Headlines: July 8th, 2009

A best practice guide issued to English local councils is aiming to strengthen links between the Government’s Planning Portal and planning authorities. The Portal, which was launched in 2002, offers local authorities tools designed to save time, money and effort in dealing with daily planning inquiries and it has seen as having played a key role in supporting authorities’ moves toward electronic working.

The new Planning Portal Best Practice Guide has been created as a toolkit to offer advice on how planning authorities can reduce the amount of time staff spend on general inquiries by using click-through links to the Planning Portal website. This is expected to deliver significant time and cost savings by allowing website users to educate themselves on aspects of the planning process.

The objective is to make free, high level planning information available one click away from a local authority’s website. It is also expected that this will increase traffic to council sites by increasing the quality of the information available.

Chris Kendall, the Director of the Portal said: “The guide has been introduced to help outline the main benefits that can be achieved by simply implementing effective linking practices between Local Planning Authorities and the Planning Portal. Many LPAs are already reaping these benefits and are providing a higher quality of service, saving money, time and effort as a result.”

Chris Dowell from Coventry City Council said the development plan section of the Portal allowed easy access to the council’s plan documents and policies and he added: “The application submission area has been a great success and the number of users is increasing all the time.”