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Applying for planning permission

This prototype has been developed to show how applicants and agents could prepare and submit planning applications in the future. It is based on thinking around how the development management function could operate, taking what we’ve learned from users of the current eDevelopment service, and from feedback gathered in our user research.

Who is it for:

  • Applicants
  • Planning authorities
  • Developers

What it does:

  • Shows the potential for a streamlined application process for all parties, ensuring that the right information is provided at the right time.
  • The potential for having smarter and more dynamic questions through using data to guide the applicants through the process.
  • Shows how applicants could be better guided through the application process, to ultimately improve the quality of applications.

Informed by:

  • User research
  • eDevelopment service

These prototypes help to illustrate what change could look like. What ultimately is developed could look very different but they give an early opportunity to explore the future of planning.

Location information

Key features of this prototype:

  • Detailed location data
    Using location data from a shared cloud platform would enable a future system to identify properties of a location like if it's in a flood risk zone or a conservation area. This in turn would enable the system dynamically change questions in an application based upon data.
  • Links to Local Development Plans 
    Linking to a geospatial, digital Local Development Plan would enable the system to flag to applicants if their location sits within a particular area which might have unique location-specific policies.
  • Autogenerated location plan
    Location plans could be generated on a common mapping platform ensuring applicants and planners have the same information.​


Key features of this prototype:

  • Decision tree questions
    Each question could relate to the previous question. This would create a straightforward dynamic application form where only required information is provided.
  • One form
    A dynamically changing form based on location and description allows us to have one form which caters for many requirements. For example, instead of a Planning Permission form and a Listed Building application, a system could just ask the relevant questions from each form in one saving the user the need to complete two forms.
  • Validation
    Inline validation based on a digitally written Local Development Plan could help authorities to validate an application before it arrives at a planners desk.
  • Interactive guidance
    Having interactive guidance based on the location and description of work could assist and guide applicants along the way; for example, providing guidance for "do I need planning permission?".
  • Autocalculating fees
    Fees could be calculated automatically based on what the description provided in an application. There would no need to calculate the fee separately.


Key features of this prototype:

  • Stay up to date with application progress
    Applicants could track the progress of an application yourself as they would a delivery. No need to contact authorities directly to check at what stage an application is.
  • Add additional or revised documents
    Applicants could potentially make revisions to their application rather than submitting an additional form.
  • Comment and collaborate
    This could help applicants communicate with planners directly, and vice versa, on specific questions about an application or to clarify comments.

Last Updated: 23 Mar 2021