ENews Issue - 28 February 2013

ENews - February 2013

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:

  • Certificated enforcement course: next module on material change of use
  • The Basics of Planning: a workshop for everyone
  • Flexible invoicing for the end of the financial year
  • TRA Workshop Programme 2013 commences in Scotland
  • Are you a part of the Planning Admin Network (PAN)?
  • Hertsmere's Councillors start to plan for 'Neighbourhood Plans'
  • South Gloucestershire: delivering tailored in-house training solutions for their staff




Certificated enforcement course: next module on material change of use

The next module in the sought-after Certificated Training Programme in Planning Enforcement will be starting at the end of April and bookings can still be made.

The module focuses on Planning enforcement and material change of use and will take place at Madingley Hall in Cambridge on 30 April-1 May and 25-26 June. Please see our website for more information on its scope and coverage.

This module is part of a programme which leads to the award of the Certificate in Planning Enforcement for those who successfully complete 4 out of the 5 modules available; more than 130 students have been awarded the certificate so far. We are also pleased to have students attend individual modules on a one-off basis on a topic of particular relevance to them.

For each module, students are required to attend two two-day Tutorial Sessions and complete project work based on their own work situation. Because of this, a certain level of commitment is required but ultimately the student will gain a systematic framework for their job, and invaluable knowledge and skills which can make real improvements to their day-to-day work and also their own professional development. Feedback from previous students has been extremely positive in terms of the benefits to themselves as individuals and the improvements to their authority's enforcement function as a result of information they have been able to take back to the office. Some comments from previous students.....

  • Many of our cases involve alleged changes of use, all of which are very different. Being able to apply what I have learnt on the module in the future will make the job much easier. Ryan Dodd, East Lindsey DC
  • This module was very challenging, in-depth and there was so much information to take in. But I am glad that I did it as I am now more confident when dealing with material changes of use. I would highly recommend doing this module as you learn a lot about this "grey area". Carmel Driscoll, Mid Suffolk DC
  • Material change of use is a concept I deal with daily and I will be able to be confident in my ability and sure of my actions. Andrew Dudley, Melton BC
  • Understanding of material change of use was limited prior to this course. Now use concepts and frameworks from the course to effectively assess change of use. This module has been very enlightening! Neil Howat, South Gloucestershire Council.

If you would like to reserve a place on this module, a booking form is available to download from our website. Alternatively places can be reserved provisionally for a limited time via the online provisional booking facility, or by telephoning Shelagh Pooley on 01204 385678, who will also be pleased to answer any questions you may have about the certificated programme.

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The Basics of Planning: a workshop for everyone

For many years, TRA ran a workshop called The Basics of Planning for Administrative Staff. It was extremely popular but we were concerned that we were potentially excluding other staff who would have found the session really useful. So we developed a revised version of the workshop to make it suitable for administrative, technical, enforcement or other staff who want to learn about the key elements of the planning process, whether they work in local government, central government or the private sector.

This workshop, The Basics of Planning, is next running in London on 21 May and places can be reserved now.

The workshop aims to help participants develop an understanding of the key elements of planning and how they relate to each other and a basic understanding of the key legislative, policy and practice elements of the existing process and some changes that are proposed. Further details can be found via the above link.

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Flexible invoicing for the end of the financial year

Approaching the end of the current financial year and the start of the new one can make things complicated for those wanting to booking training: some people have money they need to spend before the end of the year and others want to book now but pay out of next year's budget. At TRA, we do our best to help minimise these issues by being flexible with the timing of invoices.

A couple of typical scenarios should illustrate how we can help:

  • You find you have some money left in this year's budget (it does sometimes happen!) and you want to spend it on an in-house training session from TRA but it's not feasible to organise and run it before the end of the year. In a case like this, we are able to invoice now, so you can ensure the money is allocated, and agree a time later in the year to actually run the training course. To discuss options just contact Angela Holmes.
  • You've seen a TRA workshop or conference that you want to go on and you are keen to book now to make sure you get a place but the money will be coming out of next year's budget. In a case like this, we are happy to accept your booking now but not issue an invoice until after the start of the financial year. To ensure we invoice in April, please mark this clearly on your booking form or contact Shelagh Pooley to be doubly sure.

We know that money for training is particularly hard to come by at the moment and we hope that by being flexible like this we can help make sure you don't miss out.

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TRA Workshop Programme 2013 commences in Scotland

The first two workshops in the Scotland Training Programme for 2013, one of which is brand new, are due to take place in Edinburgh on 23 April:

  • Advertisement Control

    Advertisement control is an increasingly important yet often misunderstood part of the planning regime. The present Scottish Advertisement Regulations came into force in 1984 and have remained substantially unaltered. This workshop provides a clear insight into the complexities of the Regulations using real life examples at each stage. The workshop will be of benefit to development management, enforcement and support officers. Specific aspects covered include: what is an advertisement; advertisements not covered by the Regulations; deemed and express consents; Areas of Special Control; advertisement enforcement and flyposting.

    Comments of participants who have previously attended this workshop include:



    "A good mix of participants which encouraged lengthy discussions between the group. I have definitely benefitted and extended my knowledge on Advertiseme nt Regs" Audrey Smith, Aberdeenshire Council



    "Excellent workshop on a very difficult subject" Brett Taylor, City of Edinburgh Council



    "It was very informative and I enjoyed all the discussions and examples that the Trainer provided, it's a very tough subject and he made it simple and approachable" Kirsty Hope, Falkirk Council

  • Current Issues in Planning Support: essential CPD update (NEW FOR 2013)

    This brand new workshop is suitable for anyone directly involved in administrative and technical support of the planning process and also DM Managers. Each year, this workshop will take a look at some aspects of the legislative and/or policy framework in which support officers work, as well as focusing on their current day-to-day practice issues. It will also cover any changes that the Government may be proposing. The update will provide an opportunity for participants to build up their knowledge and confidence, to discuss matters of general concern, share working experiences and consider improvements that can be made to practice in their authority.

Further details and booking forms for each workshop are available from the TRA website via the above links. Provisional bookings are recommended if you are unable to make a firm booking straight away, and can be made by telephoning 01204 385678 or via our online provisional bookings facility.

Don't forget, booking 2 or more places at the same time (over any number of events) will earn you up to 15% discount under our Block Booking Scheme. Further details are on this special block booking form.

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Are you a part of the Planning Admin Network (PAN)?

The Planning Admin Network (PAN) has been established since November 2006, has over 600 members and is of benefit to ANYONE who is interested in how the planning systems in England, Wales and Scotland function; it is not just aimed at Admin/Support staff, as the name might suggest.

The network functions via a dedicated website and because the network operates online, it's easy to contact people working in similar jobs regardless of whether they are in the next town or at the other end of the country - an opportunity you don't often get! It is coordinated by the TRA team including Senior Associate, Vivien Green whom many of you already know.

Membership is absolutely FREE and the key features are:

  • an interactive discussion forum - which offers members an opportunity to ask questions/get advice from other members
  • a monthly news section - enabling you to keep up to date with developments in planning
  • a useful links page - signposting other websites which may be helpful
  • a calendar - which allows you to see and set yourself reminders for upcoming TRA inter-authority workshops which might be of interest.

According to a previous survey, The Discussion Forum in particular is a very popular and useful feature, allowing members to pose questions and/or share their own knowledge and experience with others working in similar roles. There is also the opportunity to subscribe to the forum or a particular thread so that you receive an emailed notification when anyone has posted a new thread or replied to an existing thread - this ensures that you do not miss out on any action!

PAN News is updated once a month and is packed full of interesting and useful articles about the planning world and the wider context such as new legislation, current consultations etc. See an example of previous PAN News.

The PAN registration process is quick and easy and you only need to provide your preferred username, email and password. If you would like to join the network, you can sign up via the PAN website - just click on "register" on the homepage at www.planningadminnetwork.co.uk. Alternatively, to see more details visit the PAN page on our website.

Don't delay, sign up to become a PAN member today and open yourself up to a wealth of FREE information!

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Hertsmere's Councillors start to plan for 'Neighbourhood Plans'

Recent figures from DCLG reveal that more than 300 neighbourhoods across England have applied to become neighbourhood planning areas. In view of this, TRA has recently developed a NEW half-day briefing for Councillors on Neighbourhood Planning. The briefing was delivered earlier this month at Hertsmere Borough Council for the benefit of their members and those from neighbouring authorities.

The session explained the background and principles behind the concept of neighbourhood planning and the progress made to date. Step by step, it covered the processes and procedures for preparing Neighbourhood Plans and the requirements of the Neighbourhood Planning Regulations 2012.

The presenter, Senior Associate, Jed Griffiths, examined the implications of the legislation for the Borough Council, and helped them to understand how the Council can engage with the local community in a positive manner.

Course feedback was very positive:

  • A thorough and detailed explanation of the Neighbourhood Plans process. Harvey Cohen, Hertsmere Borough Council
  • Certainly met my expectations. Explained the process well. Ann Harrison, Hertsmere Borough Council
  • It set out clearly the respective responsibilities of Parish Councils and Planning Authorities. John Howleym, Aldenham Parish Council.

This session is now available for delivery to all prospective clients, so if your authority is interested in learning more about 'A briefing on Neighbourhood Planning', please contact Angela Holmes directly to receive a no obligation quotation, which includes an outline programme.

The prices we quote are 'all inclusive', so there are no hidden extras and you are aware from the outset what you can expect to pay at invoicing stage.

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South Gloucestershire: delivering tailored in-house training solutions for their staff

Support staff play a vital role in the delivery of the planning service and to be fully effective they need to be properly trained. Due to internal staffing changes at South Gloucestershire Council TRA were recently commissioned to develop and deliver a training workshop covering Permitted Development and Advert Control. As the lead authority, South Gloucestershire had only a small number of staff to train, but in order to make the session financially viable they chose to invite staff from several neighbouring authorities, who took up the remaining spaces.

An introduction to practice: Working with Permitted Development and Advertisement Control was delivered over one-day and specific aspects covered included:

  • the definition of development (and statutory inclusions and exclusions)
  • where permitted development comes from and the legislative background
  • the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995, (as amended), including definitions, consideration of the Articles, and the classes of permitted development
  • householder and minor developments
  • the definition of an advertisement
  • current legislation and guidance on adverts
  • understanding and working with advertisement regulations
  • dealing with applications
  • appeals.

The workshop was developed and delivered by TRA Senior Associate, Vivien Green, and participant feedback was excellent:

  • The session went into great detail and I therefore came away with a greater knowledge of the subject matter. Joe Richardson, Wiltshire Council
  • Exceeded my expectations. By far, one of the best training sessions I have been to recently. I'll feel more confident and informed when dealing with PD and Advert Regs. Sasha Coombs, Bath and North East Somerset Council
  • Extremely relevant and topical. A. Pegler, Bath and North East Somerset Council
  • Very interesting and beneficial, especially the section on PD. Tina Taylor, South Gloucestershire Council
  • It dealt with a lot of relevant and complex issues that planners face on a daily basis and therefore will have useful practical application. James Jackson, Bath and North East Somerset Council
  • Met my expectations and more. It was nice to receive training from a presenter who is passionate about their subject matter! Jane Cole, Bristol City Council.

If your authority has any particular training requirements and would like to organise a session that covers specific topics, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with Angela Holmes to discuss the options available.

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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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