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Happy Birthday 1APP – 1 year old

by on April 16, 2009

Here’s a topic to get you going.

1App – The Standard National Planning Application Form(s) was 1 year old on the 6th April.

I know you’ll all want to celebrate the single most important step forward in planning in the last 40 years and so I thought (more fool me!) I’d give you an opportunity to voice your congratulations!

You will never know the pain and sheer bloody effort that went into standardising the application forms by so many people; not just at The Portal but policy colleagues, Local Authorities, applicants, ICT suppliers and consultees. Just imagine trying to get 424 LPAs to agree on one set of questions, but they did and with only a little blood on the carpet.

Anyhow 1 year on and things are settling down, I hardly ever get shouted at now (you know who you are) and 1App is here to stay.

We know 1App isn’t perfect, we know in some cases it has made some applications more complex but I believe in the majority of cases 1App has made things better.

We never stop work on this and are constantly seeking to improve it for applicant and LPA even though it may seem at times change comes too slowly. In the last few weeks alone we have made changes to the system to accommodate changes to Householder Appeals legislation, Local Authority re-organisation 44 into 9 and Welsh fees changes – do we complain!

I’ve listed here some of the improvements currently in the pipeline:

Standalone Fee Calculator

The provision of the new Fee Calculator as a standalone facility.

Planned for release early May.


My Applications Page

Being reworked to provide lists of applications by status e.g Draft, Submitted, Transferred, Archived. Planning Authorities will see the list of Submitted Applications by default whilst applicants/agents can switch view between status definitions.

Planned for release late May


Form changes

Following feedback there are also a number of relatively minor form changes in the offing.

This is supposed to be a 2 way conversation so with baited breath and shin guards on I open it up to you – just remember 1App and Planning Application Requirements (validation info) are not the same thing they just happened at the same time.

1App – discuss           (he backs away slowly………)

  1. Richard Humphreys permalink

    I App and the associated validation check lists (particularly the local ones)are ill concieved and ill considered and a waste. I know many practioners share that view. We live in hope that it does not have a second birthday!

    • PortalDirector permalink

      I take your point that there’s work to do on the validation check lists but as I pointed out in my piece they’re nothing to do with me guv.

      However I’d like to understand in what ways you consider the 1App forms “ill concieved and ill considered and a waste” in light of a subsequent correspondents comments “the saving in paper, copying and postage” not to mention the benefit of standardisation if you work regularly across several authorities.

      All constructive feedback is valuable so if you’ve a moment to give specifics I’d appreciate it.

      • Colin @ GRPA permalink

        Ummmm… if 1App really did offer the benefit of standardisation.

        Direct quote from LB Wandsworth’s website:
        “Householder Applications
        (If your property is a flat in a house converted into flats you must use the ‘Application for Full Planning Permission’ forms)”

        Direct quote from LB Richmond upon Thames’ website:
        “Householder Planning Application forms
        These forms are to be used for works to individual houses, bungalows and flats.”

        Yet another forest to reprint for a rejected application on an ‘incorrect’ form / or how to complete a Planning Portal application?

  2. Jan Molyneux permalink

    Having been pushing for a single national application form for many years I am delighted to wish 1app Happy 1st Birthday. Yes the time taken to upload the information can be a bit tedious but think of the saving in paper, copying and postage.
    Can we now have the same process of document retention on the appeals system, so that work can be done on uploading documents and the partially completed form saved without losing them. It is very frustrating to have to start again if you have to stop work on an appeal.

    Jan Molyneux
    Molyneux Planning

  3. Jan Molyneux is the first practitioner that I have heard express a positive response to the 1APP ‘simplification’ form.

    25 different variants of the 1APP form, some as many as 10 pages long; validation checklists for each and a set of validation checklist advisory notes running into 20 pages or more … all this replacing a small number of simple, two page, multi-purpose forms that used to contain all the necessary information – I’m not at all sure that there is any cause for celebrating this particular first birthday, except in amazement that the fledgling has survived this long and wasn’t strangled at birth!

    Mike Simmonds
    Kent Planning Ltd

  4. Its not 1 APP that should be the celebration focus. Its the pheripheral work all LPA ‘s are now being driven to do sooner rather than later around process mapping and document management, both paper and electronic.
    The significant cost of the scanning, on line view, access and store capacity as well as the growing burden of printing resources is very high. To ofset all of that all LPA’s are mapping out how they deal with the case loads and, as we all did with GIS, and getting a head start on the rest of the Council. This will increase this year as the efficiency drives that Gershon and CSR07 pushed escalate post budget to require all costs be measured and then reduced to create efficiency savings.
    The legacy of 1APP may be more as a driver of restructuring our services in paralell with Pretty.
    If only the PDG focussed on the investment in the back office investments with a Pendleton style reward for those brave enough to BPR it all then this cost that we are all having to stand would suddenly be an invest to save. And we would listen to what the customer wants, not impose what is ‘good for them’ which will always be the risk.

Please give us your feedback but we won’t publish any comments that are not constructive or that criticise any individual, any named business or any local authority. Please note, all comments will be moderated before being published.

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