Skip to content

Updated: Smartphone and tablet apps recommended by planners for planners

Update March 2015: I thought I’d revisit this popular post from 2012 and 2013. I’m sure there are new apps out there to help planning and building professionals do their job. We’ve added the recent Pocket Guide to Planning. Please let me know if there are any you think should be added.

Here’s a list of some of the smartphone and tablet apps you recommended for fellow planning (and building control) colleagues.

Feel free to send me any more suggestions as a comment below and I’ll add them to the list.

Thanks to all who provided these suggestions. The table below now includes additional apps mentioned in the comments.

Read more…

Introduction of Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC)

The Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) will come into force on 1 April.

OPDC has been championed by the Mayor of London as the body that will drive the regeneration of 900 hectares of industrial land in west London.

On 1 April OPDC will take on planning powers for the area including the power to determine planning applications, prepare planning policy and prepare and collect CIL. In addition, OPDC will have the ability to use Compulsory Purchase Order powers to secure regeneration.

Old Oak and Park Royal DC sits across the boundaries of three London Boroughs – Brent, Ealing and Hammersmith and Fulham, and will be established as a new local planning authority (LPA) on the Planning Portal to facilitate its introduction.

This means that with effect from 1 April 2015, any applications created on the Planning Portal within the new DC boundary will be submitted to the new authority.

More information about OPDC is available on the GLA website.

News stories 12 March 2015

DCLG confirms raft of planning reforms
The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has published its responses to recent consultations on the use of planning conditions, the consent process for nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIPs) and changes to statutory consultee arrangements.

Transitional planning regime for Ebbsfleet Garden City announced
Planning minister Brandon Lewis has announced transitional arrangements for planning as the urban development corporation which will be responsible for creating the new 15,000-home garden city at Ebbsfleet in Kent is set up.

Gloucester master plan unveiled
A £135m master plan to regenerate nearly three hectares of land across the Quayside and Blackfriars sites in the centre of Gloucester has been presented to potential investors.

Latest alteration to London Plan approved
The revised city-wide planning strategy to deliver the economic, environmental, transport and social improvements that London will need over the next 20 years has been published by the capital’s Mayor Boris Johnson.

Panel cold-shoulders single designation route for key Welsh landscapes
The independent panel set up to advise the Welsh Government on designated landscapes – National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) – has come down firmly against a single designation.

News round-up 12 March 2015
An overview of the other planning stories of this week…

Business as usual

We’re pleased to say that the ownership of the Planning Portal has this week been transferred to a private sector, joint venture between DCLG and TerraQuest.

At long last this will give us the opportunity to invest in and improve the core product.  The existing service and content will be retained and built on when a refreshed service goes live later in the year.

All of the team have transferred over to the new company and will continue to provide the same levels of service you’ve come to expect.

We’re champing at the bit to get on with the next phase in our evolution and to build an even better service at the heart of this critical industry. We look forward to working with you on that and to your continuing feedback and support.

News Stories 5 March 2015

Starter home planning policy initiative confirmed
The Government this week kick-started its ambitious scheme to generate starter homes, which will be offered to young, first-time buyers at a 20 per cent discount, paid for by exempting developers from infrastructure payments.

Latest English household formation projections published
The Department for Communities and Local Government has published its latest official projections of household formations, estimating the formation of 5.2 million new households in England between 2012 and 2037.

Pickles blocks Gladman housing schemes in Buckinghamshire and Cheshire
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has dismissed two separate appeals by Gladman Developments involving proposals for sites in Buckinghamshire and Cheshire.

Devolution package proposes greater planning powers for Wales
The Coalition has confirmed moves to give the Welsh administration greater planning powers in line with the recommendations of the Silk Commission.

News round-up 5 March 2015
An overview of the other planning stories of this week…

Update: Issue with the Planning Portal (9th March)

Update: 16:20. The Portal site is now back up.


We are currently experiencing a technical issue with the Planning Portal, which means the site has been unavailable since late morning.

First and foremost: please accept my apologies for the inconvenience this is causing you.

We are working hard with our technical partner to resolve this issue.


A record month for online applications

In February we received 40,624 online applications, which equates to 38,177 total submissions – a huge 19.3% increase on the same period 12 months ago.

In line, the work-day averages for submissions have also increased. February was a record month with 1,863 applications submitted each working day. So far March is even higher with daily submissions hovering around the 2,000 mark. The work-day average for online applications in March has roughly doubled from 2012

This chart shows the change in daily submission over the last few years.


Does this indicate an increase in total planning applications or just those submitted online?

We won’t know for sure until DCLG publishes its PS1/2 returns reports sometime later this month but we suspect it’s a bit of both.



And it’s hello from her!

So, Chris is off to pastures new and though we’re disappointed that he decided not to join us on the next phase in the Portal’s evolution, the team’s enthusiasm to get cracking continues unabated.

The team and I will do our best to move this blog on along in the next few months and will continue to keep you up to date with the improvements and developments here as they happen.

One immediate change you’ll notice is that from this week I’ll also be posting our weekly news headlines.  They’ve been popular when we’ve posted them in the past so I hope you’ll enjoy them.  Do let me have your feedback on this and indeed anything else – I’m sure you won’t by shy!

For long-term blog subscribers, you may remember me holding the reins whilst Chris was leading our bid last year.  For those that don’t, I’m one of the Portal’s deputy directors, focused on delivering the best possible experience to our customers – agents, applicants and LPAs alike.

I’m a relative newbie in Portal terms – I’ve only been here six years!  Feel free to look me up on LinkedIn, where I’d be happy to connect.


It’s goodbye from him!

Hello All,
I’m sad to announce that after 13 years at the Planning Portal, including the last 9 as Director, I am leaving the Portal for pastures new.
Being part of the Portal team from launch to the point of maturity and transfer to the private sector has been an absolute privilege and one that will be difficult to match.

I joined the Portal in 2002, before the first electronic planning application was created and leave it at a point where every local authority is a partner and around 90% of all planning applications are submitted electronically.

We began as a tiny group of enthusiasts from PINs and the private sector with a Mission to transform planning. I believe we’ve achieved that goal decisively, helping the planning sector to become a leader in the transformation of public services to a digital model, delivering more than £600M of savings to local Government and business along the way.

It’s been a fantastic experience working with partners across local and central Government, industry and agencies and I feel proud to have played a part in such a fantastic transformation.
There has been true collaboration and a willingness to embrace new ways of working throughout the industry. This was especially evident in the creation of 1App, which required compromise and tenacity on all sides to bring together the myriad variations of planning application forms into a cohesive set that has led to efficiencies for applicant and local authority alike.

As you’ll know from previous posts the Planning Portal is about to enter a new and exciting phase of its evolution by becoming a private sector company under a joint venture between TerraQuest and DCLG.
I’m certain that the venture will be a huge success, just as almost everything the team has turned its hand to has been.
Having been together since the beginning the Planning Portal team are more like family to me than colleagues and it will be very difficult to wave them off to new adventures without me, but I know they’ll flourish and I wish them every success.

As for this blog, Sarah Chilcott and the team will continue to keep you abreast of events and you can be sure at the very least of a significant improvement in grammar.

For those that wish to keep in touch you’ll find me over on LinkedIn.

All my very best


A flying start to 2015

35,652 Online Planning Applications passed through the Planning Portal cogs and wheels in January 2015, a whopping 14.6% increase on January 2014.

If you keep up submitting at that level for the remainder of the year we’ll easily process half a million app’s in a single year!


I couldn’t let the milestone pass without comment now could I!

As of the past weekend there’s now been more half a million views of the blog since I launched it back in 2009, in which time I have published 465 posts, which have received around 3,000 comments and attracted more than 1,000 followers.

Commercial matters have meant that I’ve needed to keep a lower than customary (for me) profile of late however I hope to ramp up the content and interactivity in the very near future.

It’s an exciting time for the Portal and I’m looking forward to getting into lively debates about the our new direction and all the good stuff it will bring.

Thanks for reading.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,314 other followers

%d bloggers like this: