Planning & Environment

Just recently I’ve come across the TellmeScotland service – it’s a free search of public notices in Scotland, including planning notices. It’s been provided by the Improvement Service since December 2010.

Two useful features:

  • There are also email alerts you can set for an area within a certain radius of any postcode you set
  • You can search for live or archived notices either within a certain radius of a postcode or in relation to key words.

The postcode-based alerts are good to mention to clients who might be sensitive about nearby development.

The keyword search is useful if you’re researching a planning authority’s attitude to certain types of application (so e.g. you could search on “conservation area”, “cafe”, “change of use”). You can’t generally search Council planning  portals in relation to keywords.

There are some annoying limitations to Tellmescotland’s function:

  • The coverage isn’t universal: many planning authorities aren’t participating, including big authorities like Highland and Fife;
  • You can only search notices for one planning authority at a time and you have to search “live” and “archived” notices separately;
  • The search results appear with oldest notices first;
  • The email alerts aren’t completely reliable (or mine at least have missed some notices).

I was going to pass these criticisms on to TMS, but unfortunately their “contact us” link provides links to their clients, but no email address for TMS.

PlanningAlerts, until its demise, alerted you to the submission of a planning application within a certain radius of a chosen postcode. So far as I understand it had pretty much universal coverage. Its operators certainly pursued planning authorities to open up their planning data. We look forward to its return on OpenlyLocal.

Planning & Environment