ENews Issue - 30 July 2013

ENews - July 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:

  • Popular DPD Exam workshop added to inter-authority programme
  • TRA Training workshop programmes to re-commence in September
  • Neighbourhood Plans: BRAND NEW in-house workshops for community groups
  • Help us spread the word about TRA
  • Involved in planning? Then you should be a part of the Planning Admin Network (PAN)...
  • Demystifying Planning Enforcement in the Isle of Man




Popular DPD Exam workshop added to inter-authority programme

TRA has been delivering workshops on Appearing at DPD Examinations on an in-house basis since 2007. So far, workshops have been commissioned by more than 25 authorities and the feedback from those involved has been very positive - you can see a list of clients and their comments on our website.

However, we do appreciate that some authorities may only be looking to train one or two staff at any one time (ie not enough to make an in-house session economically viable) and so we have added this popular workshop to our annual inter-authority programme for 2013. The workshop will take place in London on 5 November and places are still available.

Divided into two distinct sessions, the workshop provides participants with practical skills and essential information to assist them and their authority when they attend their own examination. The morning session explores the nature of the examination process and the role of the different participants and provides practical advice and examples. The afternoon session is centred around a mock Examination Hearing exercise.

Please see our website for full details, including a booking form. Places can also be reserved provisionally for a limited period using our online provisional booking facility.

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TRA Training workshop programmes to re-commence in September

The first half of the TRA training workshop programmes for both England/Wales and Scotland is now complete and following the Summer break, when hopefully the sun will continue to shine, will begin again in September with some of our well-established and popular workshops focusing on Negotiation in Planning and Planning Enforcement:

Negotiation Skills: the key to achieving planning goals and objectives (England/Wales and Scotland)

Almost every day, planning, enforcement and other 'environmental' staff within local planning authorities engage in some form of negotiation. Often these negotiations, whether they are with developers, agents, the public or even their colleagues, are carried out without any clear understanding of the principles and techniques involved. Yet having an awareness of both principles and techniques, coupled with experience, can make a formidable difference to an officer's effectiveness. This workshop focuses on persuasion and influencing skills; when to negotiate and when not to; approaches to negotiation; "tricks" and techniques; and the power and personality dimensions. The workshop combines theories with working references from the experience of participants.

This workshop will take place in London on 19 September and Edinburgh on 24 September 2013.

The Basics of Planning Enforcement (England only)

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.

This workshop will take place in London on 19 September 2013.

Current Issues in Planning Enforcement: essential CPD update (Scotland only)

This workshop on enforcement is designed for anyone with an interest in planning enforcement; not just enforcement officers, but also development managers, planning officers and legal advisers who may get involved with enforcement issues from time to time. Each year, this unique and practical workshop takes a new look at some aspects of the legislative and policy frameworks as well as focusing on day-to-day enforcement practices and issues, so delegates will benefit from attending more than once. This year's workshop will look at issues surrounding the enforcement of conditions; how the "Connor Principle" is being applied to planning enforcement; relevant/persuasive case law in the last 12 months including the issues of "intensification" and "material break" in continuity; and the non-domestic amendments to the Permitted Development Order.

This workshop will tak e place in Edinburgh on 24 September 2013.

Further details can be found on the TRA website via the above links. Bookings can be made using the booking forms also available on the website via the links. If you are unable to make a firm booking straight away for a workshop you are interested in, provisional bookings are recommended and can be made by telephone on 01204 385678 or via our online provisional bookings facility.

Don't forget, bookings of 2 or more places will entitle you to between 10 and 15% discount under our block booking scheme.

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Neighbourhood Plans: BRAND NEW in-house workshops for community groups

Localism - and particularly neighbourhood planning - is giving Parish Councils, community groups and community forums a greater say in how their areas are planned and developed. Nowhere is this more evident than in the preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan.

Whilst support is available through a variety of sources when it comes to actually preparing a Neighbourhood Plan, it is vital that the people at the heart of the process understand from the very start how it all works so that they can get the most out of the process (and from those who are assisting them along the way). That way, they will be able to obtain the best results for their local community.

TRA has therefore developed two brand new half-day training workshops that are specifically designed for community groups and Parish Councils who are keen to embark on the preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan but may be unsure of what is involved and how the process works.

Whilst they are being offered to individual community groups, forums or Parish Councils, they can also be commissioned by LPAs for the benefit of a group (or groups) within their area to help bring forward Neighbourhood Plans.

  • An Introduction to Neighbourhood Planning has been designed for those who would like to know more about the processes involved in preparing a Plan and what the system can and cannot deliver as a whole. The workshop provides an introduction to neighbourhood planning, the legislation and the key stages that need to be addressed during the preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan. It will give those who attend a much more rounded understanding and appreciation of what neighbourhood planning involves
  • Neighbourhood Plans: preparation and examination focuses on the detailed aspects of preparing a Neighbourhood Plan and specifically what is required in taking a Plan through the Examination process and on to a Referendum. The workshop explores how best to project manage the process and how to make the most of the available sources of help, including using consultants. It also looks to demystify some of the more complex aspects around testing the plan and offers a straightforward step-by-step exploration of what will happen, when it will happen and who will do it. It will help delegates to focus on what they will need to do in their own areas and the tasks and issues they will need to tackle in order to produce a successful Neighbourhood Plan.

Further information on these workshops can be found on our website.

If you would like to discuss the possibility of organising a workshop on an in-house basis please contact Angela Holmes for a no-obligation quotation. Please note that the prices we quote are 'all-in' and so include all of our fees, presenter's expenses and pre-course/course material, meaning there are no hidden extras and our clients know from the outset what they can expect to pay at invoicing stage.

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Help us spread the word about TRA

2014 will see TRA's 30th anniversary in business 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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Involved in planning? Then you should be a part of the Planning Admin Network (PAN)...

The Planning Admin Network (PAN) has been established since November 2006 and now has just under 700 members. Although originally developed mainly to assist planning support staff, the network has evolved over time and would be of benefit to ANYONE who has an interest or involvement in the way that the town planning systems are administered in England, Scotland and Wales.

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!) and 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
  • a discount for TRA's annual Conference for Planning Support Staff.

The Discussion Forum in particular is a very popular feature with our members; allowing them to pose questions and/or share their knowledge and experience with others working in similar roles. There is also the opportunity to subscribe to the forum receive an email when anyone posts a new thread, and you can also subscribe to individual threads to ensure that you do not miss out on any of the action on topics which are of particular interest. Vivien oversees discussions in the Forum and offers her expert advice and opinion when required.

PAN News is circulated once a month (on or near the 15th) and is packed full of interesting and useful articles about the planning world and the wider context such as new legislation, current consultations etc. There are also 'Interim PAN News Alerts' issued as and when there are any changes in legislation/urgent news items which can't wait for the next PAN News publication. You can see a copy of last month's PAN News here.

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 relevant and FREE information!

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Demystifying Planning Enforcement in the Isle of Man

The Isle of Man Government recently commissioned TRA to develop and deliver a two-day training course on enforcement issues for the benefit of planning and enforcement officers with differing levels of experience.

The workshop provided training on defining the breach of planning control and planning enforcement. Its aim was to help participants to develop the knowledge base and confidence to deal with enforcement issues by providing practical and intensive training over a two-day period.

The workshop focused on the core elements of planning enforcement, including:

  • understanding and identifying what constitutes the breach of planning control (the concept of development and breach of conditions)
  • understanding key concepts including "the planning unit" and "immunity"
  • the importance of investigation and evidence of the alleged breach
  • defining "expediency" and "planning harm"
  • consideration of enforcement scenarios
  • making the most of the enforcement "toolkit"
  • the elements of a good enforcement notice.

These issues were explored in a variety of ways: inputs from the Presenter, Vivien Green, using visual aids, handouts and question and answer sessions, and group work on scenarios and real cases to explore the above topics in more detail. Throughout the training there was reference to any relevant jurisprudence from English case law.

Feedback from attendees was excellent:

  • This has been one of the best training courses I have ever attended in my 24 year career. I have learnt a lot and it has given me lots of ideas on how to improve our enforcement service. It will also provide valuable material for use in an ongoing exercise to review the scope and means of service delivery within the division. Michael Gallagher, Director of Planning and Building Control
  • Excellent overview. Good up to date case law, good advice on what others are doing and how the IOM might improve its enforcement service/powers. Good summing up of pitfalls to look out for. Good group interaction and participation. Edward Baker
  • Exceeded expectations. Covered a wide range of issues in depth, giving opportunities for questions and explanations. Clearly lots of work undertaken to tailor the workshop to IOM content. Excellent! S. Stanley
  • There was a lot of information and advice about best practice in planning generally, which leads to potential enforcement action - conditions particularly. The examples were good and illustrated some key lessons - one tends to learn most by mistakes - hopefully someone else's! Sarah Corbett
  • The training exceeded my expectations in many respects. Not only did it cover hints and advice in dealing with enforcement matters but it also covered case law and easy access to websites; thinking imaginatively in how to approach different cases; exceptional knowledge on law and hints as to how to improve legislation, enforcement policy and in-house procedures. Jennifer Chance
  • More than exceeded my expectations. The inherent tailoring of the material throughout to the Manx planning system was unexpected and hugely welcome. The ability to cross-refer our laws with those elsewhere in the British Isles by relying on the presenter's extensive knowledge of the same was also of great benefit. Very interesting and engaging, and a varied programme (presentation mixed with team-working). Edmond Riley

TRA are able to develop bespoke sessions for our clients on various planning related topics, some of which can be found on our in-house webpage. If you feel that your authority would benefit from receiving a tailored in-house training session then please contact Angela Holmes to discuss your requirements further.

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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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