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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

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    • CommentAuthorgoodevans
    • CommentTimeMay 15th 2019
    It feels like the Planning Portal is a government site - referenced from all over the place etc etc. In fact it is a private concern.

    Since last year they have been adding their own charge (£20 inc VAT) to any application that requires payment to the LA and you pay them not the LA - they pass on the fee to the LA - with no option to arrange payment to the LA direct.

    The only alternative is to fill in the forms by hand, send the forms into the LA then pay over the phone or by cheque. A time consuming and error prone process.

    It feels wrong - the LA benefits by having an electronic system handle forms and payment - I feel any fees should come out of the application fee - not added on. And I wonder if the API that the planning portal uses to get payments to the LA's is public - or is the planning portal in a monopoly position.

    I'm just having a gripe - It just doesn't feel right.
    • CommentTimeMay 15th 2019
    I've never got on with Planning Portal - slow, cumbersome procedure, always waiting for non-standard situations to trip up the process.

    Very far friom certain or efficient.

    I always nowadays email my applications, Planning and Building Regs, direct to the LA, incl scanned application form - no problem. Much quicker to go straight to the familiar tickboxes on a paper copy, than step through web-pages that have to be carefully read all over, to be sure. Payment by bank xfer, or by card by phone - what's the problem?

    The final blow for me is that you can no longer print off an application form, perhaps to send to the client for a final OK before signing and clicking Submit.

    Planning Portal used to be a rough-edged site steadily improving itself - now it's a nasty joke. Who ever thought they could make money out of such a service?
    • CommentAuthorgoodevans
    • CommentTimeMay 15th 2019
    I think in your case the official forms would be a comfort - and being paper can be customisable for one-off situations.

    For me I had already gone through the process before I saw the £20 fee. Wish I had have backtracked at that point and form filled.

    It looks like PortalPlanQuest Limited is about £3m down as of the last accounts so perhaps they will need the £16.66 per application. On the last accounts 75% of the shares are owned by Mears Group PLC which is by no means small.

    However Mears claimed that 85% of planning applications are made through the portal (Jan 2015) and there are around 100,000 applications per quarter so maybe it wont be long before it's in profit.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeMay 15th 2019 edited
    It's possible the Planning Portal still accept cheques...


    "For larger fees, bank transfers will be available and we will still accept payments by cheque as a fall-back option to cover existing processes. For these methods, the payment will need to be confirmed by us before the application is submitted to the Local Authority."

    ...so looks like there would be a delay while the cheque clears.

    … and they might still charge the fee?
    • CommentTimeMay 15th 2019
    Posted By: goodevansIt feels like the Planning Portal is a government site - referenced from all over the place etc etc. In fact it is a private concern.

    Doh! Why have I never noticed that? It says it is a 'joint venture' so perhaps some excuse but not much.
    • CommentAuthorwookey
    • CommentTimeMay 15th 2019
    Yeah. I was rather miffed to see the LA telling me that online was the easiest way to apply, with no cost, but that in fact that's out of date and now it's £16.67+VAT. I was sufficiently annoyed that I printed it all off in quadruplicate and sent it in by paper. But that is a PITA. I was already annoyed because I resent paying £206 for the privilege of asking for permission for EWI (which is really just a formality, but only PD if it looks the same after you've finished). Doesn't feel much like the climate emergency we've just declared (including Cambridge City council), does it?

    Interesting that FT sends them in by email. I wonder if our authority does in fact take email applications, but just keeps it quiet?

    At least I noticed before filling it all out online. And why £20? How much does it actually cost to run a website with some forms to fill in and a list of local authority emails/bank accounts? It does seem like a service councils should be providing anyway, and doing it collectively is clearly efficient, but charging £20 for every single application - that's quite a lot of money.

    Time to set up a rival I guess, and just charge a pound.
    • CommentAuthorgravelld
    • CommentTimeMay 16th 2019 edited
    Not planning, but I was pretty shocked by the cost of a building notice for windows and structural support - almost £500!!?
    Most LPA's that I deal with will accept email applications.
    You can usually download their own LPA headed forms from their website.
    Pdf's can usually be filled in electronically and then saved.
    No need to print out 4 copies of everything, with all that paper.
    I try and work paperless as much as possible.

    Pay the fee over the phone or by bank transfer, or send them a cheque.

    Some LPA's are setting up their own Portal-type systems so that you can apply online directly to them.
    • CommentTimeMay 17th 2019
    Posted By: gravelldNot planning, but I was pretty shocked by the cost of a building notice for windows and structural support - almost £500!!?

    B8 Replacement of windows, roof lights, roof windows or external glazed doors £168.00

    So what exactly is 'structural support'?
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeMay 18th 2019
    That will be new lintels or frames that include structural elements.
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