Latest News

Latest vacancies on TRA's Planning Jobs Board - 24/01/15

The response to our new Planning Jobs Board, launched in October, has been really encouraging with an average of 12 new vacancies being added each week. Vacancies so far have covered roles in development management, enforcement, planning policy, conservation and design, and planning support.

It is entirely free for authorities to advertise their vacancies and free to search for those looking for a new opportunity.  We decided to set up the Jobs Board as an additional service for our public sector clients and as a way of encouraging more people to visit our website.

New vacancies are being added all the time but here's a taster of current vacancies (with closing dates in February):

So if you are looking for a new challenge, visit TRA’s Planning Jobs Board regularly – it could change your life!

If, on the other hand, you would like to advertise a vacancy on our Jobs Board you can download our 1-page pdf which provides more information. Alternatively, you can simply send your text and the authority's logo (if you would like this to be included) to jobsboard@tra-ltd.co.uk. The Jobs Board is fully managed by TRA's staff in Bolton to ensure that the whole process of advertising is as quick and hassle-free as possible.


New Programmes for 2015 now published! - 23/01/15

We are pleased to announce that the TRA 2015 Training Workshop Programmes for both England/Wales and Scotland are now available and can be viewed on our website:

The TRA Training Programmes provide a unique and comprehensive package of value for money workshops and update conferences. They are aimed at those working in the planning and development field in both the public and private sectors, including not only planning professionals but also technical and administrative support staff and planning enforcement staff. TRA Professional Workshops are based on our 30 years' experience in providing specialist training; they incorporate practical exercises and discussion as opposed to a straight forward “lecture” format and are led by expert presenters who are experienced practitioners rather than academics. Feedback from previous participants has been very positive and some of their comments can be viewed here.

Once again, both programmes see the introduction of a number of new workshops which will run alongside some of our more established and popular events. New topics being covered in 2015 are:

England/Wales

  • An Introduction to Appeals
  • Use of Conditions: necessary, precise and enforceable?
  • Engaging with Local Communities in Neighbourhood Plan Preparation

Scotland

  • Understanding and Defining Development
  • The Basics of Planning Enforcement
  • The Use and Abuse of Planning Conditions and Section 75 Obligations
  • The Language of Urban Design

Detailed leaflets giving further information for most of the workshops in this year's programme are available to download from the TRA website and the remaining ones will be added very soon. Copies of our brochures which give details of the programme as a whole will soon be circulated to our mailing contacts as usual.

Bookings are invited on any of the events for 2015 and booking forms are available on the website. Our discounted block booking scheme remains in place for 2015. The scheme has proved very popular in recent years with authorities/organisations looking to gain better value for money wherever possible. Those wishing to take advantage of the scheme can earn up to 15% discount by booking 2 or more places at the same time (over any number of events in the programme). Block Booking forms giving further details are available to download from the website: England/Wales or Scotland

If you are unable to make a firm booking straight away but don't want to miss out, places can be reserved provisionally by telephoning 01204 385678 or via our online provisional bookings facility.


Examiner recommends Lincolnshire Neighbourhood Plans proceed to Referendum - 23/01/15

Examinations of two Neighbourhood Plans submitted to TRA by South Kesteven District Council were completed earlier this month. The Examiner, Colin Blundel, concluded that both Neighbourhood Plans (Stubton and Hough on the Hill Parish) meet the "basic conditions" and other legal tests required. He therefore recommended that, subject to some minor modifications, both Plans should proceed to a Referendum. South Kesteven will now consider the Examiner's reports and decide whether the Plans will proceed to this next stage.

The Neighbourhood Plan Examination service provided by TRA offers a competitive pricing structure and the excellent administrative backup and customer service for which TRA is well known. If you would like to know more about the service please visit the Neighbourhood Plan Examinations page of our website. If you are interested in receiving a quotation or have any additional questions you can contact Penny O'Shea on 01204 385678 or penny@tra-ltd.co.uk without obligation.


TRA awarded contract for Worcestershire training series - 23/01/15

In December 2014, following a successful tendering process, TRA was commissioned by the Worcestershire Planning Officers Group (WPOG) to prepare and deliver a programme of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) training sessions aimed at district and county planning officers in Worcestershire.

WPOG membership is made up of Worcestershire County Council, Worcester City and the District/Borough Councils of Malvern Hills, Wyre Forest, Wychavon, Bromsgrove and Redditch. 

The topics to be covered in the training programme include:

  1. National Planning Policy Guidance (NPPG) overview
  2. Negotiation skills for planning officers
  3. Development of Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs)
  4. Landscape Planning
  5. Planning Law and Development Management Updates

The first two sessions have now been completed and were prepared and delivered by TRA presenter, Chris Weetman; the feedback from both sessions was very encouraging:

National Planning Policy Guidance (NPPG) overview

  • Some interesting case law and emphasis on the importance of buying into the NPPF.  Angie Matthews, Wychavon DC
  • Met expectations, very interesting.  Helen Wills, Wyre Forest DC
  • Very informative, good to have lots of case law and a consultant’s perspective.  Rebecca Mayman, Wyre Forest DC
  • The trainer presented a dry topic with enthusiasm.  Sarah Matthews, Wychavon DC

Negotiation skills for planning officers

  • A very useful session and clear in delivery.  Rebecca Mayman, Wyre Forest DC
  • A good workshop and some interesting examples.  C Barker, Worcestershire CC
  • I felt I learnt a lot and will look forward to putting it into practice.  Emma Newfield, Redditch BC
  • Exceeded my expectations!  Julie Male, Bromsgrove DC
  • More than met my expectations.  I thought I would know a lot already but it was delivered in a way I hadn’t thought about in some aspects.  Elaine Godwin, Wychavon DC.

The remaining sessions in this series are now running one a month until April.  If you think authorities in your area might be interested in taking this approach and running a series of workshops for Officers and/or staff, please do not hesitate to contact Angela Holmes with your requirements and to receive a ‘no obligation’ quotation.


TRA on Twitter - 20/01/15

We recently launched the new TRA Twitter feed @TRA_Limited and we'd love you to follow us - and encourage your colleagues to do the same. You'll be able to keep up-to-date with regular TRA news, behind the scenes info and special offers.

So why not follow us now on Twitter @TRA_Limited or just use the Follow Us link at the top right of our website.


An early reminder - Post-election training for Councillors - 12/01/15

For some authorities in England, local Council elections are taking place on the 7th May. We would like to remind those of you who are considering providing planning training in the coming months about the importance of booking early to ensure that your Councillors don’t miss out on one of our extremely popular in-house training sessions.

Even for those Councillors who are relatively experienced in planning, training will be especially important in light of the constant changes to the way in which the planning system operates.  We have updated all of our Councillor workshops to reflect these changes, and what they mean with regards to a member’s role and responsibilities; so you can be assured that our workshop content is bang up to date.
 
We can respond to various training requirements, providing individual bespoke sessions as appropriate, but particularly popular in the post-election period are our one-day sessions:

  1. Briefing on Planning for Councillors (two presenters) – covering planning procedures and policies, and focusing especially on Development Management
  2. The Role of Councillors in Planning: propriety and good practice (two presenters) - covering issues such as conflicts and declarations of interest, material considerations, lobbying, and making the decision
  3. A Planning workshop for Councillors - NEW (one presenter) – this is a new session combining elements from both of the above workshops to give a broad overview of planning and a Councillors role.

If the time commitment for Councillors is a major consideration we can also offer shorter sessions (3 hours) with flexible timings during a morning, afternoon or evening. These sessions are essentially shortened versions of the above Briefing on Planning and The Role of Councillors one-day workshops and are delivered by one presenter.

Please note that during workshops 1 & 2 (above) a pre-prepared case study is used throughout the day to help highlight key points and give the training a stronger impact. Due to the way in which session 3 runs and the time constraints of the shorter workshops the opportunity for practical exercises is greatly reduced and so a case study cannot be used during these sessions.

The Training for Councillors section of our website provides further information and answers the most frequently asked questions. We generally ask for around 4-6 weeks to arrange Councillor training but will aim to accommodate clients wherever possible thanks to our large team of experienced presenters.

Please note that demand is very high in the period immediately after the elections and therefore we would highly recommend that you get in touch as soon as possible to fix your preferred date and avoid any disappointment. A number of authorities have already avoided the rush and booked their training days so available dates in May are now limited, although we shouldn’t have any problems in booking sessions for June onwards at this stage.

To receive a detailed quotation, please contact Angela Holmes without obligation. The prices that we quote are 'all-in' and therefore include all of our fees, presenter’s expenses and pre-course/course material. This means that there are no hidden extras and our clients are aware from the outset what they can expect to pay at the invoicing stage.

Don’t leave it until the last minute, contact us today!


Camden CIL Schedule approved by Examiner - 08/01/15

The first CIL Schedule submitted to TRA for examination has been approved by the Independent Examiner.

The London Borough of Camden submitted its Draft CIL Schedule to TRA on 28 August 2014 and appointed Terrence Kemmann-Lane as the Examiner. Following a Hearing held on 11 November 2014, the Examination was concluded on 16 December 2014 and the Examiner's Report recommended that the proposed charging schedule can be adopted in its published form without changes.

The intention is for the CIL Schedule and related documents to be reported to Camden's Cabinet on 24 February 2015 and the full Council on 3 March 2015 with a view to commencing CIL charging towards the end of March 2015. 

If you are interested in learning more about TRA's CIL Examination service visit our website for further information. You can also contact Penny O'Shea to find out more, including likely costs, without obligation.


Hough on the Hill Neighbourhood Plan submitted for examination - 16/12/14

The latest neighbourhood plan submitted to TRA for examination is the Hough on the Hill Parish Neighbourhood Plan. The plan was submitted by South Kesteven District Council at the beginning of December and has been allocated to TRA Associate Colin Blundel for examination. Colin is also undertaking the examination of another plan in the same district (Stubton).

The Neighbourhood Plan Examination service from TRA offers a competitive pricing structure and the excellent administrative backup and customer service for which TRA is well known. If you would like to know more about the service please visit the Neighbourhood Plan Examination page of our website. If you are interested in receiving a quotation or have any additional questions you can contact Penny O'Shea on 01204 385678 or penny@tra-ltd.co.uk without obligation.


2015 Training Workshop Programmes almost ready! - 15/12/14

The TRA Programmes of Professional Workshops are currently being finalised and will be posted on the website and circulated to our mailing contacts very soon.

If you would like to sign up to receive details you can subscribe to our mailing list here.

As always, the programmes feature many of our previously popular events, plus a selection of new topics being developed for 2015 which will include:

Scotland programme

  • Understanding and Defining Development
  • The Basics of Enforcement
  • Conditions and Section 75 Obligations
  • Urban Design

England/Wales programme

  • An Introduction to Appeals
  • Conditions (looking at writing, discharging and enforcement)

Our block booking system will remain in place for 2015 offering discounts of up to 15% for bookings of 2 or more places made at the same time - an excellent opportunity to sort out all your training needs for 2015 in one go and stretch the training budget that little bit further!


Latest vacancies on TRA's Planning Jobs Board - 12/12/14

The response to our new Planning Jobs Board has been really encouraging with an average of 12 new vacancies being added each week. Vacancies so far have covered roles in development management, enforcement, planning policy, conservation and design, and planning support.

It is entirely free for authorities to advertise their vacancies and free to search for those looking for a new opportunity.  We decided to set up the Jobs Board as an additional service for our public sector clients and as a way of encouraging more people to visit our website.

New vacancies are being added all the time but here's a taster of current vacancies (with closing dates in January):

So if you are looking for a new challenge, visit TRA’s Planning Jobs Board regularly – it could change your life!

If, on the other hand, you would like to advertise a vacancy on our Jobs Board you can download our 1-page pdf which provides more information. Alternatively, you can simply send your text and the authority's logo (if you would like this to be included) to penny@tra-ltd.co.uk. The Jobs Board is fully managed by TRA's staff in Bolton to ensure that the whole process of advertising is as quick and hassle-free as possible.


Getting the best from your Support Staff - 09/12/14

TRA knows that Administrative and Support Staff play a vital role in the delivery of the planning service and to be fully effective they need to be properly trained. Training budgets may be tight, but neglecting training often proves to be short-sighted. It is precisely in times like these when you really need your key resources – i.e. your staff – to be working both effectively and efficiently.  TRA has specialised in providing training tailored to the needs of this key staff group for many years.

Organising a workshop on an in-house basis represents a unique opportunity to have training which matches the requirements of the staff and the authority, delivered in a way which is both cost effective and convenient.

Some recent workshops for support staff were delivered by TRA Senior Presenter, Vivien Green, at Woking, South Derbyshire and South Oxfordshire and participant feedback from all of the sessions was very positive:

Woking – Effective Validation

  • It gave an overall insight of why/what is required to validate applications. The presenter was extremely thorough and explained things very well. She has given me the confidence to start validating.  All of the slides shown were very informative. Christine Duplock
  • Very good, very clear, easy to understand and digest. Frances Dalquen
  • The presenter effectively tailored the course specifically to our requirements to train Business Support Staff on Validation to assist with our program of moving this function from case officers.  Dan Freeland.

South Derbyshire – The Basics of Planning

  • Gave a good basic knowledge of the planning system in user friendly language that I could understand! (I am not a planner!) Vicky Smyth
  • The session had a lot more content that I expected. The history was really interesting. The presenter was very thorough and knowledgeable. It gave me a good overview and some understanding of the planning system.  Thank you!  Sharon Dixon
  • The workshop covered the planning process from start to finish including the history of planning.  It was very useful to me. Lorraine Brewster.

South Oxfordshire – Permitted Development

  • The training workshop more than met my expectations – thank you! Tim Small
  • The session was very helpful in setting out the basics of Permitted Development and it was great to get answers that were clear and concise.  Hannah Kruger.

A full list of the in-house workshops on offer for Support Staff can be viewed on our website, which also includes some feedback from previous participants. Please note that we are happy to consider designing bespoke sessions, or tailoring existing sessions to meet the needs of an individual client, so if you have any specific requirements please let us know.

If you do not have enough staff to make in-house training financially viable, you may want to consider joint in-house training, with staff from neighbouring authorities. Many of our clients now deliver training in this way, not only to maximise cost effectiveness but many find that their staff benefit immensely from being in an environment where they can share local knowledge and experience with staff from neighbouring authorities.

If you are interested in receiving a detailed no-obligation quotation for any of our support staff sessions, please do not hesitate to contact Angela Holmes.

 


Focused training for Councillors on specific aspects of planning - 08/12/14

Trevor Roberts Associates (TRA) is the UK’s leading provider of practitioner-presented training for Councillors involved in planning and has trained Councillors in almost 240 local authorities throughout England, Scotland and Wales.
 
Even if this kind of training has traditionally been delivered by your own officers, it is certainly worth considering an “external” training session provided by TRA.  These sessions are delivered by our experienced team of presenters, all of whom are planning practitioners, as opposed to academics.
 
Where Councillors have already undertaken basic training, we are able to conduct more detailed sessions on specific aspects of planning. These are mainly half-day "modules" with a single presenter.  Topics include specialist aspects of planning and updates on policy, procedure and good practice. Some of the topics we currently offer include:

  • avoiding cost awards at appeal (NEW)
  • planning enforcement
  • good practice for DM/planning committees (NEW)
  • a briefing on Neighbourhood Planning
  • trees and the planning process (NEW)

This is a small selection of the sessions that we can run exclusively on an in-house basis; a full list can be found on our website.  If required we are also happy to consider designing bespoke sessions, or tailoring an existing programme to suit an individual client’s needs – please do not hesitate to ask if you have any specific requirements.  

If you would like to see more information on any of our in-house training workshops for Members, including an outline programme, then please do not hesitate to contact Angela Holmes for a no-obligation quotation.  Please note that the prices we quote are “all in” and therefore include all of our fees, presenters expenses and pre-course/course documentation, this means that there are no hidden extras and our clients are aware what they can expect to pay at the invoicing stage from the outset.


Stubton Neighbourhood Plan submitted to TRA for examination - 28/11/14

Earlier this month TRA received the Stubton Neighbourhood Plan for examination. The Plan, prepared by Stubton Parish Council, was submitted by South Kesteven District Council and has been allocated to TRA Associate Colin Blundel for examination. We are also awaiting the submission of a second Neighbourhood Plan by South Kesteven in the next couple of weeks.

The Neighbourhood Plan Examination service from TRA offers a competitive pricing structure and the excellent administrative backup and customer service for which TRA is well known. If you would like to know more about the service please visit the Neighbourhood Plan Examination page of our website. If you are interested in receiving a quotation or have any additional questions you can contact Penny O'Shea on 01204 385678 or penny@tra-ltd.co.uk without obligation.


Brilliant start for our new Planning Jobs Board - 26/11/14

Just over a month ago, we launched our new Planning Jobs Board as part of the TRA website.  It is entirely free for authorities to advertise their vacancies and free to search for those looking for a new opportunity.  We decided to set up the Jobs Board as an additional service for our public sector clients and as a way of encouraging more people to visit our website.

The response has been great, with well over 60 vacancies listed on the Jobs Board in its first five weeks. Vacancies have covered roles in development management, enforcement, planning policy, conservation and design, and planning support.

New vacancies are being added all the time but here's a taster of current vacancies (with closing dates in December):

So if you are looking for a new challenge, visit TRA’s Planning Jobs Board regularly – it could change your life!

If, on the other hand, you would like to advertise a vacancy on our Jobs Board you can download our 1-page pdf which provides more information. Alternatively, you can simply send your text and the authority's logo (if you would like this to be included) to penny@tra-ltd.co.uk. The Jobs Board is fully managed by TRA's staff in Bolton to ensure that the whole process of advertising is as quick and hassle-free as possible.


Hammersmith and Fulham submits CIL Schedule for exam - 25/11/14

The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham submitted its Draft CIL Charging Schedule to TRA on the 18th November. The schedule will be examined by experienced examiner Terrence Kemmann-Lane.

Submitting your CIL Schedule automatically to the Planning Inspectorate is not the only option available. TRA established its CIL Examination service to offer an alternative route for authorities looking to appoint a CIL Examiner.  As an independent organisation that has provided support for the planning service for many years, TRA is ideally placed to offer a prompt, professional and competitively-priced CIL Examination service.

If you are working towards the introduction of the Community Infrastructure Levy in your authority, why not let us provide you with a quotation?  Further details can be found on the CIL Examination page of our website and you can also contact Penny O'Shea on 01204 385678 or penny@tra-ltd.co.uk to discuss your requirements on a no-commitment basis.