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Planning Portal News: 22 September 2016

Read the full story on our website by clicking on the headline.

HBF claims government stats under-report housing completions
Around 30,000 new builds are not counted in the official house building statistics according to a report from the Home Builders Federation…

Neighbourhood plans help block three different housing development appeals
Communities Secretary highlights Neighbourhood Plans as a key factor in each of his decisions to dismiss schemes in East and West Sussex and near Bath…

London regeneration Compulsory Purchase Order blocked by Javid
Communities Secretary refuses to approve the Compulsory Purchase Order proposed by Southwark Council required for the regeneration of the Aylesbury area…

Ombudsman criticises Plymouth
The Local Government Ombudsman reminds Plymouth City Council of its accountability role after the council fails to comply with their recommendations…

Planning minister ponders policy shifts
In his first major speech as planning and housing minister Gavin Barwell suggests there will be a shift in government policy away from a singular focus on home ownership…

Planning round-up 22 September 2016
– Planning applications on the up
– Rise in capital spend by planning departments
– Liverpool housing boost
– Small builders bemoan land shortages and planning barriers
– Victorian buildings at risk
– Development contract tendering advice
– Rail freight strategy unveiled
– West Somerset hails Hinkley decision
– And more stories…

Roger Milne

Six months on…what next?

Its hard to believe that its been six months since the new Planning Portal was unveiled at the end of March 2016. The new site was many months in development and the logistical challenge to securely transfer many thousands of user accounts and 6TB of data was enormous.

Of course it didn’t go entirely smoothly, but thanks to the never-ending patience of our customers and the sheer hard work of the team, we got through those first few weeks.

Last week, government published its planning application data for the period April-June 2016.  We were keen to see it because although our figures continue to grow, you never quite know whether that reflects the market overall!  We need not have worried though,  DCLG and WG reported a 5.3% increase on the same period last year, but online applications were up 9.7%.  So a good indicator for us that we’re continuing to provide a valuable service for our customers.

Our own data also tells us that our customers are also accessing our content in ways that better suit them.  A key priority of the new site was to make it responsive to different screen sizes and we’ve seen a steady increase in people accessing it from mobiles and tablets – in fact, nearly a third of users are now accessing the site from non-desktop devices.  This is even higher on the new Interactive Guides, with almost 42% of visits coming from mobiles and tablets.

We haven’t spent the last 6 months resting on our laurels though.  Behind the scenes we’ve been working on new products and services, some of which we’ve already launched, but many more of which are still to come.  We’re particularly excited about the next one – due imminently – and that is a new national building control application service.

You’ve been asking us about it for years and now its nearly ready to unveil.  It will mean that our existing customers (and new ones of course!) can submit both planning and building applications via our service, both free of charge.  I’ll post more information as soon as we’ve got a launch date confirmed, but in the meantime if you are a local authority or Approved Inspector who wants to sign-up to receive applications, please speak to your Account Manager or email us.



Planning Portal News: 15 September 2016

Read the full story on our website by clicking on the headline.

North East devolution deal flounders
Javid confirms that the £30m-a-year devolution deal and regional mayor for the North East are “off the table”after the region’s local authorities fail to agree terms…

Infrastructure body urges clarity on its powers
The National Infrastructure Commission calls for MPs to clarify its position after the latest planning legislation omits provisions to put it on a statutory footing…

DCLG starts consultation on latest planning reforms
Government launches consultations on further changes to the neighbourhood planning regime and improving the use of planning conditions…

390-home Norfolk scheme allowed by Javid
Communities secretary allows Wymondham development appeal, concluding that the adverse impacts did not outweigh the economic and social benefits of the scheme…

550-dwelling Tewkesbury project dismissed
Javid dismisses proposals for 550 new homes at Ashchurch, concluding that the adverse effects on road safety and traffic flow made the scheme unsustainable…

Sheffield to trial flood resilience urban design strategy
Department for Environment and Rural Affairs to pilot flood defence strategy in Sheffield designed to “deliver, and be financed from the proceeds of, economic value for the local area”…

Planning round-up 15 September 2016
– West Midlands land commission
– Low carbon policies and Northern growth
– Metropolitan green belt under threat?
– MoD and Network Rail sites to boost new homes
– Green belt statistics
– Campaign to Protect Rural England praise for commuter hubs
– Northumberland opencast project called-in
– And more stories…

Roger Milne

Planning Portal News: 8 September 2016

Read the full story on our website by clicking on the headline.

Think-tank says developers to blame for housing supply crisis
Latest research claims councils have granted enough planning consents to meet the government’s target of building one million new homes by 2020 but developers are failing to build them…

Javid blocks Newmarket housing development
Communities Secretary refuses outline permission for 400-home development at Hatchfield Farm in Newmarket…

Neighbourhood planning regime changes confirmed
Consultation response reaffirms government intension to make it easier for residents and business to come together to produce a neighbourhood plan…

M4 upgrade approved
Transport Secretary grants Development Consent Order to upgrade a 51 kilometre stretch of the M4 to a “smart motorway” despite part of the project lying within metropolitan green belt…

Builders warn new water charges could delay and curb new housing
Home Builders Federation complain that Ofwat’s proposed charging regime changes for new water and sewerage connections will cause huge increases in costs for developers…

Planning round-up 8 September 2016
– Neighbourhood Planning Bill published
– Parliament says health should be a ‘material consideration’ for planning proposals
– Development Control Order for Lincolnshire power connection project
– MPs urge clear transport strategy to tackle environmental issues
– Moorland transformation
– Latest DCLG plan insists a million new homes is “our ambition”
– New Welsh flood advice
– And more stories…

Roger Milne


August application numbers

Following my recent post about post-referendum application numbers, August continued in the same vein.  Online applications for the month reached 44,425, that’s 11.5% up on August last year.

Did none of you take any holidays this year?!

Interactive house: We’ve moved…

If you saw my blog post last week you will already know that we have been working on re-engineering and updating our interactive house and mini-guides. The new versions no longer rely on Flash and are supported by the latest mobile and desktop devices, meaning many more people can now access the information and guidance.

I’m pleased to say that the new house and interactive guides are now live and can be found at:

Over the coming week we will be launching the new guides by integrating them with the site content to make finding and navigating them even easier, we will notify you once this has been completed.

Planning Portal News: 1 September 2016

Read the full story on our website by clicking on the headline.

English housing completions rise by six per cent
The latest house building data shows that 139,030 new homes were completed in the year to June 2016, although housing delivery remains well short of the rate needed to meet the government’s target…

Javid rejects two major Essex developments offering 1,500 new homes
Communities Secretary agrees with inspector’s recommendations and dismisses two appeals for large developments in Essex, concluding that neither proposal amounted to sustainable development…

Green light for Humber River gas project
£150m gas pipeline underneath the River Humber granted development consent by the Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark…

Oxfordshire housing scheme allowed by SoS
260 home development on the edge of the Oxfordshire town of Witney has been allowed on appeal after it was originally refused because of safety concerns…

Wantage neighbourhood plan stalls as report says poorer areas are missing out
Planning inspector concludes that the Wantage Neighbourhood Plan failed to promote sustainable development and suffered from “extensive protectionist policies”…

Planning round-up 1 September 2016
– Fund for new rail stations
– Proposed Cardiff University development criticised by conservation body
– Local plan moves in St Albans and Winchester
– Greater Manchester projects
– Hatfield urban extension
– Thames development concordat
– Mixed fortunes for Cheshire projects
– And more stories…

Roger Milne

Planning Portal News: 25 August 2016

Read the full story on our website by clicking on the headline.

Wandsworth calls time on pub permitted development rights
London council uses Article 4 Directions to remove permitted development rights from 120 of the boroughs most popular bars and taverns…

RTPI urges housing yardstick for national infrastructure assessment
RTPI responds to the National Infrastructure Commission’s consultation calling for infrastructure to be used to help solve the housing crisis and tackle climate change…

Route options announced for Trans-Pennine tunnel
Department for Transport shortlists five routes for the proposed new Trans-­Pennine tunnel, which it describes as the most ambitious road scheme undertaken in the UK for more than 50 years…

Khan reverses Johnson’s intervention over Wimbledon stadium scheme
Sadiq Khan returns Plough Lane stadium decision to Merton Council, plans include a new 20,000-­seat stadium, 602 homes and a fitness club…

Campaign to Protect Rural England calls for planning changes to boost small­-scale farming
Report calls for the government to encourage more new farmers and new small­-farms to kick­-start a post­-Brexit agricultural revolution…

Planning round­up 25 August
– HS2 safeguarding announcement
– Liverpool local plan progress
– Council approves Wigan colliery site redevelopment
– Transport projects
– Welsh schemes
– Kent shopping centre regeneration
– Birmingham city developments
– And more stories…

Roger Milne

We’re moving house….interactive house in fact!

The current Planning Portal interactive houses have been with us since 2008.  They were ahead of their time, but the technology they use is now out of date and critically, can’t be viewed on mobile devices.  Given that mobile and tablet usage continues to grow and the rest of our site is completely responsive to different screen sizes, it’s time to upgrade them.

So for the last few months we’ve been working on new improved interactive guides, using technology which can be seen on all types of device, including all Apple and Android ones, and is responsive to different screen sizes.

We’ve taken the opportunity to improve the integration between the houses, the mini guides and the site content, making it easier for users to find what they want more easily.

We’ve also taken a fresh, modern approach to the design, using an illustrative style which research tells us makes it easier for users to relate to their own homes.

Much as we loved the old houses, we’re really excited about the new ones and hope you will be too.

They’ll be live next Wednesday, 31st August on the English site, but you can see a sneak preview of the new homepage below.


new house

Planning Portal News: 18 August 2016

Read the full story on our website by clicking on the headline.

RTPI report says constant policy reforms are undermining the planning system
Deep budget cuts and continual changes in planning policy have stripped public sector planners of the powers and resources to perform leadership and coordinating roles, according to report…

Javid blocks new neighbourhood for Aylesbury
1,500 home Aylesbury development appeal dismissed because of the schemes adverse impacts to the character and appearance of the landscape and the loss of distinct village identity…

Javid allows appeal over Northampton urban extension
1,000 home Northampton South Sustainable Urban Extension is granted outline planning permission on appeal despite concerns over noise and the impact on heritage assets…

SoS backs Cheshire planning authority over refusal for Nantwich housing
Communities Secretary agrees with Cheshire East Council and dismisses the appeal for a 189 home greenfield development in Nantwich…

Development consent for world’s largest offshore wind farm
300 turbine Hornsea Project Two scheme is granted development consent by the Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark…

Planning round-up 18 August 2016
– Treasury claims EU funding will be honoured
– 2,750 home Horsham scheme makes waves
– Business Secretary Clark stresses role of ‘place’ in industrial strategy
– Changes to Welsh appeals regime out for consultation
– Right to Buy replacement rate falls
– Devon turbine toppled
– Liverpool city centre developments
– And more stories…

Roger Milne


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