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Architectural Bulletin - October 2019

Published: Tuesday, 29th October 2019

Update: Online prior notification forms, Planning Portal Conference: Discussion topics confirmed, Your experience of the Planning Portal and more stories...

You may have seen the announcement in September’s bulletin about the improvements to the 1APP online application service we are making.

One of the key improvements we are currently working on is the addition of the 16 missing ‘Prior Approval’ application types to the 1APP online application service for England, which includes the Larger Home Extension.

This has been requested by applicants and agents for some time who want a consistent, standard online process to submit all types of application to each authority nationally.

The project to implement this is well underway and we expect to start testing the development shortly and will be scheduled to ‘go live’ in November.

The prior approval changes are part of a wider programme of changes to the 1APP application service that will see enhancements and fixes made in response to user feedback, improving the existing question sets and validation to better capture responses and implement the Greater London Authority (GLA) requirements on additional question sets to some application types.

Further communications will be sent in our bulletins and published on the Planning Portal blog as the project progresses, along with an anticipated go live date.

With just over two weeks until the Planning Portal Conference 2019, we thought we would share the topics that we will be covering, some of which will have a major impact on planning and building in the future. As building designers it is imperative that you understand what this will mean for you. 

The Building Safety Programme, which was established to ensure the safety of residents in high-rise buildings, looks set to bring in fundamental changes to the planning process and building design. The government is looking to bring in new responsibilities, meaning more building safety compliance for planners and designers. Lorna Stimpson, CEO at LABC will share key information on the development of the programme and more detail about what this will mean for planners and architects as well as the role of local authorities. 

Lorna will then be joined by Adrian Dobson, Executive Director at RIBA, Peter Baker, Director HSE Building Safety Programme Response and Paul Timmins, Vice President at ACAI. This panel discussion on the Building Safety Programme will be chaired by Angus Law, Lecturer of Fire Safety Engineering at The University of Edinburgh. 

Following the Grenfell tragedy, this is a pertinent topic and it will be vitally important for architects and designers to stay abreast of developments. 

As technology continues to move at pace, more and more technologies can be used in planning and design. What does this mean for planning in the future? How can technology be used to benefit the planning system? Do local authorities have the budgets and skills to advance with new technology? Kevin Crawford, Chair of the Technical Standards Taskforce, moderates a panel discussion as we hear from suppliers in the market; PlanGrid, Esri/Landclan, Urbanist Architecture as well as Scott Alford from the Planning Portal who will discuss the advancement, challenges and benefits that new technologies will bring. 

For the full conference programme and to register to attend, visit

We really care about your experience of using the Planning Portal and would like to know if there are ways we can improve. We would really appreciate it if you could help us by taking a few minutes to give your feedback. Simply click on the link below for our short survey. 

Participate in this survery here. 

This should take you no more than five minutes to complete. Respondents will be entered into a prize draw and one lucky winner will receive a £100 Amazon voucher.

The national design guide sets out the characteristics of well-designed places and demonstrates what good design means in practice.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick launched a housebuilding design guide at the Conservative party conference in Manchester which will hold local councils to account over national standards.

Unveiling the guide, the party said 'there is no accepted national standard for the development of homes, only vague documents with little enforceable power. This new design guide will introduce a national standard for local authorities to adhere to.'

Jenrick said: “I am replacing the existing vague and outdated guidance with a brand-new national design guide. It will be produced with a more ambitious and firmer vision for better designed homes.

“This new design guide will have real clout. There will be a national standard for local authorities to adhere to but we recognise that what good likes like differs across England. So, for the first-time local authorities will be expected to design their own locally applicable guides in keeping with the national standard, which must deliver the quality of homes that we expect.”

A Written Ministerial Statement setting out the guide’s purpose and how it is set to be used will be unveiled shortly with the National Planning Policy Framework then expected to be updated to incorporate its proposals.

To access the guide, click here.

This article was originally published on the CIAT website

The Planning Portal are pleased to announce that ReQuestaPlan, a digital mapping tool developed by our parent company TerraQuest Solutions, is soon to feature multiple updates following customer feedback. This handy tool allows applicants to enhance online planning and building control applications with supporting, compliant location and block plans, starting from as little as £8 plus VAT. 

Different account types are available depending on our customers’ needs, with plans that are either invoiced monthly for regular professional users of the service, or a pay-as-you-need option for less frequent customers but still featuring the same professional tools.

We anticipate that the improvements to ReQuestaPlan will come into effect at the end of November. These updates will help to increase user functionality of the site, and include: 

  • the ability to edit and re-download a previously bought plan
  • the ability to add arrows
  • the ability to add Electric Charging Points
  • the ability to add a hatch pattern to shapes
  • a colour palette option for shapes 
  • the ability to rotate shapes and features directly on the map
  • 1:100 size map with DWG format
  • an A3 plan option.

These changes will not affect your existing ReQuestaPlan accounts in any way. 

Our users are confident in the service; take a look at feedback from current ReQuestaPlan customers below;


To find out more about ReQuestaPlan and how a professional account can offer additional benefits, call 0121 234 1300 today, or email