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WYG proves no application is too large and saves 2.9 tonnes of carbon into the bargain

by on October 14, 2010

Note: This article was first published in October 2010. I linked to it again in December 2012 following some posts about the 5MB attachment limit. Although many find this limit a pain it clearly wasn’t an issue with this application. Advice on working with the 5MB limit here.

You may have read that the planning application for the Liverpool Waters project, believed to be the UK’s largest-ever individual application, was lodged recently by WYG on behalf of Peel Land & Property.

You may not be aware that it was submitted via the Planning Portal.

There is still a common misconception that the Portal is only suitable for small applications and that there is a 25MB limit on attachments. This is not true.

There is a 5MB limit on individual files to enable them to pass through LPA firewalls but this is easily overcome as the Liverpool Waters project proves.

The submission file on the Portal includes nearly 1,500 pages of documents together with 57 individual figures and 2,200 pages of appendices.

It is easy to imagine the pallet-loads of paper required had this been submitted manually, not to mention the costs of printing and the subsequent impact on Local Authority resources for inputting and scanning.

In addition to the obvious efficiency benefits to both the applicant and the Local Authority, the online submission process alone has saved 2.9 tonnes of CO2.

We would be delighted to hear of any other interesting uses of our service and invite anyone to contact us for advice or training on how to get the best from online submission.

  1. Robin Vaissiere permalink

    Well done WYG, a very significant CO2 saving on just one planning application.

    I wondered what a tonne of CO2 looks like –

  2. Rosemary Cantwell permalink

    26 October 2010

    Dear Planning Portal, Planning Inspectorate

    I am delighted to know that e-commerce can and does work with large applications as well as small attachments.

    But do all the CASEWORKERS at PINS know about the upgrades?

    That is the big question.

    How much does the ordinary worker in the PINS organisation know about the electronic application system?

    • PortalDirector permalink

      Hello Rosemary,
      the fact that large applications are possible via the Portal relates only to planning application submissions. The appeals process is entirely separate and managed by the Planning Inspectorate not us at the Portal.

  3. Rosemary Cantwell permalink

    Dear PortalDirector

    You have just solved a mystery.

    In which case, is there a way to overhaul the whole system so that consultees to an Appeal can write directly into the Portal so that the caseworkers know precisely who is writing what, so that all the consultees’ views are immediately attached to the case.

    This would enable people then to see other consultees’ views, as per the Local Planning Authority who disclose the consultees’ views on their website.

    Surely this is important for Democracy.

    I would like to know how this may be done as I was told that the Planning Inspectorate had tried to do such a thing but it had not proved to be possible.

    Surely if the Councils can do it, then so should PINS because they are like a Planning Authority when they have the details of the Appeal applications these are “de novo” are they not?

    I think this is a vital area that could be improved very easily and would be hugely cost effective in labour and time.

    • PortalDirector permalink

      I will pass your comments on to the appropriate people at the Planning Inspectorate for comment.

  4. How exactly is the 5mb individual file size limit “easily overcome”? I would *love* to know!

  5. anonymous permalink


    On the file limit issue, 5 MB.

    I have found that ‘printing’ the word document as a pdf will reduce the file size to around a third of its original size.

    I did a test with a picture rich word ,Doc 1.13MegaBytes = as a pdf 319KiloBytes

    There are 1024 KiloBytes in 1 MegaByte

  6. Jeff Rhodes permalink

    A more interesting question for me is why an application really needs to run to 2,200 pages and 57 plans at a time when information requirements are supposed to be reducing. This is the sort of information overload we need to move away from and I am sure its possible to do that without compromising the quality of the decision making, in fact it may even improve it by allowing more focus on the key issuess.

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