Warrington Council has upgraded its online planning system. Credit: via Warrington Council

Warrington rejigs online planning system

The council hopes the new planning portal will make it easier to find and monitor applications, as well as improve planning officers’ workflow.

Hundreds of thousands of reports, decisions, responses and applications have been transferred from the old system to this new one, which can be accessed at online.warrington.gov.uk/planning/index.html.

The council said the new system would allow planning officers to be more efficient when working remotely. The council also said it had put measures into place to shorten the time spent waiting for a decision on an application.

Those familiar with planning portals across the North West will note the resemblance the Warrington system has to the one used by Liverpool City Council.

Cllr Hitesh Patel, Warrington Council’s cabinet member for environment, housing and public protection, thanked the public for being patient as the new system prepared for launch.

“Everyone who uses our planning system can now look forward to a more accessible, efficient and up-to-date experience,” he said.

Patel also extolled the virtues of the new system.

“It will bring real benefits to applicants and agents, who will be able to much more easily access information and monitor the progress of applications on a self-serve basis,” he said.

“The new system supports our work to provide efficient and responsive planning services which are better equipped to deal with the huge number of planning applications we receive.”

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I was about to comment on what great news this was – until I realised they have switched to the same operating system Liverpool recently installed.

As a planning consultant, I cannot put into words how utterly terrible the system is. Even if it wasn’t full of bugs, the system is inept. You enter a postcode and you might get some results, try the first line of the address (which for some reason you need to enter in the “site description” section rather than an “address section” and some applications will show, but not necessarily the same applications that showed when you entered the postcode. Enter both and often nothing shows.

Not to mention there’s no map!

Why every LPA doesn’t use the Idox Solutions ‘Simple Search’ system is beyond me.

By GrumpyPlanner

Why can’t they just use the same as all the local authority websites that work? Can’t be difficult.

By ChesneyT

Looks like its designed to make applications difficult to find, perhaps to prevent residents from raising their legitimate concerns.

By Anonymous

The new system seems worse than the old! I can’t find my application at all by entering the first line of the address or the postcode, but if I put in the application number it comes up. I suspect it is overly sensitive to commas and upper and lower case, which is not user friendly at all, especially if you want to search a particular site and don’t already know the application number.

By Anonymous

The new system is abysmal and far worse than the previous one – its taken almost 7 weeks and still not fully implemented. Multiple search options but none produce any relevant reults and the most recent application on there is from 17 May (so I assume the ‘thousands’ transferred must be historical ones). Still uploading 1 document per page so each application has multiple rows – impossible for a lay person to navigate and they clealry didn’t pilot the system with the general public. Why they had to go for bargain basement solution as opposed to Idox is beyond me but then as someone from down South once said to me ‘Warrington Council is not known for being forward thinking’.

By Sally Kenzie

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