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Our Plans for 2011

by on February 14, 2011

I thought it about time I brought you all up to speed on our plans for the coming year and beyond.
You can’t have failed to notice we are in uncertain times so I’ll stress these are our plans and like all plans they may change, in some cases slowly as trends and issues emerge in others the changes may be more radical.

For now this is what we’re up to on the most pressing issues.

1APP
The long awaited upgrade begins here.
There will be small changes to the existing system between now and April to meet legislative requirements. However we have separately kicked off a project through which we hope to deliver the root and branch improvements many of you have been calling for.
The project will include workstreams looking at the policy content and technical delivery whilst focus will also be given to the needs of business users through a commercial workstream.
The work will be overseen by a board which includes representation from the LPA and Business community with further invites pending across both communities to drive the workstreams. We hope to ensure we get it right by inviting some truly critical friends into the groups.
All previous feedback has been collated and will inform the early stages of development which will move forward assuming the business plan stacks up and can be funded. Expect lots more information on this topic in the weeks to come.

Local Planning
We are currently talking with colleagues in LPAs and in the Department to work out what our role in Local Planning should be. I’d be delighted to hear your views on the matter as well. You may be interested to know that one idea being discussed is the use of a localised version of the Interactive House to explain the local variances under an LDO to citizens and developers.
In the meantime we will continue to use the “In Your Area” section of the website to publish relevant information.

Governance
The Minister has challenged us to continue the revenue growth seen in the last 12 months to the point where we become self financing. I hope you’ll agree that whilst the Portal may be a long way from perfect we do bring benefits to the system.
Consequently our plan is to recover much of our costs from the areas where most benefit is delivered and to fill any gap with commercial revenues. All in all we need to generate £1M this year so please don’t be shy, if you want the Portal around in future speak to your marketing teams and point them in our direction.

Running alongside the above some of you will be aware that the Portal is currently the subject of a review into our future, focussing particularly on the financing. Interviews are currently underway with a broad spectrum of partners and stakeholders and the review team anticipate delivering an initial report in late March or early April.
There will be opportunities for more widespread input from the community as work progresses.

Online planning
The need to simplify and improve the planning application process has not gone away and even though more of you than ever are submitting online we must not lose focus. We are currently considering our strategy for 2011/12. The economic and environmental benefits of online submission are clearer than ever especially at a time where Local Authorities are very focussed on channel shift to online. I anticipate the aforesaid 1App improvements will help in this matter but I would welcome any thoughts on where you think other opportunities may lie.

Well that’s all for now, as always get in touch by commenting or use the email contact at top left if you prefer. Thanks for helping us through 2010 and in advance for your support through the challenging year ahead.

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