ENews Issue - 28 August 2013

ENews - August 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.

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In this issue:

  • Enforcement Forum reminder - still time to book
  • TRA helps produce new guide to "Successful Plan Making"
  • TRA recommends new text on planning enforcement
  • Conference for Planning Support Staff returns to Manchester
  • Canterbury City Council: bespoke 5-workshop series successfully completed
  • TRA Training workshops coming this Autumn
  • Norfolk authorities join together for Enforcement training




Enforcement Forum reminder - still time to book

Our latest Forum on Enforcement is taking place in Manchester on 26 September. Places are still available but we'd recommend booking soon if you do want to attend. If you can't send a booking right away it would be best to reserve a place provisionally via our online provisional booking system or by contacting Shelagh Pooley on 01204 385678.

Topics being covered include:

  • a legal update on recent cases and their relevance to day-to-day enforcement work
  • lessons from the Dale Farm experience
  • managing enforcement proactively
  • tips on writing appeal statements and attending site inspections
  • how to avoid being investigated by the Ombudsman.

Full details and a booking form are on our website. Discounts are available if you book more than one place. This is always a very popular event and we hope to see you there.

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TRA helps produce new guide to "Successful Plan Making"

The Planning Advisory Service (PAS) recently published a new guide - Successful plan making: advice for practitioners - and much of the analysis on which it is based was carried out by TRA. It was the latest commission awarded to TRA under the PAS approved supplier framework.

PAS has been supporting local authorities with their plan-making (sometimes jointly with the Planning Inspectorate) and the knowledge and experience gained has been distilled into the guide. It is part relective and part looking forward and is designed to help practitioners learn from the experience of other authorities and avoid some of the past plan-making pitfalls.

Successful plan making - advice for practitioners is available for download from the PAS website.

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TRA recommends new text on planning enforcement

Having recently taken silk, Richard Harwood QC, has just released his new edition of Planning Enforcement. Offering a comprehensive guide to the enforcement of planning law, the text considers the kinds of projects which require planning permission and discusses the reasons for and the ways in which enforcement is enacted.

TRA was able to review an advance copy and Senior Associate (and enforcement expert) Vivien Green has added it to the recommended reading list for her students on TRA's certificated course in Planning Enforcement. She was pleased to see a text book which considers changes consequent on the Localism Act and the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act.

The book is normally priced at £75 but TRA can provide details of how to get 15% off - just contact Shelagh Pooley by email or on 01204 385678.

The book is published by Bloomsbury Professional, ISBN: 978 1 78043 178 9.

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Conference for Planning Support Staff returns to Manchester

TRA have been running an annual Conference for Planning Support Staff in the North West since 1991 and added a second conference in London in 2002. As a result of budget issues in local authorities it has not been possible to run the event in the North for the last couple of years, however following requests from a number of authorites the conference is returning to Manchester for 2013.

The event will be held at the Staff House Conference Centre on 17 October 2013. It is aimed at all administrative and technical staff involved in the planning process and represents an excellent opportunity to meet with colleagues from other authorities, exchange experience and learn about current best practice and future developments affecting planning. In this period of continuing uncertainty and challenges in the planning world, the conference will address new areas of practice as well as day to day issues, with this year's topics/contributors including:

JULIE JOSEPH, Former Local Authority Planning Manager and now freelance Planning Consultant - Planning reform and its implications

Julie will take a look at recent reforms, particularly to validation and PD, and examine what support staff should now be doing to comply with them; plus a look ahead to forthcoming changes in other areas such as neighbourhood planning and its implications for support staff.

VIVIEN GREEN, Planning Consultant and TRA Senior Associate - Forgotten but not gone - other crucial support tasks

Vivien will explore a number of planning support processes which tend to be less in the spotlight but are still crucial including registers and decision notices.

CHRIS WEETMAN, Planning Consultant and previously Development Services Manager at St Helens Council - The psychology of dealing with planners and the public

Chris will explore the art of dealing with planners and members of the public to help support staff get the best out of difficult situations and people.

SIMON ROWBERRY, Interim Head of Planning & Building Control at the City & District of St Albans - Challenges and opportunities

Simon has recently initiated a number of improvements within the Technical Support Team at St Albans, and will provide an update on the challenges and opportunities within planning and their possible implications for support staff.

Once again, the conference is being run in association with the Planning Admin Network (PAN), a free online network open to anyone with an interest in the administration of the planning service. Membership of PAN is absolutely free and registration is quick and easy via the PAN website.

A discounted price of £170 per person is available for PAN members (normal event price £185) and further discounts of between 10 and 15% are available to all via our block booking scheme for 2 or more places booked at the same time (over any number of events in the 2013 programme).

Further details for the conference and a booking form can be found on the TRA website or on this downloadable leaflet/booking form. If you are unable to make a firm booking straight away, places can be reserved provisionally here.

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Canterbury City Council: bespoke 5-workshop series successfully completed

Back in June, ENews reported on Canterbury City Council who had commissioned TRA to provide a series of bespoke training workshops for their officers and technical staff. Five sessions were commissioned in total to be delivered once a month starting from April. These were:

  1. Planning conditions and obligations
  2. Enforcement and certificates of lawfulness
  3. The basics of planning
  4. Effective validation
  5. An introduction to the appeals process.

The final two sessions have now been delivered by TRA Senior Associates, Vivien Green (4) and David Kaiserman (5) and as with the previous three workshops we received some excellent feedback from participants:

Effective Validation

  • Food for thought in these challenging times. Alison Gravett
  • It surpassed my expectations! Most of our questions had been anticipated in the training. The information regarding new legislation/changes was incredibly useful and simply delivered to avoid confusion (except where the legislation itself is causing confusion!). Nan Barton
  • Excellent and informative as usual. Sarah Burningham
  • The workshop was very informative and after being on maternity leave it was well explained (the changes). Karen Evans.

An introduction to the appeals process

  • Superb! Knew nothing of this process before embarking on this course - thank you! Alison Gravett
  • Very well presented and very easy to understand. Jan Lawford
  • Gave me a much better understanding of Hearings and Inquiries, as I have only been involved in the admin part of the appeals written reps procedure in the past. Sarah Burningham
  • Very good. We had officers with a range of job titles, experience and knowledge - the training was very good in that it was suitable for all. It covered all key topics and was a good day. It gave an excellent framework to the appeals process. Louise Reid
  • Met my expectations and more! This was really great. The appeal examples were really useful and interesting - food for thought. Nicola Hughes.

TRA has extensive experience in preparing bespoke training solutions and in the past has successfully completed a series of several workshops for the Surrey Planning Officers Association (SPOA), the Hereford & Worcester County and District Planning Officers Group (CADPOG), and the Kent Planning Officers Group (KPOG), to name a few.

Please note that clients who opt for a series of 4 or more workshops are eligible to receive a discount on our standard workshop prices. As with the above-mentioned series, sessions can be delivered across a number of months and if required a structured invoicing plan can be agreed. So if you have any particular training requirements and would like to discuss the options available, then please do not hesitate to contact Angela Holmes, without obligation.

You can see more of the topics we can offer on an in-house basis via our website.

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TRA Training workshops coming this Autumn

As mentioned in last month's Enews the TRA Training Programme for Planning and Development Practitioners will re-commence in September following the Summer Break with some of our popular well-established workshops. Taking a look ahead, we have a couple of newer workshops coming up in October at our York venue, one of which is brand new and the other added to the programme just a couple of years ago and already proving quite popular:

Avoiding Cost Awards at Appeal (NEW FOR 2013)

There is an increasing tendency for both appellants and Councils to make an application for costs on appeal. An award of costs against you is unwelcome at the best of times, and particularly in these days of limited resources, but they can be avoided through good practice. By examining a variety of scenarios, this brand new workshop analyses each stage from receipt of an application through to appeal (by Written Representation, Hearing or Public Inquiry), including Committee decisions. It considers what measures can be put in place to minimise the risks of a successful costs claims against you and in what circumstances you should pursue an application for costs against the other party. The workshop is appropriate for all those involved in Development Management, including both Council officers and planning advisors to appellants and third parties.

This workshop will be particularly helpful in light of an important change about to be introduced to appeals with the intention of improving transparency and timeliness. Appeals submitted on or after 1 October will be subject to a new practice whereby the Inspector may award costs on his / her own initiative as well as dealing with applications from the parties. Costs decisions will continue to be based on the same test of reasonableness.

Planning Enforcement in Practice: the core elements in detail

This workshop will be best suited to those who already have at least some experience of enforcement either as enforcement officers, planning officers or lawyers. For anyone who has previously attended our popular 'Basics of Planning Enforcement' workshop this session would be an ideal next step. The workshop focuses on the nuts and bolts of handling enforcement complaints: getting information to assess a breach; drafting a report on expediency; and considering the use of an enforcement notice. There will be an opportunity to look at what went wrong with some real notices and whether they could be rectified on appeal. Where appropriate, the workshop will also include an update on any government proposals affecting enforcement.

Both of these workshops will take place on 3 October 2013 and further details can be found on the TRA website via the above links. Booking forms are also on the website or alternatively, places can be reserved provisionally via our online provisional bookings page.

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Norfolk authorities join together for Enforcement training

TRA was recently commissioned by Norwich City Council to deliver two consecutive one-day training workshops on Enforcement. The first day covered the 'Basics of Planning Enforcement' with the second day looking at the 'Core Elements of Planning Enforcement'. The training was attended by staff, not only from Norwich City Council, but also from North Norfolk DC, the Broads Authority and Broadland DC, and was made up of a mixture of planners, lawyers, enforcement officers and other staff new to enforcement.

The training was delivered by popular TRA presenter Vivien Green and feedback from both of the sessions was exceptional:

The Basics of Enforcement

  • Very useful presentation. I did not know a great deal about Enforcement prior to this session, but now I have a very good snapshot of the process which will help me develop my knowledge further. John Dougan
  • This was a very good overview of the procedures involved and the indications of potential pitfalls. I found the presenter to be very engaging and very knowledgeable on the subject; she held my interest well. Tony Shearman
  • Excellent! Very impressed with the presenter speaking without notes in a friendly and informative fashion. David Lowens
  • Very well delivered, good introduction to terms/concepts; as a new person to planning enforcement I found it really useful. Vicky Ellis
  • I didn't think a workshop on enforcement could possibly be interesting - but the presenter made it so! Well researched slides and informative handouts. Dave Richards

The Core Elements of Planning Enforcement

  • Excellent training day covering a lot of key planning enforcement topics. A very good refresher course. Ali Pridmore
  • Over and above my expectations. Much more detail than I'd have received from only being 'around' enforcement officers without working in enforcement. Robert Parkinson
  • The presenter was very engaging and knowledgeable and presented the information in an interesting way. Tony Shearman
  • A good reminder of the core elements of enforcement and food for thought on prioritising scarce enforcement resources. Kate Sleventon
  • Please pass on my thanks to the presenter for making a difficult subject flow. I will let anyone who is interested in training know that TRA are pleasant to work with and provide excellent training. Richard Divey.

Delivering joint training with neighbouring authorities is a popular approach for many of our clients, with positive results. Not only does it maximise the cost effectiveness of training but many find that it creates an ideal opportunity for participants to share local knowledge and experience (and it reduces travel, making it more environmentally friendly). For joint training we need to deal with one 'lead' authority as our client for liaison, administrative and invoicing purposes; the lead authority is then free to "sell-on" any spare places to their neighbouring LPAs.



If you feel that your authority has some specific training requirements and you would like to discuss them further, please feel free to contact Angela Holmes, without obligation.

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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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