Once the improvements are completed, residents and businesses will see planning applications being registered online more quickly and will be able to view details of all consultation responses.
There will also be a new system which will allow people to track the progress of a planning application, simply by setting up a username and password.
The revamp of the planning website is the latest in a range of measures being launched by the department to improve the service it offers to customers.
Other improvements have included a decision to recruit two new temporary planning officers to help deal with the department’s workload and the launch of a new, faster, six-week householder service to help cut application decision times.
While the improvements take place, the planning application search facility on the council’s website will not be updated for three weeks. During this time, planning applications already in progress will be available for viewing online as usual, but no new applications received by the council or updates to existing files will be uploaded.
The online planning application search facility will be frozen on Monday 7th October and transferred to the new system on Monday 28th October. Shortly after this transfer has taken place, the council’s website will be linked to the new planning system and will show full details of all new planning applications registered, alongside the older applications.
Once the new system has gone live, consultation letters will be sent out to customers so they can view new planning application details online. The changes to the planning application search facility will not reduce the amount of time people will have to comment on applications.
During this same three-week period, the council’s Land Charges and Enforcement services will be implementing a new IT system to deliver greater efficiencies and an improved service for customers. However, to allow for these improvements to be made, there will be delays to these teams’ processes.
Planning team manager, Matthew Williams, said: “The implementation of this new system will lead to an improved, more user-friendly service for our customers and will improve processes for staff.
“Unfortunately, the planning application search facility on the council’s website will have to remain static for three weeks to allow these improvements to be made – this is unavoidable with an upgrade of this size.”
Nigel Woollcombe-Adams, portfolio holder for built environment, said: “The council’s planning team is working hard to improve the service it provides to customers and these changes to the website and related systems are the latest measure in a raft of improvements.
“I would like to apologise in advance for any inconvenience or disruption that is caused during this three-week period, but I’m confident that our customers will find it a case of short-term pain for long-term gain.”
Anybody with questions about the changes to the website can contact the planning team on 0300 303 8588.