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New Planning Portal Day 1…

by on March 29, 2016

*Update at 14:10

There have been some issues affecting access this morning:

  •  Our third party supplier did not correctly apply the redirects from the gov.uk to the co.uk site which means that some people have been having trouble finding us.  They advise that this has now been done but it does take up to 4 hours to appear across the internet.  This has meant that links from search engines and LPA sites have been broken, but they will be restored as soon as the redirects are up and running.  LPAs were notified of the move to co.uk and many were involved in the testing, however no-one foresaw the problems with the redirects.
  • Some users are still reporting problems with access, mostly on IE 11 or Safari.  Chrome appears to be fine.  If you are experiencing this, please try clearing your cache/temporary internet files.
  • Some users are unable to click on the account set up link in the automated email.  This is due to email security settings.  Please speak to your IT team (if you have one).  If you have a second email address associated with the account, then our Support team can help you while we put an alternate authentication method in place.  The account set-up had to be put in place as we weren’t able to migrate passwords for security reasons.*

——

The eagle-eyed amongst you will have spotted that the new site is now live at www.planningportal.co.uk .

A huge thanks to the Portal team and our suppliers old and new who spent their Easter weekend working hard to make it happen.

More than 1,000 of you have already set up your accounts on the new system.  If you haven’t, you can do it at any time by following the instructions in my last post.

We really hope you like it and would welcome your feedback on future improvements.  Already on the priority list:

  • An increase to the 5MB attachment limit where it is feasible for LPAs to receive and process the files
  • A building control application service
  • A secure method for applicants to pay directly for applications submitted by their agents
  • Further improvements to the new workspace function and other improvements just for professional/corporate users
  • A redesigned interactive house

 

60 Comments
  1. Clive Miller permalink

    Sadly I’m not one of the 1,000!! Your site appears to be unavailable at present? Can you give us an ETA?

    Clive Miller

    Managing Director

    Clive Miller & Associates Ltd Tel 01458 252806 or 07966 022289

    http://www.clivemillerassociates.com

    This email is confidential to and intended only for the use of the addressee(s). Any use, dissemination, forwarding, printing or copying of it by any other person is strictly prohibited. If you have received it in error please notify us immediately and then delete the message from your system.

    Unless the message expressly states otherwise (i) this email is issued for information purposes only and is not intended to be legally binding (ii) any views expressed are those of the individual sender only.

    Clive Miller & Associates Ltd., (registered no. 4941124 in England), Sanderley Studio, Kennel Lane, Langport, Somerset TA10 9SB.

    • sarahchilcott permalink

      Hi Clive, Its definitely available at http://www.planningportal.co.uk. If you can’t get on to the co.uk address directly, you might need to clear your cache and try again. The old gov.uk address is currently unavailable whilst redirects are being put in place. Sarah

  2. Andy Rogers permalink

    Dear Sarah

    I cannot access the new site. I use Safari on a Mac. Please advise.

    > Andrew Rogers: Planning > 14 Aragon Road, > Kingston, Surrey KT2 5QE > Telephone 020 3662 2080 > (Mobile: 07841 538 869)

    >

    • sarahchilcott permalink

      Hi Andy. Sorry to hear that. Please clear your temporary internet files and try the co.uk address again. Sarah

    • Andy Rogers permalink

      I have managed to register using Firefox (Safari still inoperative). But I have been unable to get the 25-character password that was sent to be accepted and I am now told that my account is LOCKED! What now??

  3. Jane Everton permalink

    Dear Sarah

    Really pleased to see this – well done to you and the team!

    Best wishes

    Jane

    Jane Everton Deputy Director | Better Rented and Leasehold Sector Division | Housing Standards and Support Directorate Department for Communities and Local Government | SE Quadrant | 3rd Floor Fry Building | 2Marsham Street London | SW1P 4DF Telephone 030 3444 1342 | jane.everton@communities.gsi.gov.uk

  4. johnelvidge1979 permalink

    Hi

     

    I don't know how anyone has been able to register. I have tried all links and even using a Google search, the page cannot be found.  

    Kind regards John

    John Elvidge Planning Consultancy The Old Stable Block King George VI Memorial Park Montefiore Avenue Ramsgate Kent CT11 8BD

    http://www.johnelvidgeplanning.co.uk/ Mobile: 07914421548 Tel: 01843 297054

       

    Sent: Tuesday, March 29, 2016 at 11:00 AM

    • sarahchilcott permalink

      Hi John. Sorry this is causing you a problem. Please clear your cache and try again. Sarah

  5. Clare permalink

    Are previously archived applications still available? I can’t find mine

    • sarahchilcott permalink

      Hi Clare, All applications from 1 July 2015, including archived ones, should be available on the new site. We are in the process of bringing over applications from 1 Jan 2014 to 30 June 2015 at the moment. If you think something is missing or need an older application urgently, let me know and I’ll get our Support team to contact you. Sarah

  6. Culver Evans permalink

    I confirm that the migration is not going well. Safari keeps telling me the server at your end is not responding. Deluged by new requests? I also see that if you do an internet search for the Portal, it still comes up with the old address, which is no longer live.

    Teething problems, I guess but so far it’s a case of Could Do Better I fear!

  7. Culver Evans permalink

    As an update to my last post, I find I cannot get into the site through Safari (even after clearing temporary internet files) but I can using Chrome (how weird is that?). But more worryingly, there is something wrong with the new activation. You have to change your password, which is annoying enough, but when you do, the system just keeps going round in a circle as if all you want to do in your life is to repeatedly keep changing passwords.

    Also, I cannot reach anyone by phone. I presume the system is overloaded as a result of all these problems.

    We are effectively being told here that the problems are all at our end. Don’t think so.

    At present, I cannot access anything in my Portal nor use it to make any new applications. Hopefully, this will all get sorted out soon.

  8. David Hall permalink

    Dear Sarah

    I also cannot access this new site. Spoke to my local planning office (Northumberland) and they can’t access it either.
    Please advise urgently – my client is not impressed!

    • sarahchilcott permalink

      Hi David. Sorry this is causing you problems. If you’ve tried clearing your cache and it still isn’t working, then let me know and I’ll ask Support to give you a call. Sarah

      • David Hall permalink

        Hi Sarah.
        Would not know how but seeing how some have done that and still have problems I can’t see the problem is at my end. Also the local planning office can’t get access either.
        Also please note that none of the links on my local council website have been updated. Almost as if they were not aware of the change.
        Urgent fix required I’m afraid 😦
        Regards
        Dave

      • David Hall permalink

        Hi Sarah
        Still not working. Spent way too much time on this now.
        Looks like I’ll have to make a manual submission in order to keep my client happy. Not at all impressed with the way this has been rolled out.

    • David Hall permalink

      Logged in on a PC, registered etc and now it all works on a Mac.
      Unbelievable but that’s IT for you. And typically they said it was all our fault!

  9. Ian Brown permalink

    I have received the email with a link to re-connect to set a new password (twice) but the link doesn’t work. Is this a common problem and what is the solution? I really need to access my applications.

    • sarahchilcott permalink

      Hi Ian. We have had a few similar problems this morning – it appears to be the security settings on some email accounts. If its a corporate email your IT team should be able to change it. If its not a corporate account but you have another email registered on the account (gmail, Hotmail etc..) then our Support team will be able to help you – let me know if you want me to put you in touch. We’re also working urgently on a fix which will provide an alternative (non link) method to reset the account. Sarah

      • Ian Brown permalink

        Thanks Sarah. it’s a private email account – sole practitioner. I don’t recall if I registered an alternate one. So please put me in touch with the support team. Ian

      • sarahchilcott permalink

        Thanks Ian. I’ve asked them to get in touch. Sarah

  10. We’re having the same problem as some of the other practices who have been commenting. Access via a PC seems to work slowly, but access via a Mac is either blocked, interrupted, slow or completely unresponsive. Even after clearing the cache there are still major faults with loading the webpage and actually signing in, and certainly not a system that we can easily work with. Seeing as design practices are the world’s leading users of Mac computers, this seems like a major oversight. Technical support are also puzzled and we are still awaiting their callback.

    Links from local Council websites and google searches also still link back to the .gov.uk site, which leads to an error ‘website not found’ page and no re-direction as suggested.

    Additionally, certainly in the case of Wiltshire and Dorset Council’s technical teams having spoken to them personally, none of them were aware of the change to .co.uk at all and were equally puzzled. Probably worth informing the local Councils so that they can update their links on their websites and emails in advance to avoid users being sent to dead webpages.

    A trial run or BETA test may have been a good idea before full launch, as a useful suggestion for your next upgrade I suggest perhaps using and implementing the feedback from the design practices that use the service most frequently. These errors must be resulting in a lot of frustration within the practices, not to mention wasted valuable work time.

    Would appreciate some feedback when possible.

    Kind regards.

  11. Allan Alexander permalink

    I have been able to access the new site, but not previous applications. Need to submit an application drafted last week. No ‘homepage content’ button showing at the top of the screen. Can you provide an update on when this will be available please?
    Unable to get through to technical help.

    • Allan Alexander permalink

      Still no access to any previous applications. Planning Portal support have escalated to your developers, but not resolved as yet. Not a particularly good changeover so far.

  12. John Hammond permalink

    Similar problems to what are stated above. Intermittent problems getting on the website; sometimes can, sometimes can’t. Cache etc all cleared but still issues. I’m guessing teething problems.

  13. peter mullins architects permalink

    This is appalling, and total lack of co-ordination on PP’s part. We have been trying to ‘re-register’ but no email received and have now spent nearly 3-4 hours trying to sort matters out.
    By the sound of it Local Planning Depts. not advised and all enquiries being directed to ‘inactive’ address. We’d have been given the ‘sack’ if we’d been this incompetent. SORT IT OUT !

  14. David Hall permalink

    Any time frame for a fix? Don’t really have time to go down the manual submission route 😦

  15. Hi, I may be luckier than most and got re-registered quite quickly, and like most of the new look.

    One issue though. I was given to believe that a new payment system would allow me to pass secure on-line payments on to my client – but when I came to that stage it just seemed to go down the usual route, asking me what type of credit / debit card I wanted to use.

    Have I been dozy and missed something? The on-line Help video admits to being out of date, so that did not shed any light on the matter.

    Ben Hunt

    • sarahchilcott permalink

      Hi Ben. Thanks for the feedback – glad you like it. The new site was built largely as a like-for-like replacement of the old one, though we did take the opportunity to make improvements where it was just as quick to build it that way. The secure payment redirect is one of the top priorities (along with the others mentioned in the post), so hopefully not too long. One of the great things about this new site and being outside of government is that it will be much easier to change and improve things. Sarah

  16. frank knight permalink

    When will permitted development applications be working on the new site – major problems at present.
    Full applications, no problem!

    • sarahchilcott permalink

      Thanks Frank. You spotted my deliberate omission 😉 Indeed, e-enabling all the prior notifications is also on the list…. Sarah

  17. Not good so far.

    Can’t find the portal,
    All links to Gov web site may be broken.
    Old ministerial letters such as car parking standards changes etc can’t find any more.

    List of Approved Inspectors (over 200 private constants plus Local Government) are they listed.
    My historical applications not listed.

    Downloading guidance notes so slow. The old portal was slow.
    Need an egg timer like Windows to show something is working between the Agent plus Portal please. Rather than looking at the bottom left hand corner.

    The TfL web site a few years ago took a week to fix. They had a named individual to contact re the problems.

    Logged in 4 times before it worked.
    Did not accept my new password.

    Error 404. The Scottish Portal is still better. Less questions, more added to drawings such as materials.

    Does the Portal have the whole of the UK addresses like last time. Inverness to London et al.

    It will get better. It needed a refresh.

    • sarahchilcott permalink

      Thanks for the feedback Les. Initial feedback is that the site should be available on co.uk and that redirects should be working from tomorrow. All applications from 1 July 2015 should have been transferred across and we are in the process of transferring data from 1 Jan 2014 to 30 June 2015. If you believe that there is something missing, please give our Support desk a call and they can help. We’ll work through the rest of the feedback in more detail. Sarah

  18. Joshua Mellor permalink

    All works fine for me. However, I’m a bit miffed why you have gone back to only allowing us to upload 1 document at a time – that is a huge step back. Uploading 10 documents at a time saves lots of time.

    For an application where we have 50+ reports and plans to submit this is going to be a major burden and a pain compared to where we were last week.

    • sarahchilcott permalink

      Hi Josh, Understood we’ll take a look at how to improve this area asap. In case its not clear, you do not have to wait for each one to finish before uploading the next one, so that will speed things up a little. Sarah

    • aherbert permalink

      Joshua, sorry for the delay in responding – you can upload as many supporting documents as you want at once, as long as they are less than 5MB and are files of the kind listed on page 6 of this PDF: https://ecab.planningportal.co.uk/uploads/1app/1app_guidance_note_england_en.pdf

  19. Jeremy permalink

    I’m one of the lucky ones who can find the new planning portal home page. However, I am given the option of either a new account (I just want to access my old one), or a sign in page which won’t accept my old details and will not email a new password when I request it. Any suggestions please?

    • sarahchilcott permalink

      Hi. If you just try to log in as usual it should start the process. If you are having problems, please contact our Support desk. Thanks, Sarah

  20. I’m trying to download a form for prior approval for conversion of offices to residential, which I could do on the old website(last done at the beginning of February) You now offers it to me as one of a range of forms that need to be downloaded as paper copies, then it isn’t on the list of options that you click onto Does nobody road test this stuff before it goes live?

    Also not having even an email address for contact is a good way to really annoy your users! The help screen offers a very limited range of issues you think we will need to know about then leaves us stranded. We know what our problems are, not you!

    Not the greatest start

  21. Hi, great work, a previously excellent service is now a disaster area, I am reverting to submitting by post.
    Kind regards
    Graham Lewis

  22. TFH Reeve permalink

    Dear Sarah,

    I notice that you respond to some posts and not others. Unfortunately, we appear to be the latter. Same issues with the new .co.uk website today, 2nd day running. Login issues, not working from safari, etc. Any progress from your technical team on the issues? Would appreciate a response, and contact from technical please.

    Regards

    • sarahchilcott permalink

      Apologies for not replying to your post yesterday – I did try to reply to all, but obviously didn’t quite manage it. Many of the issues from yesterday have been fixed, so I’ll get the Support team to contact you and work through your particular problem. I’ll also provide an updated post to summarise fixes and link to updated FAQs asap. Sarah

      • TFH Reeve permalink

        Thank you, best of luck with sorting out the new website issues.

        Our contact telephone number is 01747 828656, for the support team’s reference.

        Regards

  23. I’m experiencing problems setting up an account. Our email system has changed since the initial set up X number of years ago. I need to change my email account and no one is responding to my emails or taking my phone calls.

    • sarahchilcott permalink

      Hi Mark. I’ve just spoken to Support. They will have to change this for you, so I’ve asked someone to call you. Sarah

  24. Kevin Brady permalink

    Please may I add +1 a request for reviewing the document upload section of the application, the interface means that we have to upload one by one (like a few years ago), and if you happen to upload many documents, they slip onto page 2 (or 3) , making it (slightly) more difficult to check that all the documents have been submitted.

  25. Shaun Richards permalink

    Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for your and your teams harsd work in revamping the portal! Migration wise we transferred over without a hitch. I do have a couple of questions, if you have the time –

    1 – By far the most time consuming part of my job is reducing files down to 5MB in order to submit them. Are there any plans to raise this limit? I understand there may be issues with data storage, however could this not be traded off vs retention time of archived applications? I think most agents would agree that the archive feature is rarely used as we all have our own file storage, and that we come across more and more councils who will only assess documents submitted through the planning portal (which you feel you should comply with to avoid a war of words!) This would make using the portal much easier.

    2 – I had heard that there would be a feature to allow agents to forward a payment link to clients, to streamline the payment system. Is this still in the works.

    Thanks!

    Shaun Richards
    Cerda Planning

    • sarahchilcott permalink

      Hi Shaun, Thanks for your comment. Yes, both are still at the top of the ‘to do’ list, along with a few other things – please take a look at my post of yesterday when you get a minute! Sarah

      • Shaun Richards permalink

        Sarah, thanks. I just noticed your footnote that listed the 2 items. Thanks for your response, hopefully we can see these features soon!

  26. Culver Evans permalink

    Ongoing problems with migration. I can get to the site, even through Safari, but then it all looks as I am a brand new user with no history of current and past applications. As the old site is now defunct, this means I cannot track any of my applications. The “standard” response is that it may be to do with the new workspaces and I may be looking in the wrong place (operator error again!). Well, it ain’t. I am a sole principal practice with just a single user and no amount of navigating the workspace/s retrieves my applications.

    A more likely problem is that when I log on, I am offered an email address that is not the one that has the application registered to it. So I now always have to change it to get access. But that just gets me through the front door. My crown jewels are still steadfastly locked away in the vaults of the system that I can find no way into.

    The support line is no use either as it is clearly inundated. I waited over 10 minutes with intermittent music on hold before I had to give up and get on with that thing, you know, work!

    I will happily eat my words and post an apology here if it does turn out to be operator error, the apparently default assumption.

  27. Culver Evans permalink

    Let me try to be more positive than I feel. Sarah Chilcott has been responsive in private emails despite being no doubt inundated with them from disgruntled users like me. She also managed to get the support team to phone me, as there was no way I was able to reach them at the moment.

    In case it helps others, it does look as if my issue is with having two email addresses registered with the Portal. That seems to confuse the system hugely. I am promised that the two “accounts” are being merged and then I will be able to see my past applications. Sarah is trying to find out how long that is likely to take but has said that the sheer number of issues is making things difficult. Well, yes, but as she admits, that is a self inflicted wound.

    I suspect it will take at least days, maybe weeks, to iron out all the problems and get the system running the way the developers intended and we all hoped. We have to just stay calm I guess.

  28. Culver Evans permalink

    I’m hogging this blog, I know, but this may be useful to others.

    I have just succeeded in logging in and finding my applications. The system had locked me out for some reason and I had to reset my password (again!). There are now more stringent criteria for passwords. The new password I set did comply with those criteria but the system told me it didn’t. I kept re-doing it thinking I must have typed it wrongly (you can’t check as you go because only dots appear on screen). But I have just spoken to Support and they say that the criteria are even more stringent than it says. It seems there may be a lot of hidden criteria that you aren’t told about either before you try setting your password or even after it has failed. This makes sure that people will keep banging their head against the wall until it hurts.

    One thing the system objects to, I’m told, is numbers in sequence. I think that may have been why I was being chucked out. So … you have been warned!

    • sarahchilcott permalink

      Thanks for your comments Simon. On passwords – the system won’t accept sequential numbers or ‘common’ words. This is in the help text next to the password field. If you want to check what you’ve typed then you can click on the ‘eye’ symbol at the right hand end of the field and it will temporarily reveal it. Hope that helps. Sarah

  29. Tom Brown permalink

    Submitted an applcation Tuesday – Householder, It Worked!

    Today I entered a new planning application for a simple Lawful Development certificate, the easiest of the 46 odd 1APP forms. Got to calculate fees and it through a fit. Can’t get any further forward.

    The person(s) who beta tested this software were less than clued up on how it works (in this instance does not work). There is no help line phone number or email address to chase.
    This is business critical, and the Portal suggests we use it for building control as well.

    Use the Scottish Planning Planning but get them to include English authorities, first. At least it works.
    Devolution of the English portal. It may be worth it. What do I do now
    suggest the programmer gets another job? But it does not help me.

    You will have to test every 1APP form process from start to end, (46 odd) this has obviously not been done.

    • sarahchilcott permalink

      Hi Tom. Apologies you’ve had problems with this. In fact, the categories on the fee calculator are the same as the old site but the layout has changed slightly. The system has always used the same categories on LDC applications as on full applications, which doesn’t reference single dwellings specifically. Now that we are aware that this may cause confusion, we have arranged for the ‘Enlargement, improvement or alteration of a flat’ text to be updated to include single dwellings. In the meantime if you select the ‘flat’ option the correct fee will be calculated and you can submit it. Thanks, Sarah

  30. David Garside permalink

    WHAT ON EARTH – The Password criteria is f*****g ridiculous. Please amend/simplfy the criteria NOW. There is no need for this level of security just to submit a planning application that will be viewable by any Tom/Dick/Harry once validated. My bank has a fairly complex security protocol but is a simpler to log on than this!! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE SORT THIS

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