ENews Issue - 31 October 2012

ENews - October 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:

  • Localism Act - new powers to deal with unauthorised advertisements
  • Final few workshops in the 2012 training programme
  • Help us to spread the word about TRA
  • Focused reviews for particular planning functions
  • TRA helps to demystify NPPF issues for Stockton Councillors
  • Certificated Enforcement course: student update
  • Erewash and their neighbours learn how to 'add value' through design




Localism Act - new powers to deal with unauthorised advertisements

Earlier this month our Senior Associate, Vivien Green, was invited to give a presentation to the Southern Enforcement Officers' Group (SEOG) on the scope and potential issues relating to the use of new powers to deal with unauthorised advertisements.

After reminding delegates of their existing powers, Vivien went on to look in detail at the three new notices: Removal Notice (which covers both the structure and the advertisements); Action Notice (to remedy "persistent" fly-posting problems); and Defacement Notice (to remove or obliterate "signs" which are detrimental to amenity or offensive). These notices have been available to the 32 London Borough Councils and the City of London for some years under the London Local Authorities Act 1995 (as amended) but the Localism Act 2011 has now made them available to all English authorities.

Vivien's talk outlined the scope and content of each notice, how the rights of appeal to the Magistrates operate and the special provisions relating to Statutory Undertakers. She alerted delegates to the practice guidance already produced by the London authorities on defining and dealing with "persistent" advertisement problems and looked at other practice issues including how notices have to be served, powers of entry, and who actually are statutory undertakers (following privatisation and sell-offs).

Whilst dealing with advertisements may not be most LPA's highest priority, to deal with advertisement problems effectively it is necessary to understand this very complex area of law and practice. If you want to know more about the new powers and how to use them you can access Vivien's presentation. TRA also runs inter-authority workshops in England & Wales and Scotland and in-house workshops on understanding the Advertisement Regulations. Additionally, for anyone who wants to explore the enforcement of advertisement controls in more detail, there is a dedicated module on advertisements in TRA's Certificated Course in Planning Enforcement. (The module next runs in Jan/Mar 2013 and places are available).

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Final few workshops in the 2012 training programme

The final batch of workshops in the 2012 Training Programme for Planning & Development Staff in England & Wales are coming up in November. A couple of the workshops are already fully booked, however there are still places remaining on the ones listed below, although prompt booking is recommended at this stage:

  • Appearing at Hearings - Manchester, 13 November 2012

    Hearings are a vital element of a planning officer's work, often in circumstances where the officer is on his/her own. This highly practical workshop provides a structured opportunity for sharing and developing experience of Hearings. It includes a thorough briefing on procedures, style and good practice, followed by a mock Hearing exercise using a real case study. The workshop is designed to improve both preparation and presentational skills and enhance the overall confidence of those involved. Although the workshop is primarily aimed at planners, others who provide more specialist services and may need to appear at a Hearing (such as enforcement, landscape, conservation, highways staff etc) will also find it useful.
  • The Basics of Planning Enforcement - Manchester, 13 November 2012

    The credibility of the planning system is increasingly reliant on effective enforcement of planning control. This workshop is aimed at planning staff who are either directly involved in enforcement work or who wish to have a contextual understanding of the system, as well as relatively new or less experienced enforcement staff. Specific aspects covered include: what can be enforced - the definition of development and what constitutes unauthorised development; the immunity rules; how to deal with complaints; evidence collection; the effective use of the enforcement toolkit; and practical steps to make enforcement more efficient and effective.
  • Trees, Landscape & Ecology for Planners - London, 22 November 2012

    The aim of this workshop is to provide planning staff with the knowledge and understanding needed to make informed decisions regarding tree retention, protection, removal and replacement within the context of the now established BS5837:2005 'Trees in relation to construction - Recommendation'. Participants will also learn about ecology and landscape within the planning framework, enabling planning officers to seek the right information and know what to expect. The workshop is participatory in format, including a mixture of technical inputs from the presenter and practical exercises to demonstrate the difficulties faced by both the planner and the developer/applicant in relation to tree landscape assessment.

Further details and booking forms for each workshop can be found on the TRA website via the above links. If you are not in a position to make a firm booking straight away, places can be reserved provisionally by telephoning 01204 385678 or via the online provisional bookings page of our website.

It is still possible to take advantage of our popular discounted block booking scheme by booking 2 or more places (over any number of workshops) and receiving up to 15% discount. Further details of the scheme are on the TRA website.

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Help us to spread the word about TRA

TRA has been in business for almost 30 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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Focused reviews for particular planning functions

Since 2001 TRA has undertaken comprehensive reviews of the development management service in 35 LPAs (covering procedures, performance, management, organisation and resources). Whilst a full-scale review of this kind is still an option, a more focused review, looking at a particular element of the service in more detail, might be more helpful and appropriate for many authorities.

We have undertaken this kind of focused review for around 20 authorities and details are available on our website. The website includes a list of around a dozen specific aspects of planning and/or DM which we can focus on, although we are happy to consider others. The aspects we are most often asked to review and advise on are:

  • development management support
  • Planning Committee procedures
  • planning enforcement.

A PDF flier giving more information can be donwloaded from our website. If you would like to know more or to discuss how you think this service could help in your department please contact Penny O'Shea for a no-obligation discussion.

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TRA helps to demystify NPPF issues for Stockton Councillors

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) came into effect on 27th March 2012, repealing more than 1,000 pages of planning guidance and replacing it with a 59-page guidance document. There has been widespread concern about the introduction of the NPPF and much speculation about its effects on planning policy and decision-making at the local level.

In order to assist local authorities TRA has developed a half-day training session specifically aimed at Members. The session explores the relationship between the NPPF and other Government initiatives, including the Localism Act 2011, examining the presumption in favour of sustainable development and the implications of the NPPF.

The most recent session was delivered at Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council by one of TRA's Senior Associates, Jed Griffiths and feedback from the participants was very encouraging:

  • Interesting and informative. Jean O'Donnell
  • Very informative and stimulated good exchange of views. Eileen Johnson
  • It was very good. Very engaging and an interesting course. David Rose
  • Very useful, informative and up-to-date. Michael Clark
  • Interesting and have learned a lot. Tracey Stott
  • Very well structured, flowed from start to finish. Barry Jackson.

This session is available exclusively on an in-house basis so if you are interested in finding out more, for example seeing a copy of an outline programme, then please do not hesitate to contact Angela Holmes.

Please note that the prices we quote are inclusive of all of our fees, presenter's expenses and pre-course/course material; so the price that you are quoted at the outset is the price you can expect to pay at invoicing stage.

To see our full range of Councillor workshops, visit our Councillor webpage.

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Certificated Enforcement course: student update

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

  • Ryan Dodd, East Lindsey DC - Fantastic programme, a necessity for all enforcement officers. The course has provided me with an in depth knowledge of the planning system and the enforcement processes. I now feel much more confident in my work and dealing with the various different scenarios that arise within Planning Enforcement.
  • Alison Hesketh, Lancaster City Council -A great course: the tutor, Viv Green, is brilliant. The material covered is extremely relevant to the day to day enforcement matters that any LPA has to deal with. This course gives you the knowledge base and the confidence to make decisions more effectively. A must for every Enforcement Officer.
  • Debra Bell, South Cambridgeshire DC -I would recommend the course to everyone in Enforcement. The course made me examine every aspect of enforcement and was definitely worth all the hard work. As a result, I'm now starting a 12 month secondment as a planning officer and I know without my certificate in enforcement the move wouldn't have been possible or something I would have even considered. Thanks TRA - you've opened more doors for me!
  • Andrew Dudley, Melton BC -I would recommend attendance of this course to all enforcement officers, no matter how long they've been practising. From the basics of enforcement through to the complexities of material change of use I've learnt and re-learnt so much, I didn't realise how much that I didn't know or had forgotten. Vivien is a fantastic tutor, makes everything easy to understand and is so knowledgeable on the subject - all which goes to make the course enjoyable, even if it is hard work.

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 134 graduates.

Congratulations also to Simon Taylor on successfully completing his Masters in Planning Policy and Practice at London South Bank University. Simon was awarded the Certificate in Planning Enforcement in July 2009 and says that Vivien Green's teaching of the syllabus inspired him to learn more about planning.

Full details of the 2013 modules in Planning Enforcement can be found on our website. For any questions regarding the programme please contact Shelagh Pooley by email or phone on 01204 385678.

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Erewash and their neighbours learn how to 'add value' through design

TRA was recently commissioned to deliver a one-day workshop, hosted by Erewash Borough Council for their staff and neighbouring authorities, entitled Design in planning applications: how to add value.



This very popular workshop is uniquely related to design issues at the scale of everyday development management. It focuses on the role of design in the development management process and aims to help planners to consider matters of design; to develop their knowledge and confidence; and to assist them when advising on, and intervening in, the design process.



Specific aims of the workshop were:

  • to demystify, what is meant by 'the design process'
  • to equip participants with an understanding of some basic elements of 'good' urban design
  • to explore what is meant by 'sense of place' and how this can be translated into contemporary design
  • to consider some of the techniques that can be used when assessing the design merits of a planning proposal
  • to discuss participants' experiences in this area of work and exchange ideas on how planners can work positively with designers towards an improved end product.

The session was delivered by TRA presenter, Dan Roberts, and feedback from the participants was very positive:

  • Good mix of informative lectures and some group work to engage what we had learned in real life examples. Matt Wilson, NE Derbyshire District Council
  • I now need to utilise the suggested options today into practice to see how beneficial they are in my day to day job. Good exercises. Ryan Dawson, Broxtowe Borough Council
  • Excellent opening and reaffirmed my own ability in design and understanding design and place. Kenny Dhillon, Erewash Borough Council.

If you feel that your staff would benefit from running an in-house session on urban design matters (including the above-mentioned session) then please do not hesitate to contact Angela Holmes to discuss your requirements or to receive a detailed quotation.

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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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