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A note about Supporting Documents on applications older than 5 years

by on June 13, 2012

From the middle of next week (Wednesday 20th June) we will start to remove supporting documents from applications that were created more than five years ago.

The applications themselves will remain on the Portal – it’s just the supporting documents that are being removed.

The weight of well over a million applications submitted over the years has put a real strain on our storage capacity so we need to make room for the next million.

If you need to save any supporting documents on applications older than five years, please take a moment to log in and retrieve them between now and next Wednesday.

  1. Rosemary Cantwell permalink

    13 June 2012

    Dear Planning Portal

    I would like to know more about the supporting documents that are to be removed please.

    What happens when an application is then asked to be extended?

    I am currently involved in an application where I have made comment on the Isle of Wight where the supporting information was indeed 5 years ago – 2007 – Craven Court Isle of Wight.

    It worries me that you are removing information that will stop due process from happening.

    For if we cannot access the data from you, it then becomes a question of asking under Freedom of Information and then PINS tell me that I have already asked my limit and will not give any further information! – this really did happen to me.

    Thus, is there an ALTERNATIVE perhaps whereby all the supporting information etcetera can be placed in a NATIONAL archive where a central access point can be linked to any organisation such as Planning Inspectorate so that public bodies can then know that their information is freely available and they will not get people phoning them up or emailing or faxing them to get certain information but will be easily able to download it from a central FOI point operated by the Government and ministries?

    Just a thought – I have put it to the ICO as an idea not just about planning but in all FOI requests.

    Thank you very much for your continued excellence in keeping us informed.

    Best wishes

    Rosemary Cantwell
    a member of CPRE

    • PortalDirector permalink


      Thanks for the comment. To be clear, what we are doing is removing five-year old attachments associated with applications from the Portal’s servers.

      The supporting documents stored on the Portal are only viewable by the person who created that application.

      The local authority that is dealing with the application has a statutory duty to store the applications and plans associated with them indefinitely.

      The applications and supporting information will always be available from the LPA.

  2. you will need to be careful with this process, although I do understand the need for such housekeeping.
    I am aware of a number of Planning Applications, especially in Wales which were submitted as long ago as 2007 which have yet to be put to Committee for determination and as such are still live.

    • PortalDirector permalink

      Paul, thanks for the comment. If the application has been submitted and validated by the local authority then the LPA will retain the supporting documents indefinitely. The supporting documents stored on the Portal are only viewable by the person to accesses that account. The documents can always be accessed from the LPA.

  3. Rosemary Cantwell permalink

    14 June 2012

    Dear PortalDirector

    I am a little confused here.

    Are you stating that the general public can ONLY access all the documents from the LPA, and that it is only the APPLICANT who can access all the supporting documents from the Planning Portal?

    For I requested under FOI the paperwork supporting the planning application by Ryde School in 2009. It was only when discussing with PINS that they explained that there had been no appeal agains refusal for Listed Building Consent so that if the School – which had planning permission for demolition of a boundary wall – did not get Listed Building Consent that they could face prosecution.

    That was where having all the supporting documentation proved invaluable because once I had the paper in my hands it became apparent that there had been a further lacuna that their Victorian Greenhouse had not been included, and a RIBA architect advised me to urge them to apply for Listed Building Consent so as not to fall foul of the Listed Building legislation.

    I am glad to report that all this was duly done and everything is now fine.

    But it was the supporting documents held by PINS that literally saved the day.

    If this is no longer going to be held, then it worries me.

    Best wishes,


    • PortalDirector permalink

      The Portal provides a service to applicants in which they can create and develop applications prior to submission. It then enables the applicant to submit applications to any planning authority and subsequently stores that submission in the applicants registered profile.

      Only the applicant has access to the stored information as this doesn’t become public information until it is registered by the LPA. It is this version of the application that becomes the live application and as you’ll appreciate any subsequent changes to that application can be made by either party through negotiation, but outside of the Portal service.
      There is currently no central database of planning applications but LPAs retain the statutory duty to archive planning applications.

      With regards to PINS, although we provide an entry point to their casework service we do not manage their system. They receive the final application and supporting documents as a part of the appeal process.

      I hope this helps

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