visiting lecturer at the University of Birmingham Centre for Urban and Regional Studies.


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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