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Planning Portal new website launch – one year on

by on April 20, 2017
planning portal website screenshot

A sneak preview of the new section

Alongside a 15.6 per cent increase in planning applications between March 2016-2017, we have been celebrating a year since the launch of our new fully mobile-responsive website. It has been a hugely eventful year for the Planning Portal, both on and offline, and by way of taking a momentary breather, I thought I would take this opportunity to look back on the year that was.

March 2016 – The Planning Portal website is successfully launched after many months in development. Tens of thousands of user accounts are successfully transferred, alongside 6TB of data. The new cloud-based site is faster, with a more streamlined user journey and is fully responsive to different devices and screen sizes.

Notable figures

  • An average of 10 per cent of traffic to the website is now from tablets and 22 per cent from mobile devices
  • Over 90 per cent of planning applications are now made online through the Portal
  • There are 140,000 registered Planning Portal users
  • An average of 2,000 applications per day are submitted through the Planning Portal.

Our free project management facility, Workspaces, was also launched in March to provide a platform for our professional users to collaborate on planning applications. The service has proved valuable to users working on large or complex projects that involve a number of internal and external stakeholders. Watch this space for news of enhancements to Workspaces in the future.

July

July saw the launch of Planning Portal’s Find a Trade Professional service, a free-to-access platform for our homeowner audience to locate the right professional for their project.

In response to user feedback, we also unveiled a new and improved volume calculator in July, which gauges the volume for common types of house and loft extension. The calculator is now optimised for mobile and tablet, so provides a better user experience.

September

Our free weekly newsletter has been running for over 13 years and September saw it getting a fresh new mobile-responsive design. For all the latest industry news and comment, you can sign up for our newsletter by registering as a user on the Planning Portal.

October

October was a very busy month for the Portal with the launch of our online building control application service which enables applications to be submitted to registered LABC departments and Approved Inspectors.

View a map of local authorities using our service.

Access our Approved Inspectors Directory.

At time of writing, over 3,300 building control applications have been submitted online, and we are delighted with the positive feedback we have received from both our industry professional and homeowner audiences.

November

Hot on the heels of the building control application service, we introduced the new iteration of our interactive houses and guides, which are now mobile responsive. We’ve come a long way since the first interactive house was unveiled in 2004, using graphics and guidance to help people understand their permitted development rights and the building regulations.

January

The start of 2017 saw a brand new partnership formed with The Planner to deliver current, industry news to our 53k newsletter subscribers. You can sign up for our newsletter by registering as a user on the Planning Portal.

February

February was another exciting and jubilant month at the Portal, as we were successful in our bid to manage online planning application services for Wales. The contract runs until March 2021 and provides a dual language planning application service which is designed to meet the needs of applicants and all the 25 Welsh local planning authorities.

March

March saw another new venture with the unveiling of ReQuestaPlan, an online digital mapping tool. From just £8 per map, the tool enables creation of location plans and site/block plans for submission with building control and planning applications.

Find out more about the benefits of ReQuestaPlan.

The future for the Planning Portal

So, it’s been a busy year and as visitors to this blog are aware, we aren’t ones to let the grass grow under our feet. We are currently working hard on restructuring key areas of our website content, with a view to delivering new and existing content more effectively to our homeowner and industry professional audiences.

Keep checking our blog, follow us on Twitter or sign up for our newsletter by registering as a user on the Planning Portal for the latest updates…

In addition, we are planning a number of exciting developments to our services, as well as increasing opportunities for our commercial audience to speak to our homeowner audiences. Find out about our commercial opportunities.

Here’s to another busy and exciting year. As always, if you have any feedback or recommendations about our services, please contact us at communications@planningportal.co.uk.

One Comment
  1. Chris Nash permalink

    Future development ideas for you in respect of application forms, which would assist both applicants and LPAs:

    The outline forms ask for a breakdown of the housing mix. If layout is a reserved matter, which it is in most cases, it simply is not possible to accurately answer this – particularly if the site is to be ‘sold on’ for a developer to make their own conclusions as to housing type and tenure. Suggest that if layout is not ticked, then the housing mix part of the form falls away. Conversely, at the reserved matters stage – this is the time when the LPA need that level of detail, particularly for monitoring purposes, yet it does not feature on the form at all.

    In addition, it is noted that the s73 variation/removal of conditions form is still titled ‘removal’ in section 6, even if the latter section is completed (i.e. if it is to be removed, then the second box is not completed). On first glance, variation applications appear that the applicant simply wishes to remove the condition unless the reader delves deeper.

    Finally, most LPAs have a scheme of delegation which requires most, if not all, types of applications and notifications to go before committee if the applicant is a councillor, member of staff, etc. Not all forms require the applicant to declare this detail, which can lead to problems later on.

    Hope these can be taken forward in due course.

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