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Making the process of planning and building easier for everyone

by on April 29, 2020

The Planning Portal has been around now for almost 18 years – and some of the original team are still here! Just this week I’ve been reminded of my 11th anniversary and I still occasionally feel like the new girl, surrounded by a depth of skills and knowledge which is invaluable.

Over those 18 years, the team are proud to have led the transformation of the planning and building process; driving forward e-planning in the early 2000s, supporting change to ‘digital by default’ services through the 2010s and more latterly engaging in the world of PropTech.  But as the work of digital transformation has evolved, we’ve always been clear on our focus to deliver the best possible service for our customers and partners.  This was true for us as a government body and is equally true today.

Having been a private company now for five years, we’ve recently been through a process of reflection and business planning for the next stage of our evolution.  It’s given us the opportunity to reflect on what we’ve done well and the lessons we’ve learnt along the way.  The process of planning has come a long way in those 18 years, let alone the last five, but of course there is still more to do.

Our ambition to transform planning and building hasn’t diminished and in fact, we’re more determined than ever to drive real change in the process. Our values and our focus on quality, accuracy and delivering for our customers has not changed, but our whole team has come together to agree our refreshed objectives, which include reducing invalidation, technology innovation to simplify and join-up the process and making data accessible:

Portal objectives

Work on reducing invalidation rates for planning applications began in earnest with the launch of our Financial Transaction Service 18 months ago.  Not only has the service improved the process of paying for planning applications across England by removing payment as an issue in invalidation, but it has also brought money into the business which has allowed us to invest in the core service and on the delivery of our objectives.  Despite the wider challenges posed to us all by COVID-19, these are exciting times for us and we’re looking forward to sharing our progress with you all through this blog and other channels over the coming weeks, months and years.

As always we are keen to listen, learn and improve so your feedback is welcome.

  1. Lee Wright permalink

    I wondered if there were plans to link and self populate CIL forms in the near future. At present they make for much repetition and manual work, a lot already captured elsewhere in an application?

    • sarahchilcott permalink

      Hi Lee, yes CIL is certainly in the plans. The development roadmap is coming together and we’ll carry on sharing more details as it evolves. Thanks for the feedback. Sarah

      • Lee permalink

        Hi Sarah, thanks and it would be good.

        I note that some agents have expressed concern at increase in portal fees (I am not one of those as I can see time saving and other advatantes to using the portal submission), but including measures that cut down on agent work and time such as CIL forms, would enable a justification for portal fee increases – possibly as some may still not agree!

  2. Christine Black permalink

    In london there are many Victorian terraces all with roof space that could be turned into usable rooms if planning was allowed to raise the roof ridge. Many streets are very narrow and the tops of the houses are really not seen. Obviously this would not be the case for listed properties or properties in conservation areas. Rooms for rent are at a premium in london and the costs are therefore very high.

  3. John Stephen Bone permalink

    Do you have a “working group” on the future Building Safety Bill and its “gateways” and “duty-holders” (which willhave to be “nominated” and “registered” with the new National BuildingSafety Regulator”…. ?? I would be happy to join/help – I have been a Building Control Surveyor since 1974 and a Fire Risk Assessor since 2010 and a PC user since 1986

    John Bone, C.Build.E MCABE BSc Hons

    • sarahchilcott permalink

      Hi John, we don’t have a formal group, but are working through this now. Thanks for the offer – we may well take you up on it! Sarah

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