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The new, improved Planning Portal!

by on February 24, 2021

You may already be aware, through our social media and latest webinar series, that the Planning Portal is in the process of re-platforming the service. Our mission is ‘transforming planning and building’ and through listening and learning we are continuing to develop our website and planning application service to ensure we are meeting our customers’ needs both now and in the future.

Why are we changing the service?
The Planning Portal receives nearly 1M visits each month from over 630K users, viewing more than 3.2M pages. On average, a planning application is submitted every 15 seconds. We support all Local Planning Authorities in England and Wales and facilitate c.90 per cent of all application submissions online. However, we are aware of challenges that are still faced in the planning process. These include high rates of invalidation, a disconnect between planning and building control processes and the data used, and the handling and indexing of data and documents. Through a rigorous process of research and of listening to our customers and partners about their experiences and challenges, we are aiming to combat these issues.

We will work with Local Planning Authorities to reduce invalidation rates; use innovative technology to simplify the planning process; make data available to help open up the process and to join up the end-to-end processes to improve efficiency – saving everyone time and money.

What is the new system?
We are developing a brand-new, cloud-based application service that is flexible enough to cater for the needs of our customers and partners both now and in the future. We are on track for a launch in late quarter two of this year.

The new platform is being developed in-house by our TerraQuest colleagues in Birmingham. It combines our knowledge and insight, gained from nearly 20 years of facilitating online planning submission, and the experience of a team of developers, product owners and user experience specialists.

The new platform will bring initial improvements in usability, but more importantly it will give us the platform we need to continually improve the service and deliver the transformation the planning and building industry needs.

So, what are the benefits?
There are a number of benefits that we will see throughout the development of the new system:

  1. An easier and more intuitive platform – we have used insight from many of our regular users and multiple Local Authorities to identify the ‘sticking points’ in the current process. We have coupled this with best-in-class in user experience.
  2. A more efficient and joined up process – the new service will take a ‘project-based’ approach, linking applications related to a single development. Over time, we will extend this to cover everything from pre-app to building completion.
  3. Easier access to share data across platforms – interoperability with other systems will be integrated, in order to improve data flows and access to data for agents, applicants, Local Authorities and others.
  4. Fewer invalid applications – we are taking a standard national approach to tackle key issues faced across England and Wales, and in the future we will be looking to join up the process more spatially across the development management and local plan processes.

Who will the new developments effect?
Whether you submit or receive planning or building control applications, you can understand the changes by joining us for the remainder of the webinar series; please register here. If you have any further questions about the development of the new system, please feel free to contact us at or leave us a comment below.

  1. John Bone permalink

    Will you have the Gateways (1,2,&3) proposed by the Hackett report and the draft Building Safety Bill be provided for?

    • Portal Content team permalink

      Hello John,
      At the moment we are awaiting further advice from MHCLG and the new Building Safety Regulator the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as to how the new Gateway processes will work in practice. Once this is confirmed then we will ensure our application service caters for this and provide appropriate guidance.

  2. John Bone, C.Build. E MCABE BSc hons permalink

    Thanks, so a sensibly qualified “yes”,… (ASAP)

    Have you seen the Job Advert (Fire Strategy Assessment Officers) from BSR/HSE stating that “Gateway 1” will be in effect in Oct 2021 ?

    • Portal Director permalink

      Hello John, we are still awaiting confirmation of the implementation timetable for the new Building Safety Bill.

  3. Robert Robinson permalink

    Whilst we can nominate clients to pay application fees, they in turn often have issues with internal finance teams in generating the payment in the absence of an invoice. Is there, or can there be an option to generate an invoice to allow the ‘bean counters’ computers to say yes?

    • Portal Director permalink

      Thank you for your comment, we have logged the enhancement with our development team and it will be re-evaluated once we have the re-platformed service in place.

Please give us your feedback but we won’t publish any comments that are not constructive or that criticise any individual, any named business or any local authority. Please note, all comments will be moderated before being published.

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