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Architectural Bulletin - March 2019

Published: Tuesday, 26th March 2019

1App content improvements, Redefining the shape of local government – Introduction of five new Councils, Invalid planning applications - survey. And more news...


In our bid to improve even the smallest of details of our online planning application forms (1App), we have deployed a set of content updates which went live on the Planning Portal on 19 March 2019.

Many of the changes made are to improve our help text and questions. For our users, the main change you will notice will be to the completion status on the application overview screen.

The completion statuses have been re-titled to better match the amended workflow introduced by the payment service.

This should provide you with a more accurate impression of the status of a draft application. The updated statuses are:

  • Fill in forms
  • Provide documents
  • Calculate fees
  • Choose payment type
  • Final check
  • Pay and submit

Look out for further improvements to the service which will be communicated in the coming weeks on our blog.

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On the 1 April 2019, five new councils are being created to replace 15 existing councils across Dorset, Somerset and Suffolk following  approval by the government last year.

In Somerset and Suffolk there are three pairs of non-metropolitan districts councils merging to create single larger entities. In Dorset, the county council and its districts along with two current unitaries are merging into two new unitary councils to cover all of Dorset.

These changes will be reflected on the Planning Portal but the only real difference that applicants will notice is the change to the council names. Applications can continue to be submitted and will be received by the new authorities in the usual way.

Please note that the planning and building control registration systems for both the new Suffolk authorities will be offline between 27 and 31 March 2019 as they introduce new IT systems to prepare for the formation of the new councils. They will be unable to acknowledge, register or issue decisions on any applications during this period. Applications submitted during this time will be processed in the week commencing 1 April 2019. Please accept their apologies for any inconvenience caused.

New councils 2019


At the Planning Portal, we are always working towards minimising validation delays. Over recent years we have conducted research in partnership with agents and local authorities to help us understand more about the issue of invalidation.

This research has highlighted some of the main reasons behind invalid applications and has led to the launch of ReQuestaPlan, our compliant site location and block plan tool, and more recently our application payment service. It has also helped us to improve the advice and guidance we give to customers submitting applications, bringing down the number of invalid applications across the country.

However, we are always striving to improve our service. 

With this in mind, we’ve designed a short survey to help us capture data on applications submitted by your organisation that may have experienced a validation delay. The information you provide will help improve our system and achieve greater efficiencies for all involved in the process. The survey should take around 15 minutes to complete.

Complete the survey

The feedback will be collated, analysed and put into a report that we will share with agents and those that regularly submit applications. We have also sent a similar survey to local authorities. This will allow us to evaluate feedback from all those involved in the application process to then create a complete end-to-end report.

If you require any further information or any assistance in completing the survey, please contact communications@planningportal.co.uk.


Building Design’s Architect of the Year Awards are back for 2019, celebrating the best examples of talent and innovation within the Architecture world over the past 12 months.

This year BD have seen a ‘record number of entries’, making the competition more fierce than ever. Earlier this month they announced the finalists for each category.

Award categories include:

  • Housing Architect of the Year
  • Individual House Architect of the Year
  • Infrastructure Architect of the Year
  • Interior Architect of the Year
  • Public Building Architect of the Year
  • Public Realm Architect of the Year

As well as many more. You can find a full list of categories and finalists over on Building Design’s website.

The prestigious ceremony will be held on Wednesday 1 May. It promises to be as grand and entertaining as ever; not only the perfect opportunity to celebrate great architecture, but also a chance to network and learn more about the industry itself.

The Planning Portal will be in attendance, so if you’re going to be there please do come over and say hello.

You can book your table for the evening on Building Design’s website.