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Smarter Planning – an update on progress

by on March 13, 2013

It’s been around five months since we launched our Smarter Planning campaign and I thought it might be a good time for a progress report.

The aim of Smarter Planning is try and remove the ‘them and us’ culture prevailing in some cases between LPA’s and Agents and to build a community of best practice, promoting growth through a more efficient means of submitting planning applications.

Therefore we’re actively accepting expressions of interest from both applicants and LPAs, providing training and advice and issuing accreditation.

The accreditation isn’t the real point of the scheme rather the benefits that can be derived through the more efficient processing of electronic planning applications.

If you’re new to Smarter Planning here’s a couple of things it isn’t:

  • An agent accreditation scheme as run by some LPAs
  • A prescribed view on what makes a good quality planning application – we’re talking solely about deriving the most benefits of applying online

So how far have we got?

We launched on 23rd October 2012 and so far we’ve received:

Interest from 240 planning professionals and agents.

As a result, 156 have been designated Smarter Planning Champions having met all the acceptance criteria.

We’re working with another 10 survey respondents to get them to accredited status while the status of remaining 74 will be reviewed again in six months

88 requests to join the scheme from local planning authorities.

So far, 26 have been designated as Smarter Planning Champions, we’re working towards accreditation with 60 others and two are awaiting review.

In recent weeks, several Smarter Planning LPAs have run campaigns to their agents to promote the scheme, encourage sign-up and communicate their preference for online application submission.

They’ve included Bradford MDC, Teignbridge DC, Croydon Council, East Herts DC and Oxford City Council. Cornwall Council has specifically targeted their tree agents to encourage and increase online submission in this sector.

I’ll be writing a separate blog post shortly directed at LPAs about lessons learned from these LPAs.

The map below shows the progress of LPAs.
LPA SP take-up map 28 Feb 13

  1. Norman Back permalink

    When will we eventually get a decision on the proposed change of use from commercial premises to residential without planning consent, this was first mentioned in the budget two years ago?

  2. Nice to see Wales leading the way, oh wait hang on a minute… still in the dark ages as usual.

  3. robert andrews permalink

    It has been 6 months now since the published announcement to changes to Permitted Development.
    When will we ever see a decision or will this be yet another Government u turn.

  4. Keith Baker permalink

    I have recently been deprived of my Broadband connection by my supplier, Yes I have paid my bill, it was according to them “technical issues” but it turned out they had either inadvertantly or intentionally limited bandwidth. Back to the piont, the connection was running at just 100kbps and was only good for emailing nothing much else. We had therefore to revert to filling in forms by hand or on council websites and printing them to our file as a pdf, then emailing forms and plans to the LAs to submit our applications. Surprisingly we found that much quicker and more efficient than submitting as usually through the Planning Portal or Submit a Plan. Food for thought.

  5. Gordon Skipper permalink

    New homes bonus was an incentive to LPA,s to release land but is now no such thing as they get it even if an application they have opposed goes to a successful appeal . So many authorities are still passing the buck to SoS to avoid the blame. Better use could be made of this money if it has to be spent at all.

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