The UK government has announced the launch of two new apps that will ‘simplify the extension application process for homeowners’, thus making it easier for them to add value to their property.
As the much spoken about and celebrated stamp duty holiday comes to a close today, the government has launched two new web-based apps designed to make it easier and faster to ‘improve and extend’ their homes.
The apps were announced by Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, who describes them as ‘a step towards a fully digital planning system and will save time and money for developers, architects, and homeowners by speeding up and simplifying the application process’.
The statement goes on to say that many popular home improvements, such as kitchen extensions and loft conversions, don’t need full planning permission but are currently hindered by complicated rules. This is leading to many applications being labelled invalid, wasting time and money for everyone involved.
The apps will now be piloted within the three local councils that have designed them: Southwark and Lambeth in London, and Buckinghamshire. If successful, the apps will be launched nationwide.
App 1 – RIPA (Reducing Invalid Planning Applications)
It appears the first app is for homeowners themselves, along with the architects and developers they might appoint, and is designed to streamline the early stages of the planning application process.
The app ‘uses simple language and diagrams’ to guide users through a series of questions, designed to help determine whether or not the desired plans meet local and national requirements. From here, you can then apply within the app for the certificate needed to prove that the plans are ‘permitted development’, which means building can commence.
App 2 – BoPS (Back office Planning System).
The second app is for council planning officials. It will help them manage permitted development applications by tracking progress, storing information, and generally helping them to quickly and efficiently make the decisions required to help your project reach completion.
The apps have been described as ‘a first step towards the aim, outlined in last year’s ‘Planning for the future’ white paper, of replacing the current outdated, paper-based system with one that is digital from start to finish – doing away with hundred-page PDFs and inaccessible information, and putting data and decision-making in the palm of your hand’.
Secretary of State for Housing Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:
“We want to speed up the planning process, to help families make improvements to their homes more quickly. These apps are a step towards a planning system that is transparent, efficient, and end-to-end digital – saving time and money for developers, architects, and homeowners, and letting planners focus on the merits of applications rather than chasing paperwork.”