Digital platform updated to make site more mobile-friendly and provide support in Welsh language
The Planning Portal has relaunched its website and underlying digital platform to make it easier to use from mobile devices, and to provide support in English and Welsh.
The move comes with the news that the site, run under a joint venture between the Department for Communities and Local Government and geographic data specialist TerraQuest, will provide the online planning application service to the Welsh Government from next year.
Sarah Chilcott, managing director of the Planning Portal, said the website redesign follows an 8% increase in online applications from 2015-16.
“An average of 10% of the traffic to our website is from tablets and 22% from mobile, so the need to deliver a good experience to these visitors is clear,” she said. “As part of our commitment to accessibility, we also needed to provide multi-language support for our Welsh users.”
The portal includes a new service named Workspaces to help teams collaborate on planning applications. One team member can begin an application process and anyone with permission can provide input, whereas previously the originator of the project would have had to collate and enter the information manually.
Chilcott added that there is now a better focus on key user tasks, with streamlined functions for local planning authorities to work with the portal.
Fortnightly CMS updates
The new site was built on Jadu Continuum CMS, which is updated every two weeks to avoid less frequent but more disruptive updates, and designed by Spacecraft Digital. The technology behind the application process was supplied by Civica.
Announcing the deal to provide the service to the Welsh Government, Chilcott said: “It also provides a national platform for us to deliver additional services to Wales, such as our recent building control application service. These will be delivered outside of this contract in our mission to continue to transform planning and building.”
The Planning Portal provides information and services to anyone involved in the planning process, working in partnership with every local authority in England and Wales. It now has 140,000 registered users making an average of 2,000 applications per day.