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Local Authority Bulletin - August 2018

Published: Tuesday, 28th August 2018

This month's bulletin includes info on imminent IP address and URL changes, our Financial Transaction Service, 1App question updates, where you can find us this Autumn and more...


The following will take place on the 30 September and will require you to make the necessary changes in order to prevent disruption:

Urgent - Please forward this message to your IT department

Web service IP address change impacting 1App connectors

We have been informed by Microsoft that they will be changing the IP address of the web app that hosts the Planning Portal web service. This web service is the software from which your back office system receives all your planning applications.

The IP address is changing on 30 September 2018. Unfortunately, this change is not specific to the Planning Portal and we therefore have no say in when or if this change is made.

We recommend that you use the domain name (https://connect.planningportal.co.uk/planningportal/messagerouter) rather than the IP address to connect your back office 1App connector to the Planning Portal web service. If you use the domain name, you will avoid being affected by any IP address changes.

However, we are aware that some authorities are using the IP address to whitelist the web service.

Therefore it is vital that if you are using the IP address to access or whitelist the web service, you ensure that your IT team add the following IP address by 30 September: The new IP address is 168.63.53.98

If this isn’t done by September 30, you won’t receive applications via your 1App connector and will need to manually download them from the website until the IP address has been updated.

If you need any assistance with this change, please contact our Support team on 0333 323 4589 or at support@planningportal.co.uk.

Planningportal.gov.uk URLs

As we have mentioned previously, The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) have been supporting redirects from our historical planningportal.gov.uk site to our current site, but this support is due to be withdrawn imminently. It is therefore vital you ensure that all your links to our site have been updated, otherwise these links will become broken.

These changes will need to be made to both your back office links and any links included in your site content.

What you need to do:

As well as updating your connector as per the information above, you should also make sure that your website links are correct.

To help you update the links on your website to the Planning Portal, we have created a planning links guide for local authorities.

Using these links will ensure customers will continue to be signposted to each Planning Portal service and have a positive experience using our site and yours.

Access the links guide

If your local authority continues to provide individual links to each of the planning application forms, a note on updating them can be accessed here.

If you fail to change the links on your site, your users will be unable to access planning application services and guidance which may result in more calls to you.


Last month we announced that our new Financial Transaction Service will launch in September of this year. We are now pleased to confirm the official launch date for the service will be Monday 10 September 2018.

The service will be completely managed by the Planning Portal. From 10th September, we will process fees for all planning applications that come through our system, meaning less time spent chasing and reconciling planning fees for local authorities. Agents will be able to focus on activities which generate income and LPAs will be able to get on with processing applications.

Over the past month we have been overwhelmed with positive feedback from users who are optimistic and excited about the forthcoming changes.

We will now send applications and payments to the relevant local authorities together, as soon as we have confirmed successful payment. This will keep the process rapid, succinct and tidy, preventing problems which arise from missing information. It will also allow authorities to start validating planning applications as soon as they get them.

There will be a per-application charge for the service. This will be payable by the applicant on any application submitted via the Planning Portal which attracts a fee. Applications where no fee is payable will be sent directly to the local authority with no service charge applied.

As well as covering the cost of the additional staff needed to manage this service, the service charge will cover direct costs such as banking and finance fees. The remainder of the income will be used to improve the planning application service and to ensure that our services, advice, guidance and support continue to be available and up-to-date.

Please note: In order to prepare our service for the forthcoming changes, the planning application service (1App) will be unavailable from 17:00 on Friday 7 September until 09:00 on Monday 10 September.

Please find our FAQs below:

Local Planning Authority FAQs


Last month we announced some imminent updates to our online application service.

Due to implementation delays, these changes are now due to take effect in mid-September.

You can find a summary of the forthcoming changes below:

Application question content update

  • Authority Employee/Member - The wording of this question is being updated to account for the changes made by MHCLG. The information requirements of this question remain as is.
  • Residential/Dwelling Units - A workaround is being put in place to allow users to provide the correct details in regard to housing categories and dwelling types.
  • Details of relevant ‘permission in principle’ on applications for ‘technical details consent’ - Full Planning Permission applications for technical details consent require applicants to provide details of the permission in principle that is being relied on. The wording of the ‘description of the proposal’ question is being updated to reflect this requirement.

Update to fee exemptions

The more general exemption in regard to Article 4 directions and planning conditions that was removed in January as part of the changes to fees is being reworded and re-introduced to specifically refer to the Regulation 6 exemption that is still in effect.

Separately, the exemption in regard to the first resubmission of an advertising application has been reworded to better convey the legislative restrictions that apply to it.


We are pleased to announce that we will be attending three prestigious LABC events this autumn.

LABC’s President Reception

Firstly, we will be at LABC’s President Reception in early October. The reception will provide an opportunity for leaders from across the planning and building sectors to meet with the new president of LABC, Dave Sharp, who is due to take on the role in December from Chris Griffith-Jones.

We look forward to meeting with those of you in attendance for an evening of productive and insightful discussion.

LABC’s Delivering Excellence in Social Housing Conference

This long-awaited conference pledges to discuss current issues within the social housing sphere. A schedule of expert speakers will tackle these subjects head-on, providing a diverse range of knowledge and insight on the most pressing topics facing the industry today, such as fire safety.

The five-hour event will be held on 30 October 2018, at the Docklands building in Canary Wharf, London.

You can find out more about the event and book your ticket via LABC’s website.

LABC’s Building Excellence awards

Later in the year we will also be present at LABC’s Building Excellence awards. These are broad accolades which recognise outstanding achievements within building. There are twelve awards in total, including ‘Best local builder or traditional craftsperson’, ‘Best social or affordable new housing development’ and ‘LABC Construction Professional of the year’.

The awards ceremony will be held at the Park Plaza, Westminster Bridge, London, on Friday 9 November. You can book your place for the ceremony here.


The following article is provided by RTPI’s ‘The Planner’ magazine:

1st July 2018 marked the 70th anniversary of legislation which represented a seismic shift in the way in which land in England can be used and developed – the Town and Country Planning Act 1947. This momentous Act came into force on the "appointed day" of 1st July 1948. It was proposed and steered though Parliament by the then minister of town and country planning, Lewis Silkin MP – and needless to say we are very proud of the central role played by the founding father of this firm in settling the framework of our planning regime, principles of which survive to this day. Town planning requirements were initially captured within the Housing Acts, as a natural adjunct to improvements to housing.

However, there was a recognition that a comprehensive planning and building response was needed to address the devastation caused by the Second World War - hence the previous (limited) town planning provisions in the Housing Acts were repealed, and the 1947 Act brought forward a brand new approach to the use and physical development of land. The essence of new regime was twofold:

1. To introduce local development plans, prepared by local authorities and approved centrally, to give direction to future development (forward planning)

2. No development of land (building or change of use) unless authorised by planning permission.

These two principles endure today, despite extensive change in context, and it's a credit to Lewis Silkin's vision that this is the case. It has not all been plain sailing, of course. Endless legislative amendment has been made to the Act in an effort to refine the detail. One particular and recent change in approach is that promoted by the current government in the Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017, whereby greater emphasis is given to "neighbourhoods" in the development planning system (which, it might be argued, results as much as anything from a political need to demonstrate the esteem in which the "neighbourhood" is held). In contrast, Lewis Silkin's approach, as he explained in the second reading Parliamentary debate on the proposed Act, was for development plans to be co-ordinated by those at county or county borough level, in that way undertaken by "a responsible authority, equipped with fully qualified staff, and possessing the necessary financial resources".

Lewis Silkin's comment here was aimed specifically at the production of development plans. However, what is striking is the way in which Lewis Silkin, in talking about the development plan production system, hit the nail very hard on the head when he spoke of the adequately resourced local authority. This is a fundamental point which applies across the entirety of the planning regime, from forward planning to consenting, enforcement to heritage management, and Lewis Silkin's comment is remarkably prescient, with far wider application than originally envisaged.

It is local planning authorities’ forever diminishing resources which leads to the planning system being slower and less proactive and reactive than it should be. The many changes to both the primary and secondary legislation, combined with inadequately considered public statements and tweaking of policy, has led to a system that is undoubtedly complex, but planning authorities cannot be expected to operate efficiently if they are under resourced, irrespective of the nuts and bolts of the law and policy which they must apply and within whose scope they must work.

Lewis Silkin introduced the Bill's second reading in 1947, saying that it would "begin a new era in the life of this country, an era in which human happiness, beauty and culture will play a greater part in its social and economic life than they have done before." It seems that these basic principles, so eloquently put by Lewis Silkin in 1947, are needed as much today, if not more so, in the face of the rapid and significant change in all quarters – economic, social, technical and environmental.

It is only right that Lewis Silkin's achievement in promoting and securing the enactment of the 1947 Act, upon which our current planning regime still rests, should be recognised and celebrated on this its 70th anniversary. We at the law firm which bears Lewis Silkin’s name are proud to continue the tradition of supporting clients through the often complex planning regime with (we hope) the clarity and pragmatism which our founding father so wished the system would express.

Douglas Ainsley, The Planner