Reduce the number of Invalid Planning Applications you are receiving

Kevin Buckthorpe, modified 1 Year ago.

Reduce the number of Invalid Planning Applications you are receiving

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The Reducing Invalid Planning Applications project came into being following a group of like-minded authorities individually recognizing they had a problem with invalid planning applications. We discovered on average the rate of invalid applications was 50% of all applications received with some going around the system up to eight or nine times. The cost and time in resourcing this issue and frustration caused for both sides – applicant and council – is understandably significant.


The current system is confusing and difficult for applicants to navigate. It requires applicants to reference multiple websites and guidance in their attempts to submit a valid application.


So, in the summer of 2019, five councils came together and formed one partnership to bid for MHCLG digital innovation funding. The main premise of the bid was to develop an online tool which would help applicants navigate the planning system more easily and give them a greater chance of submitting a planning application that would be successfully made valid on submission.


Working collaboratively, with our developers (Open Systems Lab) we have been working through an Alpha project, now into Beta, to develop a solution that will help applicants navigate what is a confusing and quite opaque system.


We’re focusing on Householders with a view to in future scaling up to other types of applications; and eventually – all application types!


In Alpha there were five partner councils and in Beta we’ve grown to six cover partners:


Lambeth (leading)

Buckinghamshire Council






We will be running engagement workshops in the coming months and were hoping you would be interested in attending!


The engagement workshops will be run by members of the core partner team and will aim to introduce and help other councils understand what issues they have with validation – establish if they too have a high invalid rate and whether the digital service we’re developing and designing could be the solution for them.

Lambeth’s project page for this can be found here:

And the partner website (to find out more) can be found here