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Architectural Bulletin - January 2019

Published: Monday, 28th January 2019

New ReQuestaPlan features launched, Content focus - Advertising opportunities on the Planning Portal, Government consult on fibre broadband provisions for new homes, and more stories...

Following the recent updates to the ReQuestaPlan website, TerraQuest and the Planning Portal are pleased to announce some additional updates made to the online mapping website.

Users of ReQuestaPlan now have access to advanced drawing tools for creating site plans. These functions include:

  • Measurement lines – to accurately draw your extensions or proposed development
  • Custom shapes – chose between rectangle, circle and other shapes to illustrate your proposed development
  • Add real environmental image features, such as trees, fences, bin stores, hedge rows and car parking.

These additional features can be found under a new button, next to your property boundaries, as shown in the screenshot below:


These updates will allow you to create site and block plans quickly and easily; prices start at just £8 for a site plan and £10.50 for a block plan.

View the full price list or visit for more information on the improvements.

Please contact our Service Desk if you have any queries, by emailing

Here at the Planning Portal we have a diverse range of advertising and sponsorship opportunities.

Our site, which sees around 500,000 unique visits every month, holds adverts on almost every page. This includes our interactive pages, such as our interactive house and our mini guides.

We also feature adverts in our regular email circulars – our newsletter, which is sent to over 110,000 opted-in subscribers every week, and our Architectural and Local Authority bulletins, which are sent monthly to over 21,000 opted-in, targeted subscribers.

These advertising spaces are available to any company which has a relevant service or product to promote.

There are also opportunities for you to supply us with useful and interesting sponsored content, both for our site and our newsletters.

With so many options, we’re sure we can offer an advertising solution which meets the needs of your organisation.

If you are interested in advertising with the Portal, please visit our site to find out more about our opportunities.

Alternatively, please contact

The government is considering making fibre broadband connection compulsory for all new homes.

A consultation on the issue, which closed in December 2018, asked for feedback on three main proposals;

  • The updating of Approved Document Part R to make it compulsory that all new builds are built to support gigabit-capable networks;
  • The imposing of a ‘duty to connect’ provision on network operators;
  • Mandating that developers and network operators should share the cost of this work.

The outcome will be available soon.

You can find out more about the consultation by visiting

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

Urban characterisation can help to resolve the planning struggles, explains Nairita Chakraborty.

There’s an unprecedented number of densification programmes across big cities alongside new planned urban extensions to existing smaller towns. In London, larger ‘opportunity areas’ are introducing new urban characters near the established neighbourhoods, often at what seems (to residents) too fast a pace.

In delivering such schemes, how do we resolve that age-old planning struggle and balance the needs of developers and local communities?

Historic England has been promoting character-based approaches to development for some time. Urban characterisation studies are a useful way of understanding an area’s context and providing design guidelines on development opportunities.

The NPPF and the London Plan require developments to respect local character and context, defined by area-based assessments. This design-led approach makes local context a key part of the process. The challenge is to ensure that the policies deliver viable schemes.

A design-led approach prompts a much-required ‘bottom-up’ method, making local character and context an essential part of the plan process.

Haringey in London has seen huge development pressure; Tottenham is identified as part of the mayor’s housing zone. Undertaking a borough characterisation study as part of the local plan helped us to identify areas of intensification, location of tall buildings, and where urban regeneration and townscape improvements could be targeted.

"How do we resolve that age-old planning struggle and balance the needs of developers and local communities?”

The analysis was used for greater insights into the kinds of interventions that were appropriate for the physical characteristics of the place and its social and cultural issues, informing the site allocation plan.

But there was no way for the study to consider the commercial viability of the identified sites which questioned the deliverability of the corresponding design and density guidelines. This was a continual battle with the developers bringing forward the identified sites, almost all with much higher densities and heights than anticipated. It also didn’t consider economic context or the timeline of deliverability.

One way to overcome this would be to undertake an economic viability review at the site allocation stage. But such studies require specialised urban design skills, which are scarce.

Most planning policy comes down to viability, and the need to build for realistic commercial gains becomes a priority to the detriment of the character of a locality. Urban characterisation studies should help towards finding the middle ground.

Nairita Chakraborty MRTPI is an associate, heritage, at Iceni Projects and sits on Historic England’s advisory committee.

Nairita Chakraborty, The Planner

Architect @ Work

The Planning Portal will be exhibiting at ‘Architect @ Work’ UK on 31 January 2019. The event will be held at The Old Truman Brewery in London (levels G1 and T1). Come and visit us in booth 47, to find out what’s new from the Planning Portal and discover how you can save money on your planning maps, using our ReQuestaPlan service.

‘Architect @ Work’ has long been an international forum for exploring the most cutting-edge ideas within the built industries. This year’s London event will focus on the phrase ‘future-proof’; placing concepts which prioritise sustainability in the spotlight and stoking important conversations about the future of the trade. It promises to be a thought-provoking two days and a must-attend for all those involved in the sector.

BD Architect of the Year Awards

Building Design’s Architect of the Year Awards is back for 2019 and we are happy to announce ourselves as official sponsors of the event.

The Awards are only open to UK-based firms and the deadline for entries has been extended to Friday 1 February 2019.

The Architect of the Year Awards is uniquely significant in that it honours practices based on their entire body of work throughout the year. We are pleased to provide support to such an important event, which not only bestows well deserved credit, but also inspires everybody within the industry to be bold and think innovatively.

The awards will take place on Wednesday 1 May, at Westminster Park Plaza Hotel in London. It offers fine food, entertainment and also an important opportunity to network within the sector.  You can register your interest here to receive a notification when the tickets for the ceremony go on sale.