Headlines: December 3rd, 2001

Development work has started on a project to allow anyone applying for planning permission to submit, track and view their applications over the Internet.Contracts worth 4.2m pounds have been awarded to IBM and Unisys/Fabasoft to develop the Planning Portal and an electronic Planning Casework Service for the Planning Inspectorate.

Potential savings for people applying for planning permission, and for local authorities, are claimed as high as 40m pounds over the first seven years.

The Planning Portal Programme is being developed to give better service to the more than half a million people who apply for planning permission each year. Nearly half of these involve applications for ordinary householders to alter their homes, and the system is promised to be quicker, more open and accessible. It will be introduced next year.

The Casework Service will be introduced in phases over the Summer of 2002. It will be an electronic handling and tracking facility to automate the links between the Planning Inspectorate and applicants/appellants, local planning authorities, and others such as DTLR.

It will provide direct access via the Internet to progress and decision information on the 20,000 or so cases handled by Planning Inspectorate each year.

Details of the Planning Portal Programme can be found on its own web site: www.planningportalprogramme.gov.uk .