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Planning Portal News: 21 July 2016

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

New Communities Secretary and planning minister announced
Sajid Javid replaces Clark as Communities Secretary and Gavin Barwell takes over from Lewis as planning and housing minister in the new Cabinet and ministerial team…

Latest updated housing projection estimates published
Updated 2014-based sub-national household projections published by the Office for National Statistics and the Department for Communities and Local Government…

Watchdog bangs drum for green belt policy consistency
Local Government Ombudsman calls for green belt policies to be applied correctly and consistently by planning authorities…

National Audit Office queries public sector land disposal progress
New report finds that the Department for Communities and Local Government has, at most, achieved eight per cent of its overall commitment to dispose of enough public sector land for 160,000 homes by 2020…

Colnbrook green belt freight interchange project refused
Former Communities Secretary Greg Clark dismisses appeal for a proposed road and rail freight interchange on metropolitan green belt land north of the A4 Colnbrook bypass…

Planning round-up 21 July 2016
– Liverpool snubs UNESCO request over World Heritage site
– Park homes boost?
– Peers criticise government housing policy
– Maidenhead moves to boost housing
– Wilmslow green belt office approval
– Rotherham master plan
– Caerphilly replacement local development plan withdrawn
– And more stories…

Roger Milne

Planning Portal News – 14 July 2016

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

Garden village scheme mooted for Hertfordshire rail freight interchange site
County council would prefer to see the area retain green belt status, but is prepared to consider alternatives as it may be forced to sell the land…

Guildford station redevelopment thrown out for being too “monolithic”
Council rules that the scale of the proposals would be “detrimental to the setting”, as residents flag concerns over its affordable housing provision…

Committee on Climate Change highlights the risks of global warming
New report details the evidence of the most urgent risks facing the UK, and suggests priorities for the next five years…

Key changes to South Yorkshire HS2 route and station proposals
New options in latest report may be cheaper, cut journey times, and avoid the complexities of the previous route…

Clark dismisses Cheshire homes scheme against advice of inspector
Recommended conditions were variously “unreasonable”, “difficult to enforce” or “not strictly relevant to planning policy”…

Planning round-up 14 July 2016
– Neighbourhood planning moves
– Funding for sustainable travel schemes announced
– Kent lorry park plan
– MPs to probe house-building capacity
– Call for council-house renaissance
– And more stories…

Roger Milne

New Planning Portal: Uploading documents

supporting docs

Uploading supporting documents is obviously an area of great importance as far as the Portal is concerned.

We know that there are improvements you’d like to see in this area, particularly the ability to add files larger than 5MB.  We’re working on this, but need to make sure that we don’t change anything which will break the connection with local authority systems.  Many can take files over 5MB, but some can’t, and so we’re looking at a way of LPAs setting their own file size limits and that being clear to applicants/agents as the application is being completed.

More will follow on that, but while we work on that in the background, we thought you might like to know that the new system integrates with 3rd party hosts such as Dropbox and Google Drive.  Coupled with the fact that the entire site, including the application service is designed to respond to screen sizes and display content accordingly, this means that you really can now submit applications any time, any place, any where …

Planning Portal News: 7 July 2016

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

Clark rejects out-of-centre Exeter district retail scheme
Plans for the 17,000 square metre Moor Exchange development have been refused by the Secretary of State, largely because of its impact on Exeter’s city centre…

Manchester skyscraper scheme approved
City council planners have given the green light for the Owen Street development in Manchester city centre which includes a 200 metre tower that is set to become the tallest building outside of London…

Rise in new home approvals in neighbourhood plan areas
New report highlights that Clark has approved 2,530 new homes in neighbourhood plan areas using his recovery powers, 2,214 more than his predecessor…

Residential development allowed in Hertfordshire green belt
Clark approves proposals for 129 houses at Bricket Wood, originally refused by St Albans City and District Council…

Revamp for Welsh planning law mooted
Law Commission launches consultation on Welsh planning in a bid to create clearer, simpler and more modern law…

Planning round-up 7 July 2016
– Milton Keynes 2050 vision
– Lincolnshire Lakes development mooted as a ‘Garden City’
– Latest stats on home approvals
– Local plan round-up
– Airport capacity decision delayed
– Energy developments
– Green belt mock Tudor castle planning saga ends
– And more stories…


Roger Milne

How Liverpool encourages development through online planning

We recently worked with the Better Connected team on the first Better Connected Live event, which marks the move from this as an annual survey of local authority websites to a rolling annual programme.

We ran a joint session on planning which brought together local authority planners with IT and Web managers.  Pete Flynn from Liverpool City Council shared some of their experiences about how digital working involves not just their website, but also how their teams handle the planning applications that they receive via the Planning Portal and on paper.

Helen Williams, one of the Better Connected reviewers, also gave an overview of their analysis of this year’s planning task, Object to a planning application.  Much of the standard software to manage this came in for criticism, with good practice being highlighted by those authorities who have customised those off-the-shelf products to make them more user-friendly.

I thought you might be interested in this write-up in Public Service Digital:

The Better Connected Planning analysis can be found here:


The development industry starts to come to terms with Brexit

Last week I spent a few days out at the RTPI Convention in London and CIH Conference in Manchester.  Events like these are a valuable way to meet many of our customers in one place and also to hear views on trends in the industry.

Unsurprisingly, last week’s events were dominated by talk of the EU referendum and what it means for the development industry.  Against a backdrop of large fall in share prices for house builders and others there was clearly concern, but also a large dose of pragmatism.  The bottom line is that no-one really knows what will happen, but the message was clear – the more we talk up a scenario of impending doom, the more likely it is to occur, so what we need at the moment is level heads and open minds.

I also came across this balanced article from the RTPI’s The Planner, which I thought might be of interest to you:


Planning Portal News: 30 June 2016

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

Brexit won’t mean bonfire of EU green regulations insist lawyers
Lawyers and ecologists say that EU directives and European-derived regulations that relate to wildlife protection and air quality limits are likely to remain in place despite the referendum outcome…

Spending watchdog warns that HS2 regeneration benefits are at risk
The HS2 high-speed rail project has an unrealistic timetable and is facing increased cost and schedule pressures, according to National Audit Office report…

Worcester blocks edge-of-centre retail development
21-hectare Worcester Woods development refused on the basis that it would have a significant adverse impact on the vitality and viability of retailers in Worcester City Centre…

RTPI president says planning reforms haven’t delivered better growth
Williams urges the government to take a fundamentally different approach to the role of planning, “one that recognises, supports and invests in the benefits that planning can deliver”…

North Northamptonshire joint development plan passes muster
Inspector’s report published concluding that, subject to modifications, the North Northamptonshire Joint Planning Unit’s Joint Core Strategy is “sound”…

Planning round up 30 June 2016
– Wolverhampton tram expansion
– Ashford redevelopment approved
– London round-up
– Bradford approves homes in flood-risk area
– Clark blows away single turbine near M1
– Stratford-on-Avon District Council’s core strategy is sound
– Humber Bridge mooted as tourist attraction
– And more stories…


Roger Milne

Planning Portal News: 23 June 2016

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

Ministers publish new garden settlement prospectus
Further guidance published for the government’s Locally-Led Garden Villages, Towns and Cities scheme stressing the importance of community support for proposals…

Great North Plan mooted by RTPI and IPPR North
Blueprint seeks to turn the concept of a Northern Powerhouse into a reality by focusing on key industries and themes…

New-look York local plan makes waves
York’s emerging local plan continues to make progress with councillors set to approve a new preferred sites document…

Clark blocks Cambridgeshire solar farm projects
Two solar farm developments for the same site are refused on appeal, in both cases Clark concluded the solar farms would represent inappropriate development in a green belt location…

Revised Buckinghamshire local plan proposes garden town and a new settlement
Draft Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan to be considered by full council before going out for public consultation…

Planning round-up 23 June 2016
– Latest quarterly planning application figures
– Inquiry into M4 extension around Newport announced
– Builders warn of capacity constraints to meet new homes targets
– Report looks at how city-regions can deliver more affordable housing
– Bracknell Forest gears up for new local plan
– Green light for Congleton link road
– Manchester housing project
– And more stories…

Roger Milne

Find another professional…

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about a new service we’ve launched for homeowners using our site to get in touch with trade professionals who can help them.

Our first partner was the long established, reputable Federation of Master Builders (FMB), this week we are pleased to announce the second partner for the service is Plentific’s ‘Find A Pro’ platform.  This start-up is winning awards and already has 75,000 trade professionals registered on its service across 350 different disciplines.

Don’t forget that this service is entirely optional for homeowners to use, and entirely optional for professionals to sign up for.  If you choose to use it as an extra route to potential customers, it won’t cost you to sign up for either partner – you just need to follow the links on their respective sites.

We’re delivering this service as part of our strategy to offer optional value-added services to our customers, whilst keeping our core application service completely free of charge.

Planning Portal News: 16 June 2016

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

Clark blocks Ipswich affordable homes scheme over ‘inclusivity’ issues
Communities Secretary refuses Ravenswood development on the basis that it conflicts with national policy “to create inclusive and mixed communities”…

MPs criticise government’s flooding strategy
Environment audit committee report urges the government to take a more proactive approach to managing flood risk…

Ministers insist new bill won’t curtail archaeological activity
Petition sparked by fears that the neighbourhood planning and infrastructure bill will curtail the use of planning conditions requiring archaeological surveys…

Future of Welsh planning outlined by minister
Speaking at the RTPI Cymru, Welsh planning minister Lesley Griffiths set out her vision for the Welsh planning system…

Liverpool unveils ambitious life and medical sciences campus project
Liverpool mayor announces flagship development scheme that could create up to 10,000 jobs…

Planning round-up 16 June 2016
– Dark skies
– Leeds housing allowed on appeal
– Report calls for older person priorities in local plans
– Think-tank talks up the economic contribution of small and medium-sized towns and cities
– Oxfordshire and Kent local plan developments
– Wolverhampton station development
– And more stories…


Roger Milne


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