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Forthcoming updates to our online application service

by on January 28, 2020

Updated 25 February 2020

Further to the update featured in last month’s blog post, we are pleased to announce that phase two of our three-part project to overhaul the current application system is scheduled to be implemented on the evening of 20 March. You can expect 1App to be unavailable from late on the Friday afternoon until Saturday morning. The exact times of this downtime will be signposted on the Planning Portal in the coming weeks.

In case you missed it, here’s the details of the project and what you can expect to see…

Following the successful launch of the outstanding Prior Approval application types in December 2019, we are continuing to deliver key improvements and new functions.

Next up is:

  • A new version of our data standard (schema) that is used to efficiently transfer application data to Local Authorities; and
  • A set of changes for applications made to Local Authorities in London, based on requirements from the Greater London Authority.

In response to the challenges issued by bodies looking into the future of planning, and the expected direction of government’s ‘Accelerated Planning’ white paper, we are continuing to increase our rate of change.

We want to ensure that all our users are on board for this journey and can work with us to deliver the improvements and realise the benefits that the sector requires for it to be fit-for-purpose.

A three-phase improvement project

The delivery of improvements to the online application service is being delivered in three phases, which are:

  • Recently launched Prior Approval application types;
  • London-specific questions to be introduced in parallel with this change (see details below);
  • Forthcoming updates to existing questions (see details below).

We have engaged Local Authorities and their ICT suppliers to provide details of this update. Once their systems are ready to support the new standard, they will be able to automatically receive the information directly into their systems, realising the benefits and efficiencies this brings to the process.

Changes to applications in Greater London

These changes, requested by the Greater London Authority and enabled through legislation, introduce additional questions (or replace ‘standard’ questions) to collect further details on proposals.

This is to help Local Authorities determine applications correctly, based on more detailed information; and to allow London-wide policies and targets to be implemented and monitored.

When you start a new application for a location within Greater London, depending on the type of application you are making (Householder, Prior Approval, or Full/Outline Planning Permission) you will see additional/amended questions covering:

  • Existing and proposed uses
  • Parking and electric vehicle charging points
  • Residential units and other accommodation
  • Waste, recycling and environmental impacts
  • Utilities and water management
  • Open and protected spaces
  • General scheme and development information.

Where these are relevant to the proposal, it will be mandatory to provide this information. Failure to do so may mean that the application cannot be submitted; or that it will be invalidated once received by the Local Authority.

When are these changes coming?

We have scheduled to implement these changes on the evening of the 20 March. There will be some downtime to the application service while this happens, but more information will be signposted on the Planning Portal and Knowledge Hub in the coming weeks.

What else is planned?

The changes detailed above are the second of a three-part project to overhaul the current application system.

The final part will see an update to many existing questions on the system. We will communicate full details in due course, but in summary:

  • The implementation of the new data standard will allow us to resolve some outstanding issues on the existing system, including the current manual workaround for residential categories and units.
  • There are a wide range of other fixes to existing questions planned such as the move to an optional free text ‘title’ across all questions where names are requested, and changes to ensure compliance with the Government’s form templates and current legislation.
  • Finally, we are updating the optional/mandatory settings on several questions and/or allowing users to state that information is not relevant to their proposal. This will help ensure that applications contain the necessary information to be validated successfully when received by the Local Authority.

Further information

Further communications will be sent as the project implementation progresses although if you would like further information on the London Development Database Automation Project, please visit the Greater London Authority website.

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