Skip to main content

Commenting on planning applications

This prototype has been developed to show how a future digital service could assist community groups and members of the public in both finding out about and having their say on current planning applications of interest to them. It is based on thinking around improving inclusiveness in planning, and allowing communities further opportunities to help shape their place, using simple digital tools to do this. These issues have been highlighted in our user research.

Who is it for: 

  • Planning authorities
  • Communities
  • Consultees

What it does: 

  • Shows how digital could help communities have a greater understanding of what is happening in their area and how they can get involved to help shape their place.
  • Shows how a single online system could assist planning authorities in tracking comments made on specific 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.

Straightforward commenting

Key features of this prototype:

  • Account using signed-in information
    Shows that if a people has signed up for the service they could skip personal questions about themselves to enable a quick commenting experience. Sign-up would be optional to allow for one-time commenters.
  • User friendly process
    Designed to look familiar and approachable for people to engage.
  • Easy to understand applications
    In our finding and viewing sites prototype we demonstrated how applications could be easier to understand to enable more informed comments.


Key features of this prototype:

  • Helping people articulate their comment
    Choosing from a list of legitimate planning concerns people could help people better articulate their concerns or support for a proposal.
  • Categorised comments
    Categorising comments could make a planner’s task of tracking and analysing comments more straightforward, and focus in on key concerns.
  • Detailed comments
    Having sub-categories and allowing further written comments could help people to go into more detail about their concerns or support. This could also allow planners to effectively drill down into comments for more information.
  • Comment upvoting
    Allowing people to upvote others comments could help to reduce the number of unique and repetitive comments, and streamline the analysis process for planners.

Help for planners

Key features of the prototypes:

  • Comments analysis
    Categorisation of comments could help in the analysis of themes and topics for the planner.
  • Unique comments
    Having comments shown in full alongside upvoting totals could also assist planners find a specific comment.
  • Comments dashboard
    Having a dashboard could bring together all responses and comments into a single, easy-to-read place. 

Draft NPF4 logo

The Draft National Planning Framework 4

Read the draft on Take part in the consultation

Last Updated: 23 Nov 2021