Online planning saves hard-up Falkirk Council a fortune

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The council has saved over £200,000 since the introduction of online planning applications seven years ago figures show.

For every planning application submitted online instead of in paper form, it is estimated that £110 is saved by the local authority.

Since 2009 the council has received a total of 5678 planning applications, 2124 of which were done over the internet meaning savings of around £233,640 for the hard-up Falkirk Council.

If every planning application had been done online during the period up to January 26 this year, savings would have been over £600,000.

There has also been a steady rise in online planning applications in Falkirk from 94 in 2009 to 431 in 2015.

Changes to the Scottish Government’s eplanning portal will let individuals, architects and agents submit and manage applications with prospective savings for local authorities across the country of £6 million every year.

It’s also thought the portal will save applicants and agents £241 per application.

Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil said: “ePlanning is in its seventh year and over the past six years we’ve seen the portal save almost £40m for local authorities and applicants.

“We have made great progress since the portal was first introduced in 2009, with 70 per cent of planning applications now made online – double the original forecast.

“The new service will continue to provide access to the planning system in a way customers want, delivering a high quality consistent service, saving time and money.”

The Scottish Government say the online upgrade will help secure the long term future of the service and enable expansion into other internet services, including building standards later this year.

The council is also expecting to save even more money in the future from online applications.

A spokesperson said: “It is anticipated that here will be a further increase in the submission of planning applications on line following the launch of on line building standards application submission portal.”

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Planning application figures

More and more people are submitting planning applications online. Authorities say it is cheaper and quicker.

Planning applications to Falkirk Council from 2009: 622 (94 online, 15 per cent/45 per cent householder application)

2010: 882 (207 online, 23 per cent/43 per cent householder)

2011: 864 (293 online, 34 per cent/36 per cent householder)

2012: 860 (333 online, 39 per cent/33 per cent householder)

2013: 838 (356 online, 42 per cent/37 per cent householder)

2014: 774 (392 online, 51 per cent/44 per cent householder)

2015: 807 (431 online, 53 per cent/42 per cent householder)

2016: 31 (18 online, 58 per cent/50 per cent householder) as at January 26, 2016.