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Planning News – 26 January 2017

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250,000 social rented homes could be lost by 2020 – CIH
Nearly 250,000 of the cheapest rented homes could be lost between 2012 and 2020 in England, according to the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH)…
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Redhill cinema scheme approved
Reigate & Banstead Borough Council’s planning committee has approved a £40 million multiplex cinema, restaurants and shops in Redhill town centre, Surrey…
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Planning tool upgraded to help London’s transport challenges
Transport for London (TfL) has upgraded its online planning tool in an attempt to help the capital’s planners design housing and business developments for the future…
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Study suggests disconnect over housing development viability in Wales
A report that looks at why viability issues are stalling housing developments assessed as deliverable in local development plans highlights a disconnect between the aspirations of house builders/developers and local planning authorities…
Roger Milne, The Planner

Report: Estate regeneration demands a new approach
A fresh approach to regenerating London’s estates is required, and London businesses suggest that it could include building on disused spaces such as empty garages…
Laura Edgar, The Planner

News in brief
A round-up of planning news

  • Construction begins on Manchester build to rent scheme
  • Birmingham industrial unit approved
  • New hospital to be built in Westminster
  • Belfast residents invited to contribute to city’s development
  • Northern Line extension tunnelling to begin
  • Buntingford care home approved
  • And more stories…

Laura Edgar, The Planner

Planning News – 19 January 2017

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Neighbourhood Planning Bill: Lords express concerns about planning conditions measures
Members of the House of Lords have expressed both support for and concern about measures for pre-commencement planning conditions laid out in the Neighbourhood Planning Bill – some calling for more evidence to suggest they delay house building…
Laura Edgar, the Planner

£1.2 billion allocated for England’s roads
Transport minister Andrew Jones has announced the allocation of £1.2 billion of roads funding in England…
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Report: Helping SME builders could boost housing delivery
The number of SME builders has reduced by approximately 80 per cent over the last 25 years, according to a new report by the Home Builders Federation (HBF)…
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Canterbury Cathedral welcome centre approved
Canterbury City Council has granted planning approval and listed building consent for the design of a new welcome centre for Canterbury Cathedral…
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Key report backs Swansea tidal lagoon as ‘pathfinder project’
Swansea Council leader Rob Stewart has welcomed the publication of an independent review by former energy minister Charles Hendry, backing proposals for a £1.3 billion tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay…
Roger Milne, The Planner

News in brief
A round-up of planning news:

  • RTPI publishes Neighbourhood Planning Bill brief
  • Incentives for pensioners to downsize
  • Pollution zones in Scotland rise to 38
  • Site clearance for Midland Metro begins
  • RTPI calls for bursary sponsors
  • New homes for historic Leicestershire village

Laura Edgar, The Planner

Planning News – 12 January 2017

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72% of councillors think planning system is undemocratic
Councillors in England think that the planning system works in the interests of developers over councils and local communities, according to new survey…
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Britain to get quick-build homes – Javid
Communities secretary Sajid Javid says Britain will get thousands of new homes through a quick-build modular method…
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Javid assigns £7bn to affordable homes
Communities secretary Sajid Javid has unlocked £7 billion in an expansion of the government’s affordable housing programme that aims to help the country’s housing needs to be met…
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Scheme launched to stop infrastructure delays halting house building
A pilot scheme to stop infrastructure hold-ups delaying construction of new homes has been launched by the Housing & Finance Institute. The government has backed the scheme…
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Swansea ‘box village’ project unveiled
The University of Wales Trinity St David has unveiled proposals for a so-called Swansea ‘box village’ made up of thousands of former shipping containers providing up to 18,580 square metres of floor space…
Roger Milne, The Planner

News in brief – A Round-up of planning news
RTPI awards for planning excellence 2017 entries closed
• 60-bed Cheshire care home approved
• Government to announce support for Swansea lagoon
• Kier granted £42m by HCA
• Khan announces new low-emission bus zones
• Ealing regeneration project approved
• Europa Way application submitted in Warwick
• Buyer secured for Birmingham development site.
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Happy New Year!

A belated happy new year to you all!  Is it just me, or is Christmas already a distant memory?!

As anticipated, things quietened down over the festive period, but as always planning applications continued to go in every day, including Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day which saw 21, 54 and 131 applications respectively!

I’m kicking off the year with a couple of announcements about strategic partnerships which we finalised just before Christmas.  Our mission is to continue to transform planning and building, but we recognise that the best way to do this is by working in partnership with other strong, credible organisations who share our values and aspirations.

Last year, I mentioned that we had formed a partnership with the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and were now promoting the jobs vacancies from their official magazine, The Planner on our site.  If you are looking for a new challenge or looking to recruit, you can take a look at it here. We’re pleased that we’ve recently agreed to extend this partnership to include their extensive and up-to-the minute news coverage in our site too.  So, you can now find all the latest planning news in our site on our revamped pages and our newsletter will still bring you the highlights every week in a neat digestible package.

Also just before Christmas we were pleased to enter a strategic partnership with LABC, the not-for-profit organisation which represents local authority building control teams across England and Wales.  We look forward to working closely with them to enhance our existing building control content, advice and guidance, as well as our application service.  Anyone wishing to make a building control application can do so here.  Any building control body not yet signed up to receive applications via the service should contact the Portal Account Manager in their area.

It’s going to be a busy year, we’re working hard on enhancements to both the planning and building control application services, as well as other innovative products and services which will help to transform planning and building.  I’ll post more here as those things move on, but in the meantime it just remains for me to wish everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous 2017.


Planning Portal News: 22 December 2016

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Ministers press ahead with pre-commencement conditions revamp and neighbourhood plan regime changes
Government publishes responses on consultations aimed at strengthening the neighbourhood planning regime and improving the use of planning conditions…

New Homes Bonus scheme revamp confirmed
Javid announces changes to the New Homes Bonus scheme including the introduction of a national baseline for housing growth of 0.4 per cent…

EIA modifications consultation launched
New consultation on the latest version of the Environment Impact Assessment launched, with potential changes to the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and the infrastructure planning regime…

National Infrastructure Commission bangs the drum for a 5G blueprint
New report, “Connected Future”, calls for prioritisation of digital infrastructure in local planning policy to ensure the UK is ready for 5G…

Historic England calls for a capital heritage strategy in new London Plan
New report from Historic England calls for a revised London Plan that encourages future planning and design to be inspired by a place’s historic character…

Planning round-up 22 December 2016

  • Proposals for 2,000-home Northumberland garden village submitted
  • Latest development control stats
  • Northamptonshire housing scheme rebuffed again
  • New Nantwich neighbourhood approved
  • Peers call for changes to HS2 Bill powers and compensation package
  • Javid blocks solar farm near Heathrow
  • Think-tank warns that housing supply crisis worst in high growth areas
  • Stratford on Avon acts to safeguard jobs on contested airfield site
  • And more stories…

Roger Milne

What a year…now, what’s next?

So, Christmas and New Year are nearly upon us – how did that happen?  It’s been another busy year at the Portal, but fantastic to see the team so full of energy and enthusiasm to deliver improvements and new products and services for our customers.  Next year, the pace will continue unabated, but in the meantime there is time for a brief pause to reflect on the year’s work:

  • We started the year with a new Planning Portal – a fresher look, but critically more modern infrastructure and a site which was designed to work as well on mobiles and tablets as it does on the desktop.
  • Planning applications continued to grow despite fears around Brexit.  The percentage submitted online is also growing.  By the end of December, we will have seen around 550,000 applications submitted to English and Welsh authorities via the Portal and more than 3 million in total since we started.
  • In the summer, we re-designed the Interactive House to make it accessible on mobile devices and traffic rose sharply as a result.
  • We also launched a new ‘Find your local trade professional‘ service in partnership with the Federation of Master Builders and start-up Plentific.
  • We’ve developed a strong partnership with the RTPI, the first step of which was to work with them on the promotion of The Planner Jobs.
  • And we rounded the year off with the launch of our new national building control application service, which is already taking off in terms of building control bodies signed up and application numbers.

There are already plenty of announcements in the pipeline for the New Year – new partners, new services and improvements to the application services.  You’ll also see a new look to our news publishing which I’m sure will be popular.

In the meantime, for those of you who will be working over the festive period our Support desk will be available as usual (except for the bank holidays) to help with any problems.  Regardless of your plans, the whole team thanks you for your continuing support this year and we wish you all the very best for Christmas and the New Year.

Planning Portal News: 15 December 2016

Read the full story on our website by clicking on the headline.

Neighbourhood plans strengthened by government
Protection increased for neighbourhood plans so that they are no longer deemed out of date unless there is a significant lack of land supply in the wider local authority area…

Finance and new advice for estate regeneration
Planning’s role in transforming neighbourhoods is highlighted as the government announces an additional £32m of funding to help regenerate neglected housing estates…

New poll paints bleak picture of planning resources
Joint research finds that over 90 per cent of local authorities believe the government’s housing targets will be impossible to meet due to a lack of planning resources…

Developers who quashed Sussex neighbourhood plan lose appeal
Javid refuses appeal for redevelopment of the former Sandgate Nurseries, a decision that comes after the developers successfully challenged the lawfulness of the approved Henfield Neighbourhood Plan…

Javid allows out of town Sainsbury’s development at Southport
Javid agrees that a Sainsbury’s store should be approved for a Southport out-of-town retail park, stating that the scheme would not harm the vitality of the town centre…

Planning round-up 15 December 2016
– Developers criticise Greater Manchester strategy for lack of ambition
– Bristol’s Broadmead revamp
– Sheffield mulls urban outdoor facility
– Chocks away for Surrey airport homes proposal?
– East Sussex parish councillors resign over Javid appeal decision
– East Leeds 1,100-home project makes progress
– Shortfall in custom builders’ registers revealed
– Bentley’s Crewe master-plan unveiled
– And more stories…

Roger Milne

Planning Portal News: 8 December 2016

Read the full story on our website by clicking on the headline.

Report warns of ‘inappropriate’ development in National Parks
A report published this week by three key conservation bodies highlights the threat to National Parks from major developments and fracking…

Three new rail stations proposed for Leeds in ambitious transport strategy
Leeds City Council has unveiled proposals for three new rail stations and an airport rail link as part of a planned £270m investment in transport for the city…

Master plan submitted for 1,000-home mixed-use project in Rochdale
Russell Homes has proposed a ‘long-term’ development of a 130-hectare site in South Heywood, involving up to 1,000 new homes…

Communities Secretary approves 680-home new neighbourhood for Eastleigh
Javid allows appeal for a sustainable development near Eastleigh, concluding that the adverse impacts of the scheme do not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the identified benefits…

Scottish government proposes huge hike in planning charges
Proposals for the fees of major planning applications to be increased fourfold have been put forward by Scottish government…

Planning round-up 8 December 2016
– Boost for private rented provision
– Deal over Leeds skyscraper risks
– Shale gas planning aid
– Homes & Communities Agency regulatory reform backed
– Durham pause local plan pending Housing White Paper
– Surrey solar farm blocked
– Green light for Bristol redevelopment
– Birmingham free school approved
– And more stories…

Roger Milne

Application numbers continue to rise

With Christmas approaching at a rate of knots, the planning application numbers continue to rise.  November saw 45,834 applications submitted, that’s an 11% increase on November last year.  So far, we’ve seen no sign of the Christmas slow-down, although history tells us that some applications will even go in on Christmas Day!

On building control, we’re also seeing an uptake in the number of building control bodies signed up and the number of applications submitted. In the eight weeks since launch, we’ve seen 59 local authorities and 9 approved inspectors go live with the service.  In the same time period, we’ve seen around 4,500 building regulations approval applications started.  We’re just testing the first post-launch release to the service as well, so as soon as its passed testing, I’ll post an update on what’s included and when its coming here.  If your are a building control body and haven’t yet signed up, please do speak to your Account Manager.


This chart is based on the average number of applications submitted through the Planning Portal on a working day

Time, gentlemen please!

Sorry this post isn’t about beer or even last orders, but at least I got your attention!

It’s about our latest release at the weekend, which included a new message to warn users when they are getting close to being timed out of our planning application service.

For most users this hasn’t been a problem, but we understand that there is nothing more frustrating than taking a long call or popping out to a meeting without saving the application, only to find that you’ve been timed out and may have lost some work.

Of course, time outs are necessary for data and system security.  Our service will still time you out after 30 minutes of inactivity, but now you will get a message 10 minutes before, warning you what is about to happen.

time out

It’s still best to hit the ‘Next’ or ‘Previous’ button at the bottom of each page before you step away from the application you’re working on, as this will save all your work so far, but at least this change should provide a little extra comfort.

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