Six months on…what next?
Its hard to believe that its been six months since the new Planning Portal was unveiled at the end of March 2016. The new site was many months in development and the logistical challenge to securely transfer many thousands of user accounts and 6TB of data was enormous.
Of course it didn’t go entirely smoothly, but thanks to the never-ending patience of our customers and the sheer hard work of the team, we got through those first few weeks.
Last week, government published its planning application data for the period April-June 2016. We were keen to see it because although our figures continue to grow, you never quite know whether that reflects the market overall! We need not have worried though, DCLG and WG reported a 5.3% increase on the same period last year, but online applications were up 9.7%. So a good indicator for us that we’re continuing to provide a valuable service for our customers.
Our own data also tells us that our customers are also accessing our content in ways that better suit them. A key priority of the new site was to make it responsive to different screen sizes and we’ve seen a steady increase in people accessing it from mobiles and tablets – in fact, nearly a third of users are now accessing the site from non-desktop devices. This is even higher on the new Interactive Guides, with almost 42% of visits coming from mobiles and tablets.
We haven’t spent the last 6 months resting on our laurels though. Behind the scenes we’ve been working on new products and services, some of which we’ve already launched, but many more of which are still to come. We’re particularly excited about the next one – due imminently – and that is a new national building control application service.
You’ve been asking us about it for years and now its nearly ready to unveil. It will mean that our existing customers (and new ones of course!) can submit both planning and building applications via our service, both free of charge. I’ll post more information as soon as we’ve got a launch date confirmed, but in the meantime if you are a local authority or Approved Inspector who wants to sign-up to receive applications, please speak to your Account Manager or email us.