Latest News

2015 Forum on Enforcement - advance details - 30/06/15

Hot off the press, and just in time for June's ENews, is the line-up for this year's Forum on Enforcement. The detailed leaflet will be available very shortly but in the meantime here are details of the topics and speakers.

The day will begin with a Legal Update provided by Izindi Visagie, founder of Ivy Legal.

There will be three parallel sessions - from which participants can choose to attend two (am and pm):

  • Defining the Planning Unit - Andrew George, Enforcement Officer, South Downs National Park Authority
  • Keeping Planning Permissions Alive - Michael Hyde, MH Planning Associates and TRA Associate
  • Substantial Completion - what does it mean? - Jonathan Short, Planning Enforcement Officer, South Kesteven District Council.

The Forum will conclude with How to Stop Wasting Your Time (Revisited) presented by Vivien Green, Planning Consultant and TRA Senior Associate. A similar session was delivered by Trevor Roberts back in 2006 and Vivien will be providing an updated context for the key message that efficiency and effectiveness are not the same thing.

The day will be chaired by Jonathan Cawley, Director of Planning and Cultural Heritage at Snowdonia National Park Authority.

We will post the specific leaflet and booking form on our website asap but if you would like to book now you can do so using our general booking form or block booking form

The Forum will take place in Manchester on 1 October 2015 and the standard cost per place is £190 plus VAT.

Latest vacancies on Planning Jobs Board - 29/06/15

Here are some of the current vacancies on our Planning Jobs Board (with closing dates in July and August):

Advertising on our Jobs Board is entirely free to local authorities handling their own recruitment (unfortunately we can't offer it to recruitment agencies). We are keen to include planning roles of all types including those in planning support and planning enforcement. If you would like to advertise a vacancy 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 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.

It is also free to search for those looking for a new opportunity. So if you are in the market for a new challenge, visit TRA’s Planning Jobs Board regularly – it could change your life! And please - if you do apply for one of these vacancies we'd be really grateful if you could mention that you saw it on the TRA Planning Jobs Board.

New workshop for LPAs dealing with Neighbourhood Plans - 24/06/15

Engaging with Local Communities in Neighbourhood Plan Preparation is a brand new TRA workshop for 2015. 

As neighbourhood planning becomes established as part of the plan-making environment, planning professionals will need to learn to work in different ways and draw on a wider range of skills to perform effectively in a new aspect of their role. They will be expected to provide advice and support to town and parish councils and community groups who are preparing neighbourhood plans (or interested in doing so) and this new training session looks at the range of issues they may be faced with. 

It focuses on: 

  • providing support to groups embarking on the preparation of a neighbourhood plan
  • resolving the traditional isues with which neighbourhood planning groups wrestle
  • establishing a context that will lead to a plan which meets the basic conditions
  • working with groups to ensure the collection of a proportionate evidence base
  • ensuring a proportionate environmental assessment that meets the basic conditions
  • providing assistance in preparing for examination
  • ensuring the full and proper implementation of the eventual plan through the DM process
  • retaining ongoing community engagement through a monitoring and review process. 

Participants will gain an appreciation of what has worked well elsewhere and how best to apply it in their own areas and an understanding of the capacity and investment that will be required to engage effectively with community groups.  Crucially, the workshop has been developed and will be delivered by a practitioner will significant experience of the neighbourhood planning agenda both within a local authority and as an Independent Examiner. 

The event is running in London on 12 November 2015 and places can be booked now. Full details are on our website

Training opportunities for those involved in Planning Enforcement - 18/06/15

TRA has long championed the vital role planning enforcement plays in maintaining an effective planning service across the UK. To this end we offer many training opportunities for local authority staff involved in Enforcement, from the annual Forum on Enforcement to the ever popular Certificated Training Programme for enforcement officers originally developed by TRA in conjunction with the University of Cambridge and, of course, our series of 1 day training workshops for England/Wales and Scotland.

The workshop programme is now entering its Summer Break while we soak up some sunshine (we hope), but will be back in September with a workshop for enforcement staff scheduled to run in both the England/Wales and Scotland Programmes:

  • Current Issues in Planning Enforcement: essential CPD update - Glasgow, 17 September 2015
    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. It will provide an update on relevant case law to assist participants in building up their legal knowledge and, as always, an opportunity to discuss matters of general concern and to share working experiences. (As this workshop focuses on a different aspect of enforcement each year, participants can attend more than once as many people have done previously).
  • Enforcement of Listed Building Control - London, 24 September 2015
    This popular 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, 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 building 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.
    There are now only a few places left on this workshop so prompt booking is recommended if you would like to attend.

Further details and booking forms are available on the TRA website via the above links. If you are interested in attending but unable to make a firm booking straight away, places can be reserved provisionally be telephoning 01204 385678 or via our online provisional booking facility.

Don't forget - discounts of between 10 and 15% are available to those booking 2 or more places at the same time (over any number of events) via our popular Block Booking scheme - details can be found on the TRA website.

'Planning Policy' matters for Fylde Borough Council Members - 18/06/15

In the aftermath of the May elections TRA has been extremely busy delivering ‘introduction’ and ‘refresher’ training to new and re-elected Members.  In addition to the Briefing on Planning and The Role of Councillors in Planning sessions that TRA provided for Fylde Borough Council, we were also commissioned to prepare and deliver an additional session for their members, focusing on Planning Policy

The aim of the workshop was to help Members understand the main issues in planning and how to tackle them through the interpretation and application of policy. It explained the various layers of policy, from the national to the local level. It referred to the National Planning Policy Framework, Local Plans, Neighbourhood Plans, and to the various bodies involved in the formulation of policies. The content was tailored to specific policy issues faced by the Council and reference was made throughout to their existing Local Plan, emerging Local Plan and other policy documents. 

The workshop was developed and delivered by TRA Presenter, Jed Griffiths, and feedback from attendees was extremely positive:

  • Expanded on the knowledge I had so in fact acted as a good refresher; although new information about planning was given.  Christine Akeroyd
  • Very clear and helpful especially with the “new” changes – some of our policies will need updating.  Viv Wilder
  • Very informative and was put over in a nice and chatty way; nice to hear about other regions and their problems/solutions. Angela Jacques

This one-day session is now available to all clients exclusively on an in-house basis; so if you would like to receive more information, such as an outline programme, then please do not hesitate to contact Angela Holmes for a no-obligation quotation.

Time to book post-election training for Councillors involved in planning? - 29/05/15

TRA is currently extremely busy with councillor training following the recent elections.  As the UK’s leading provider of practitioner-presented training for Councillors involved in planning, TRA has trained Councillors in almost 240 local authorities in England, Wales and Scotland. If you are still considering the options for providing training in the planning system for re-elected and/or new members - we can help.

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:

• A Briefing on Planning for Councillors
• The Role of Councillors in Planning: propriety and good practice
The Briefing on Planning workshop covers the basic policy and procedural aspects of the planning system. It is a “briefing”, giving an introduction and an overview for the benefit of any Councillors involved/interested in the topic. Although the focus is on development management, the aspect of planning with which most Councillors have most contact, it does cover other important elements as well as providing a crucial general context/framework so that Councillors can see where they fit into the overall picture. Short exercises are used during the day to help reinforce key points.

The Role of Councillors workshop focuses on the often complex issues surrounding the Councillors role when they are dealing with lobbying on planning applications and making decisions on the Planning Committee or Board; and the manner in which a Councillor must conduct him or her self. It provides an insight into good practice and reflects current legislation, exploring in detail the implications for planning. A real life case study is used throughout this session to reinforce key learning points and is an element which Councillors find interesting and useful.

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

Another alternative is a NEW training format that we have recently developed. This one-day workshop, A Planning Workshop for Councillors combines elements from BOTH of the above mentioned sessions and is delivered by one presenter, rather than two.  Due to the way in which the workshop runs a full case study cannot be used throughout the day, however the presenter does use short exercises and cameo cases to help reinforce key points.

The Training for Councillors section of our website provides further information and answers the most frequently asked questions. If you are interested in the possibility of arranging a training session and would like any additional information, such as an outline programme, please feel free to contact Angela Holmes without obligation.

Demand is always very high in the period immediately after the elections however, due to our large team of experienced presenters, we should have no problem in accommodating new bookings for late June and July at this stage.  We would highly recommend that you get in touch with Angela as soon as possible to discuss your preferred date(s).

Latest vacancies on Planning Jobs Board - 28/05/15

Here are some of the current vacancies on our Planning Jobs Board (with closing dates in June):

Advertising on our Jobs Board is entirely free to local authorities handling their own recruitment (unfortunately we can't offer it to recruitment agencies). We are keen to include planning roles of all types including those in planning support and planning enforcement. If you would like to advertise a vacancy 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 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.

It is also free to search for those looking for a new opportunity. So if you are in the market for a new challenge, visit TRA’s Planning Jobs Board regularly – it could change your life! And please - if you do apply for one of these vacancies we'd be really grateful if you could mention that you saw it on the TRA Planning Jobs Board.

TRA support for planning policy departments - 28/05/15

Although TRA is particularly well-known for its training and consultancy support for development management and enforcement, we also offer a range of services to assist planning policy departments and individual policy planners. These include:

Training and professional development workshops

Neighbourhood Plan Examinations

In appointing an Independent Examiner for a Neighbourhood Plan, the LPA is free to choose (with the agreement of the Parish Council or Neighbourhood Forum) anyone who has appropriate qualifications and experience, is independent of the Parish Council or Neighbourhood Forum, and has no interest in any land that may be affected by the proposed plan.

TRA's Neighbourhood Plan Examination Service offers appropriately qualified and experienced Examiners, a competitive pricing structure and the excellent administrative and customer service for which TRA is well-known.

Community Infrastructure Levy Examinations

The 2008 Planning Act requires planning authorities who wish to introduce CIL to have their proposed CIL Charging Schedule scrutinised by an independent Examiner. According to s212, the authority must simply "appoint someone who, in the opinion of the authority -
     a) is independent of the charging authority, and
     b) has appropriate qualifications and experience."

So, unlike Development Plan Documents, CIL Charging Schedules do not need to be examined by the Planning Inspectorate.

TRA can provide a professional, prompt and competitively-priced CIL Examination Service and we would encourage authorities to take a look at what we can offer so that they can make a fully-informed decision when appointing an Examiner.

Planning Jobs Board

Our new Planning Jobs Board is proving particularly popular for planning policy vacancies. Advertising on our Jobs Board is entirely free to local authorities handling their own recruitment (unfortunately we can't offer it to recruitment agencies).  The Jobs Board is also free to search for those looking for a new opportunity.

Protected Tree training for Canterbury City Officers - 19/05/15

Following a successful in-house training session at Oadby and Wigston Council in March, TRA was recently commissioned by Canterbury City Council to deliver another one-day in-house workshop on Trees and the Planning Process. This time the training was for the benefit of Planning and Conservation Officers taking on responsibility for trees as part of a change in their roles. 

The workshop provided training on protected trees, in particular tree preservation orders and allowed participants to understand how and why trees are protected and help them determine the suitability of subject trees for the serving of a new TPO.

The session, which was delivered by TRA presenter, Sharon Hosegood, was extremely interactive and a visit to a nearby park (right) to assess and discuss some of the local trees was an element the attendees found particularly interesting and enjoyable.

Post-course feedback from the participants was excellent:

  • Very much met my expectations. Planning Officers have very limited knowledge of Trees etc. The info and downloads are useful. Looking at trees in the park brings the assessment of the merit of trees to life and makes it understandable.  Nicola Hughes
  • The workshop was very well presented by a knowledgeable presenter.  Gave lots of useful pointers for dealing with ‘tree issues’ and for finding further information. Steve Musk
  • A range of topic areas covered in great detail and delivered clearly and concisely. Extremely helpful workshop. Sian Smith
  • Really enjoyable and learnt a lot! Very well presented and very engaging. Thank you!  Louise Daniels
  • It was thorough, interactive, practical and well organised. The training was engaging and practical unlike much theoretical training common today.  Vicky Taylor.

If you think your authority would benefit from an in-house session similar to the above then please do not hesitate to contact Angela Holmes for a no obligation quotation. Remember, the prices we quote are ‘all-in’, so there are no hidden extras and you are aware from the outset what you can expect to pay at the invoicing stage.

Crawley Down Neighbourhood Plan submitted for examination - 15/05/15

The latest neighbourhood plan submitted to TRA for examination is the Crawley Down Neighbourhood Plan. The plan was submitted by Mid Sussex District Council at the end of April and has been allocated to Examiner Brian Dodd.

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 without obligation.