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Smarter Planning – a new way of working

by on October 24, 2012

This week we are launching an initiative to encourage and support best practice in the electronic  submission of planning applications – something close to my heart.

The initiative, called Smarter Planning, is a partnership between planning agents, local planning authorities and the Portal.

It’s a recognition that the industry needs to work together to streamline and improve the planning process – now more than ever.

By pledging a commitment to the Smarter Planning scheme participants will have access to free training, best practice guidance and advice from the Planning Portal.

This is an important step in our mission of supporting the industry in making the most of the efficiencies and cost savings of electronic planning.

More information on how planning agents and local authorities can take part in the Smarter Planning scheme is available from this Portal web page.

Our account managers will be in touch shortly with more information.

  1. Simon Evans permalink

    This is another great initiative from the Portal and I think everyone who uses it should aspire to being a Portal Champion.

    However, I do have some queries about practicalities, viz:

    LPA Local Requirements – LAs produce lists of all the things they could ask for. To find out what you need for your particular application requires their engagement (at pre-app discussions, for example). Unfortunately, this engagement is often sadly lacking or inadequate.

    Plans/drawings to same scale – this is hard to imagine. Very frequently, you need to show a general arrangement and then a larger scale detail related to it. Having to separate that out onto several separate drawings is possible but would significantly increase the number of drawings (each requiring title boxes, references, etc). Since drawings have to be printed out at some stage, it would compromise the “paperless” approach.

    Paper size limited to A3 – it is good to keep to this where possible but LAs require you to use certain scales and sometimes a larger drawing is inevitable without splitting a plan in an arbitrary place.

    Recognised naming conventions – A good idea but I could not work out what these conventions are.

    Online payment – another good idea but difficult in practice as it means that the agent pays rather than the applicant. Agents are probably loathe to do that if they don’t have to in case they do not get reimbursed. What would be good is if payments could be made online by applicants as a separate exercise to the lodging of the planning application (by using a common reference, say).

    Plans/drawings not combined – I thought that quite a lot of work had been done recently to make combined documents easier to upload (but maybe I’m wrong). It saves time for the applicant because uploading each individual document can take a very long time. This is partly because the response time of the Portal website is slow (something I have reported here before). The 5Mb file limit often prevents file combining and of course many people have posted before on the fact that such a low limit is a major constraint and rather behind the curve.

  2. Sounds interesting and I have sent my email to take the next steps to validation. I remember waiting for the portal as it seemed a fantastic idea and a huge jump forward – it will be interesting to see what is to come using new technology!

  3. The planning portal provides ground breaking planning submission service, the fact that they have taken this step is truly a commitment to improve an already fantastic service. I will be sign up as feedback is key to progression.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Smarter Planning Updated – you spoke we listened « Planning Portal Director
  2. Smarter Planning milestone reached | Planning Portal Director
  3. Smarter Planning – a one year report card | Planning Portal Director

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