Latest News

Training programme 2016 (England & Wales) now available - 29/01/16

The 2016 programme of workshops for planning and development practitioners in England and Wales is now available online, where you can download leaflets, booking forms and a handy programme summary.

Printed brochures are currently being circulated to the contacts on our mailing list and individual leaflets will follow shortly. If you would like to sign up to the mailing list you can do so via our website here.

The programme features repeats of several of our popular workshops along with six (yes six!) brand new topics:

Our popular Block Booking scheme will remain in place for 2016 offering discounts of between 10 and 15% for bookings of 2 or more places made at the same time over any number of events in the programme.  The scheme offers an ideal opportunity to sort out all your training needs for 2016 in one go as well as making training budgets stretch that little bit further!

Bookings are being taken now for all the events. If you would like to reserve a place provisionally now (to make sure you don't miss out) you can do so via our online provisional booking facility or by telephone on 01204 385678.

We hope there is something in our 2016 programme that will be of interest to you and look forward to seeing you at some stage during the year.


Latest vacancies on TRA Planning Jobs Board - 29/01/16

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

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 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.

It is also free to search for those looking for a new opportunity. So if you are in the market for a new challenge in 2016, visit TRA’s Planning Jobs Board regularly.

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 (most application forms ask this question).


2016 Scotland workshop programme now available - 28/01/16

The 2016 programme of workshops for planning and development practitioners in Scotland is now available online, where you can download leaflets, booking forms and a handy programme summary.

Printed brochures are currently being circulated to the contacts on our mailing list and individual leaflets will follow shortly. If you would like to sign up to the mailing list you can do so via our website here.

The programme features repeats of several of our popular workshops along with two brand new topics:

Our popular Block Booking scheme will remain in place for 2016 offering discounts of between 10 and 15% for bookings of 2 or more places made at the same time over any number of events in the programme.  The scheme offers an ideal opportunity to sort out all your training needs for 2016 in one go as well as making training budgets stretch that little bit further!

Bookings are being taken now for all the events. If you would like to reserve a place provisionally now (to make sure you don't miss out) you can do so via our online provisional booking facility or by telephone on 01204 385678.

We hope there is something in our 2016 programme that will be of interest to you and look forward to seeing you at some stage during the year.


Ashurst Wood Neighbourhood Plan submitted to TRA for examination - 27/01/16

The latest neighbourhood plan submitted to TRA for examination is the Ashurst Wood Neighbourhood Plan. The plan was submitted by Mid Sussex District Council in January and has been allocated to Examiner Andrew Ashcroft.

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.


New home for Planning Admin Network (PAN) - 26/01/16

Members of the Planning Admin Network (PAN) may have noticed that we have recently moved the online Discussion Forum onto the TRA website (to make life easier!)

The Forum can now be accessed via a link on the general PAN page or directly at http://pan.tra-ltd.co.uk.  But don't worry - if you use the old address (or a shortcut to it) you will automatically be redirected to the new location. The Forum still works in the same way and all previous posts, member details, logins etc have been transferred.

For those of you who are not familiar with PAN, it was established in 2006 and is co-ordinated by TRA. It is open to anyone who is interested in the way in which the planning process is administered in England, Scotland and Wales, in either the public or private sector. The network provides a convenient way for members to contact each other and share their experiences, issues and problems etc via an online Discussion Forum.

As you might expect, the majority of members are working in planning support roles but anyone involved in planning is welcome to join and we are keen to encourage a varied membership base.

Membership of PAN is on an individual basis and is absolutely FREE. The registration process is quick and easy; all you need to provide is your e-mail address and preferred username and password. To register just go to http://pan.tra-ltd.co.uk.


Sharpening Negotiation Skills in the Isle of Man - 25/01/16

TRA recently hopped over the water to the Isle of Man to deliver a one-day in-house workshop on Negotiation Skills. This session was the second in a three part series of training which will conclude in April.  The workshop is primarily aimed at planning and development staff who have to negotiate with various outside organisations, agencies and individuals as part of their work; although in this case training was also extended to building control staff, estates officers and a regeneration manager.
Specific objectives of the workshop were to:

  • establish clear, basic concepts of negotiation in planning and development situations
  • develop some operational and personal techniques in negotiation and explore how to apply these in working situations
  • recognise negotiation techniques which may be used by other parties, and how these may be "countered" if necessary
  • lay the foundations for continued learning about negotiation in working situations.

The workshop was developed and delivered by TRA Presenter, Chris Weetman, and feedback from the session was excellent:

  • Very informative and ran at a good pace. Jason Singleton
  • Very helpful and clear. Good use of case studies to gain a better understanding of the subject. Chris Balmer
  • Split of sessions good, not lengthy and easily absorbed. Appreciation gained of planning situations by a Building Control Officer. Mark Edwards
  • Very helpful and applicable to those involved in negotiation at all levels. Sarah Corlett.

If you feel that your authority would benefit from an in-house workshop on Negotiation Skills then please do not hesitate to contact Angela Holmes who will be happy to provide you with a detailed, no obligation quotation.


An early reminder - post-election training for Councillors in Planning - 22/01/16

For some authorities in England, local Council elections are taking place on Thursday 5th May. We would like to remind those of you who are considering providing planning training in the post-election period, 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; 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:

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 Role of Councillors one-day workshops and are delivered by one presenter.

A mixture of pre-prepared case studies and practical exercises are used during the sessions to help highlight key points and give the training a stronger impact. 

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. Several authorities have already avoided the rush and booked their training days, but we should have no problem in accommodating more bookings in May at this stage due to our large team of experienced Councillor presenters.

The Training for Councillors section of our website provides further information and answers the most frequently asked questions.

To receive a detailed quotation on any of the above workshops, 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!


Second session completed in Mendip's bespoke training series for Councillors - 14/12/15

TRA recently completed its second in-house Councillor training session in a series of four at Mendip District Council.  The first was a one-day ‘Briefing on Planning’ back in October, with two more short sessions still to run in January (The Role of Councillors in Planning) and March (Planning Obligations and Conditions).

The recent half-day workshop provided an overview of the significance of Appeals in the planning system. It looked at the way appeals are decided; and in particular considered the changes since the arrival of the National Planning Policy Framework. It also highlighted the principles behind the costs regime.  The workshop provided an opportunity for debate on the above, and generally threw some light on a number of current “grey areas”.

The session was put together and delivered by TRA Senior Associate, David Kaiserman and participant feedback was very complimentary:

  • Most certainly met my expectations. What a splendid company with consistently excellent presenters. Nigel Hewitt-Cooper
  • A stimulating evening. Clive Mockford
  • Very good, thank you! Daniel Unwin
  • Fully met my expectations. Brilliant! Peter Bradshaw
  • Very interesting and though provoking. Nigel Woollcombe-Adams
  • An excellent presentation. David Stevens

TRA is very experienced in training Councillors in planning. It has been specialising in this for over 20 years, and has conducted in-house assignments involving many thousands of Councillors in almost 240 authorities throughout England, Wales and Scotland.

Please refer to the Councillors Training section of our website to see what we can offer in terms of in-house training for your Members.  If you have any specific requirements please do not hesitate to contact Angela Holmes who will be happy to discuss your needs in more detail and provide you with a no obligation quotation if required.

Please note that the prices we quote are ‘all-inclusive’ so include all of our fees, presenter’s expenses and pre-course/course material; meaning there are no hidden charges and our clients are aware of what they can expect to pay at invoicing stage from the outset.


Charnwood and Horsham focus on improving their Use of Conditions - 10/12/15

TRA was recently commissioned to deliver one of our NEW workshops - Use of Conditions: necessary, precise and enforceable? - on an in-house basis at both Charnwood BC and Horsham DC. 

The workshop is suitable for anyone involved in drafting conditions or in monitoring and enforcing them. Topics include:

  • meeting the legal tests for the use of conditions
  • using "model" conditions (including those used by the Planning Inspectorate)
  • the importance of giving sound and convincing reasons
  • how to deal with conditions suggested by consultees
  • control through s106 or condition?
  • handling applications to vary/remove conditions.

It also looks at the problems involved in monitoring and securing compliance with conditions, including:

  • monitoring issues and the Ombudsman’s views on maladministration
  • is a “pre-commencement” condition needed?
  • what is a “genuine” pre-commencement condition?; what are the implications if it is not complied with?
  • different types of condition and immunity periods.

The workshop concludes by looking at ways of working together to improve effectiveness including, pre-viewing conditions, the ordering of conditions on decision notices, reviewing/drafting “model” conditions and how to find out about commencement.

The session was developed and delivered by Senior TRA Presenter, Vivien Green, and feedback from both days was excellent:

  • Very detailed, managed to include all attendees whether planning enforcement officer, highways or EHO. Gave a lot to think about, but was prepared to share experience and give opinions. Very enjoyable day, time passed quickly, learnt a lot. Thank you! Ann Green, Charnwood BC
  • Most relevant training, useful for service. Would happily use this training provider in the future. Graham Smith, Charnwood BC
  • Excellent presentation with good case studies relevant to the issues discussed. Captured my attention for the entire session. Richard Bennett, Charnwood BC
  • One of the best training sessions I have attended. Hopefully this is a change in our Councils current practices; in the meantime I will be taking on board the advice given. H. Baker, Charnwood BC
  • The workshop was very informative. It cleared many grey areas and focused attention on formation of conditions and specific wording to make their lawfulness and enforceability. Well delivered, interesting and informative. A. Wilkes, Horsham DC
  • Exceeded expectations, very thorough with use of case studies and examples further enlightening the issues. Thank you! Tamara Dale, Horsham DC
  • Very useful detailed discussions on wording and enforceability of conditions. Helen Lowe, Horsham DC

If you think your authority would benefit from an in-house training session on the Use of Conditions then please do not hesitate to contact Angela Holmes who will be pleased to provide you with a no obligation quotation.