ENews Issue - 30 September 2013

ENews - September 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:

  • Sorry it's a bit late
  • Places available on Glasgow workshop on Conditions and s75 Agreements
  • Next opporunity to attend the Certificated Course on Enforcement
  • New inter-authority workshops for Autumn 2013
  • Valuable lessons for Junior Planners on Material Considerations and Report Writing
  • Popular Councillor workshops available in half-day formats




Sorry it's a bit late

Apologies that this month's ENews is even later in the month than normal - but we've made it just in time to call it the September edition. It's also a little shorter than normal due to staff holidays etc, but we hope you find it useful nevertheless.

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Places available on Glasgow workshop on Conditions and s75 Agreements

Our popular workshop on Conditions, Planning Agreements and Planning Gain is running again in Glasgow on 14 November and there are still a few places available for anyone who would like to attend.

The workshop is suitable for all staff dealing with development management and the development of local plan policy and would also be of interest to planners working in the developement industry.

Specific aspects covered include:

  • the basic legal principles of imposing conditions or planning agreements on applications
  • the interaction of legal rules with government policy
  • Planning Agreements under Section 75 of the 1997 Act (as amended)
  • dealing with conditions and infrastructure issues.

Participants will have the opportunity to thrash out some of the theoretical and real-life difficulties of day to day practice in this area with a highly experienced legal adviser and with fellow participants.

Feedback on this event from previous participants:

  • The workshop was delivered in an informative, entertaining yet relatively informal manner and fully met my expectations. It certainly provided me with food for thought as to the use of conditions or s75 agreements. Tony Maric, Perth & Kinross Council
  • Highly informative workshop which facilitated good discussion. Scott Shearer, Scottish Borders Council
  • Very relevant with good working examples. Laura McLetchie, East Dunbartonshire Council.

If you would like to book a place on this workshop please complete the booking form on our website, or use our online provisional bookings facility (or call us on 01204 385678) if you are not yet ready to make a firm booking but would like us to reserve your place.

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Next opporunity to attend the Certificated Course on Enforcement

The next modules in the sought-after Certificated Training Programme in Planning Enforcement are scheduled to run in January and March 2014 and bookings are now being taken. The two modules are:

  • Planning enforcement procedures and practical use of the toolkit (Please note that this module is provisionally fully booked but we are keeping a waiting list and there is a reasonable chance of places becoming available - please get in touch)
  • Planning enforcement and advertisement control.

Both modules will take place at Madingley Hall in Cambridge in January and March - see the above links for exact dates and more information on the scope/coverage of each module.

The modules are 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 140 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 both to themselves as individuals, and also the improvements to their authority's enforcement function as a result of information they have been able to take back with them. Some comments from previous students.....

Planning enforcement procedures and practical use of the toolkit

  • I feel that the module has given me a much broader understanding of the enforcement options which I can build on in the future. Mark Balderson, South Lakeland DC.
  • I have a better understanding of appropriate ways to deal with breaches and complaints and am able to more fully contribute to discussions relating to these. Kirstie May, West Sussex CC
  • I have definitely gained more knowledge regarding clear and specific drafting of notices which I shall find immensely useful in the future. Tracey Consterdine, Adur & Worthing Councils.
  • An extremely useful module that I feel is essential to the job. Ryan Dodd, East Lindsey DC.

Planning enforcement and advertisement control

  • This course will have a lasting impact. Not only have I gained considerably from the experience but the notes and assignments will provide a lasting reference for the entire enforcement team enabling us all to perform better. Rosemarie Dannatt, Arun DC.
  • The advert regulations are very complex. The module has shown me how to work through the regs and apply the correct classes. Rajinder Lalli, Warwick DC.
  • I will have the confidence to prepare a case for prosecution and hope it would be successful. Kerry McCartney, Allerdale DC.
  • Through increased knowledge of the planning system as a whole, I am now aware that adverts can be effectively dealt with which has made my job a lot easier. Gemma Manthorpe, Great Yarnouth BC.

If you would like to reserve a place on either 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 01204 385678.

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New inter-authority workshops for Autumn 2013

The TRA Training Workshop Programme re-commenced in September following the Summer break, with the successful running of three 'old favourite' workshops at our popular London venue. In contrast, we have another three workshops coming up at this venue on 5 November, two of which are new introductions to the programme for 2013. A number of places are still available on each one however prompt booking is recommended to avoid disappointment.

Understanding Viability: key concepts in development economics for planners

In the current economic situation the need to be able to understand a development's viability has become an important issue for planners from all sectors of the profession. An understanding of viability can have a significant bearing on whether a development goes ahead and, if so, what benefits might accrue. This workshop is aimed at all planning and development professionals who need to judge the viability of development plans and projects. The workshop will be particularly relevant to public and private sector staff who work, assess and negotiate contributions under a planning agreement. As a result of taking part in the workshop, participants should be able to understand different approaches to financial appraisal; be able to assess in broad terms the viability of proposals; and appreciate the financial impact of conditions and planning agreements under consideration. The workshop will also review the negotiation positions typically adopted by the parties to planning agreements. Use will be made of basic financial models including the layout of Excel spreadsheets and there will be a review of the available software packages.

Comments of previous participants on this workshop include:

  • "Good overview of economic background to viability" Alice Eggeling, Three Rivers District Council
  • "The presenter's enthusiasm and knowledge helped massively. The content was useful and explained patiently, when required" Robert Allan, Shepway District Council

Enforcement of Listed Building Control (NEW FOR 2013)

This brand new workshop will provide a valuable introduction or essential CPD for Enforcement Officers who investigate and deal with breaches of Listed Building Control and complements our existing workshops on the "Basics" and the "Core Elements" of Planning Enforcement. It is suitable for Planning and Conservation Officers who may get drawn into dealing with breaches of listed building control, managers who may have to authorise taking enforcement action or lawyers who have to draft notices or consider prosecutions. The workshop will look at the legislative framework (including relevant provisions of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act), the pros and cons of using particular procedures and current best practice. Topics covered during the day will include: what is listed, defining the curtilage, what constitutes a breach of listed bui lding control, investigations and use of statutory notices to obtain information, when to caution, using enforcement tools, appeals, whether to "prosecute (s9 and s43), what has to be proven/statutory defences and the use being made of POCA. Reference will be made throughout to relevant case law.

Examinations of Development Plan Documents (NEW FOR 2013)

This workshop aims to provide those who are about to be involved in an examination of a development plan document with a better understanding of the system; what it is designed to achieve; and crucially, how they personally can participate in the process effectively. The day will explore the processes involved at Examinations; the tests of 'soundness' that the Inspector must consider and the roles of the different participants. The training will include a detailed look at the role of the planning officer and how to deal with questions and advocacy, and take a look at what the Inspector does, both at the Examination and after the Examination has finished. The session will also offer participants an opportunity to take part in a mock Examination, which will help to demonstrate the points learnt on the day.

Comments of previous participants who have attended this workshop on an in-house basis include:

  • "A lot of information was shared, and the timing of the training day was excellent. We have some knowledge of the 'process' but the training day provided greater reassurance and also very helpful guidance. I would recommend this training should be rolled-out to all LPAs immediately before going into the Hearings" Helen Sleigh, Rotherham MBC
  • "Very knowledgeable presenters who can provide advice on a wide range of LDF planning issues. The mock examination period/session was an excellent experience for any LPA planner heading towards examination of their DPD" Greg Shaw, Northampton Borough Council

Further details and booking forms for all these workshops can be found on the TRA website via the above links. If you are interested in attending but are unable to make a firm booking straight away, provisional bookings are recommended 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 under our discounted block booking system can earn you a discount of between 10 and 15%. See our website for details.

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Valuable lessons for Junior Planners on Material Considerations and Report Writing

TRA was recently commissioned by Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council to prepare and deliver a one-day bespoke training session covering Report Writing, Material Considerations and the Use of Conditions.

The workshop, developed by TRA Presenter, David Kaiserman, was aimed squarely at less experienced (but qualified) planners who are under pressure to perform to a high standard and who might feel that they are getting mixed messages about what that actually means in practice.

The workshop had two main objectives:

  • to "brush-up" on two basic aspects of the development management job; what are "material considerations" in the planning system (and how we decide what weight to give to them)? and the sometimes overlooked issue of conditions and how they should be used; and
  • to provoke a discussion about what makes a good committee report - in fact, any written report (such as a simple appeal statement). Who are we writing for, and what to leave in and cut out?

The day provided an opportunity for debate about good practice, drawing on the presenter's long experience both of local government and the work of the Planning Inspectorate.

Feedback from the session was very encouraging:

  • Extremely useful to gain an insight into issues from someone with so much experience. Richard Aston
  • Exceeded my expectations; covered all areas and enabled lots of question and interaction. Will hopefully be able to implement suggested changes soon! Lisa Hughes
  • This course has been extremely useful on a practical level, discussing a full breakdown of report writing. Personally, as I have just begun my placement year the skills learnt today will help me throughout the year. I also feel that the advice given will aid the authority in 'cutting down' the report writing task, making for a more efficient service. Gerard Manley
  • Very good and detailed, raised many issues which will help in report writing. The content of this course was just right and the reference to real life cases was very helpful. P. Jefcoate
  • Very helpful and good to take away handouts afterwards for future reference. Kate Phillips.

As a result of running the course, the authority now intends to revise its approach. If your authority has any specific requirements regarding training, or you would be interested in receiving more information about the above-mentioned workshop, then please do not hesitate to contact Angela Holmes directly for a no-commitment discussion.

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Popular Councillor workshops available in half-day formats

TRA understands that time can be a very important factor when organising training for Councillors due to the very high demands on their time. In view of this, we are sometimes commissioned to deliver shorter training sessions (usually 3 hours) in either a morning, afternoon or evening to suit an authority's requirements.

This approach now extends to our two most popular one-day Councillor workshops, A Briefing on Planning for Councillors and The Role of Councillors in Planning: propriety and good practice.

We would still recommend a one-day session as the most effective way of delivering these two topics, mainly due to the use of a real-life case study (helping to reinforce key points and is an element that Councillors find useful and interesting) and the added bonus of having two presenters delivering the workshop (so a wealth of current and relevant experience).

However, a shorter session could be the perfect solution if a one-day workshop is not a viable option. The half-day sessions are essentially shortened down versions of the above one-day workshops and therefore some elements are necessarily condensed to accommodate the time available. The workshops are delivered by one member of our experienced presenting team and do not include a case study due to time constraints.

Feedback from participants of recent shortened sessions has been very encouraging:

  • The workshop was excellent. I felt the session was informative and just long enough. Martin Donaghy, Bolton MBC
  • It gave me far more information that I expected and I found it extremely interesting and useful. Karen Lawrinson, Bolton MBC
  • Excellent course, I have not had planning training for years. A dry subject made interesting and fun. Grateful to the presenter for making this training acceptable, as I hate having to sit on Planning Committee! M. Murray, Bolton MBC
  • Covered exactly what I needed to know. Very refreshing delivery from the presenter, well connected with the members. Susan Bailey, Bolton MBC
  • Better than I anticipated! Very useful in terms of all the recent changes to planning rules. Deirdre Holloway, South Bucks DC
  • A useful and stimulating session. As always the anecdotes and examples illustrated the theory and principles effectively. Ralph Bagge, South Bucks DC.

So, if your members have any particular training requirements, but time is of the essence, there is always the option of delivering a shorter, more focused training session. To receive a quotation, including an outline programme, or to discuss your requirements in more detail, please contact Angela Holmes directly.

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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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