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Planning Portal News: 20 October 2016

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

Infrastructure commission to be a permanent body as Wales proposes its own version

The UK’s National Infrastructure Commission is to be established as an executive agency of the Treasury in January 2017, with its own budget, freedom and authority…

Clash over forced pause for Bradford local plan

Bradford Council’s development plan has been put on hold after planning minister Gavin Barwell issued a temporary Holding Direction, following concerns raised about loss of green belt land…

Go-ahead for major Manchester tram network extension

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has granted legal powers to further expand the Metrolink network with a new £350m tram line, running 5.5 kilometres through Trafford Park…

Javid refuses Warwickshire scheme over development plan clashes

A 90 home development on a four hectare site in Warwickshire has been refused outline planning permission by the Communities Secretary…

Report advocates planning changes to help construction sector

New report led by Mark Farmer, chief executive of Cast, recommends changes to the planning regime in order to support the construction industry…

Planning round-up 20 October 2016

– Clean air zones consultation
– More funding for garden villages
– London tidal flood risks
– Room size matters
– City regions on the increase
– Cheshire green belt home extension allowed
– Boost for Warwickshire housing
– Local plan moves in Yorkshire and Buckinghamshire
– And more stories…


Roger Milne

Update on the new Building Control service

Following my recent blog post I’m pleased to say that the service is now live and receiving applications.

We’ve also redesigned the entry pages to direct users to both the planning and building control application services and are building usage of the service which is of course free for applicants.


Take-up by building control bodies has been fantastic so far, but if you haven’t yet signed up to receive applications through the service, please contact your Account Manager or post a comment below and we’ll be in touch asap.

Whilst we’ve deliberately kept advertising out of the application service, we have also launched a directory of Approved Inspectors in our main site content (‘Where to Get Approval/Approved Inspectors‘).  This complements the LABC directory we were already promoting from the equivalent page (‘Where to Get Approval/Local Authority Building Control’).


A new national building control application service from the Planning Portal

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that the Portal will shortly be launching a national building control application service. Well, we’ve set a date: from 10 October you’ll be able to submit building control applications at

Our existing customers have been asking us for many years to provide a building control service to sit alongside planning. We’re delighted that we’re finally able to do it and the great news for you is that it will also be free of charge to use, just like the planning service.

Even better, we’ve kept it simple to keep the whole process as easy for customers as possible. The service includes full plans, building notice and regularisation forms as well as the option to attach supporting documents and calculate fees, if required.

We’ve engaged local authorities and approved inspectors in the process and will continue to do so to develop the service further in the future.

If you are a local authority or approved inspector and you haven’t yet signed up to receive applications via the service, please contact your Portal Account Manager asap to make sure that you don’t miss out.

And if you can’t wait until Monday, you can watch the walk-through below:

ArchitEx for …. architects!

We’re pleased to be working with the good folk over at the ArchitEx show in Liverpool for the second year running.  Last year the exhibition and conference programme were excellent and this year looks to be even bigger and better with a new venue.  It’s being held at the Liverpool Exhibition Centre on 15 and 16 November this year.

If you are interested in exhibiting and/or running workshops, there is still some space left but you’ll need to be quick.  You can find more exhibition information on their website.

If you are interested in attending, you can take a look at the conference programme on their website which is just being finalised.

We hope to see you there!

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.

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