Planning and Architecture

Improved ePlanning portal launches

January 13, 2016 by 4 Comments | Category ePlanning

A new eplanning system, launched January 13. 2016, will save applicants and local authorities almost £6m a year.

The revamped version of ePlanning Scotland – now – lets individuals, architects and agents submit and manage planning applications online, saving millions. The upgrade will help secure the long term future of the service and enable expansion into other online services, including building standards later this year.

The portal could see savings of around £241 per application for applicants and agents, and £110 per application for local planning authorities, compared to paper applications.

Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil said:

“ePlanning is in its seventh year, and over the past six years we’ve seen the portal save almost £40m for local authorities and applicants.

“We have made great progress since the portal was first introduced in 2009, with 70 per cent of planning applications now made online – double the original forecast. The new service will continue to provide access to the planning system in a way customers want, delivering a high quality consistent service, saving time and money.”

Mary Stewart, from Fife Council planning division, said:

“Over the past six years the ePlanning portal has brought significant benefits for users of Fife’s planning service by making it cheaper, easier and quicker to submit planning applications. Fife is keen to embrace the improvements and additional functions the new portal will bring, and to work with all of our customers to ensure they maximise these benefits.”

David Blaikie, of David Blaikie Architects, said:

“The architectural industry now operates virtually exclusively in the digital world, with all of the efficiencies in information production and communications it has to offer.

“It is therefore important that agencies and the profession interacts and follows this lead to extend these efficiencies into the wider industry. ePlanning has led the way and as a practice, we find the service easy and effective to use. We look forward to the introduction of the new service, which will continue and improve this service providing greater efficiencies for applicants and agents.”

The service will also include new mapping tools, as well as additional forms and greater administration rights for each local authority to allow better management of applications. The service is operated by the Scottish Government on behalf of all Scottish planning authorities.

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  • Ian Cowan says:

    Thanks, planningarchitecture. Is it the case that until now, planning authorities could only accept paper applications, then had to scan and upload everything to their own e-planning pages? That would explain the often random and always inconsistent way in which the numerous constituent documents are uploaded by different authorities, making it difficult for members of the public to view planning applications and locate what they are looking for – especially in the absence of an index. It sounds as if this initiative might help to address that, by providing a single portal for all applications. Is this then linked to each authority’s own e-planning portal? Will members of the public looking at a planning application come through the local authority portal and end up looking at yours?

    • planningarchitecture says:

      Thanks for your comment Ian. For around the last 7 years all authorities in Scotland have used the ePlanning.Scotland service. This has resulted in planning applications being submitted electronically and delivered directly into each authority’s systems. Applicants have had the option to choose to submit paper applications if they wish but currently around 70% of applications in Scotland are submitted electronically.

      Once the applicant has submitted their application through ePlanning.Scotland it would be down to each authority how they would handle their process from then.

      The new portal facilitates the same service. Applicants will be able to submit an application directly into the authorities back office systems. The processing of the application is then down to the authority themselves. Members of the public only have access to view planning application via each authority’s website. There is no link from the authorities back office systems or their website back to the portal.

  • Ian Cowan says:

    Will this service be available to members of the public who wish to track applications and make representations? Or is it exclusively for developers?

    • planningarchitecture says:

      Ian, the service is open to anyone wishing to submit a planning application and associated forms. The service however, does not facilitate any applications tracking or have the ability to make representation. These are done via each authorities own website or other authorities systems.