Planning Feature Update

We realise it is time-consuming to access planning information if you’re relying on those clunky Council websites. This is why we created our planning map in early 2016.

Following user feedback, we have added a powerful new way to search, filter and be alerted on planning applications, helping you work smarter and faster.

Planning Search

Sharpen your gaze on the market. The search you enter produces results based on exactly what you’re looking for.

Create Alerts

Track all planning applications, of relevance to you, submitted or changing in a defined area. Use the bell to create an alert for any updates in the selected area. You’re now able to create a boundary, allowing you to filter out the noise and focus on the area you’re interested in (you can also easily turn them off).

Search History

Easily switch between types of the data you see. Click back to a previous search and you can set up an alert or delete items from your search history.

Do I actually need this?

In short, yes.

The long answer is still yes but here’s why. Having access to the planning search & alerts feature has a number of benefits. This includes, but is not limited to, keep up to date with market changes, understand the council’s thinking about certain types of development, keep track of your competitors, assess local demand and quickly learn about areas you’re unfamiliar with.

Here’s an example: with planning application alerts, you can set it up to only receive notifications of, say, “20 units or more”, “rejected”, “Hackney” “Camden” “Leyton”. This would show you all planning applications for residentials schemes that include more than 20 units that don’t get approved in these areas. Why do you need this? You can try and spot an opportunity to potentially add value to the application. A seller might be more motivated to accept less from a future deal to move faster meaning you can do more with the site. If you have a particular area that interests you for development, by studying the reasons behind rejected applications you can gain an idea of what the market requires.

Equally, with approved applications, you can gain insight into the likely outcome of the project you’re planning. If you start comparing this with our sold prices, you get an idea of the liquidity of the market.

How can I get this?

If you’re on the starter plan, you’re missing out so reach out to us to upgrade. For pro plan users, you have access to planning applications but you won’t be able to conduct any of the filtered searches or set up the alerts. Again, reach out to us to upgrade. For unlimited plan users, well you have everything including this 😀

Not a customer? Join in on the fun. Give us a call on 0203 086 7855.

What Came Out Of The Planning System: Hack?

Last weekend we held our hackathon, in partnership with Future Cities Catapult. Our company has created a technology system that extracts planning applications from England-wide councils each day. Having access to this dataset creates a crystal ball into the future, as you know what is going to happen to a place. We have gone to great lengths to collect this data and for our own product – Land Insight – we only use a small portion of the potential value, so with the Planning System Hackathon, we hoped to engage others who could see the potential of the data to create a wider variety of services with them.

35 attendees trooped through the whole weekend so they could learn to use the data. We held workshops on business pitching, encouraged the meeting of people, team formation, and create new products and services. The climax of the weekend was a pitching competition in front of our panel of judges for a chance of winning £1,000.

The ideas and effort that came out of it were incredible – way beyond our expectations. I believe this is testament to the passion that people had to fix the problems that they are familiar with in how the planning system currently fails to deliver anywhere near its potential.

Some common themes emerged: fixing the problem of under-used places that could have community value in the short term, perhaps before a development took place, or while it is vacant. Another theme emerged in that engaging and collecting data from citizens should be at the heart of the planning system, which is not being performed well by the current methods of displaying planning applications. The ideas put forward tackled these issues in vastly different and creative ways.

A run down of the tools and teams produced


Joint 1st: Demand Vision

demand vision


Using planning applications to estimate the current and changing demand for products and services in locations so that businesses and service providers can make better informed commercial decisions before making large capital investments.  


Joint 1st: Plan Gage

Plan Gauge
Making it easier to see and interact with planning applications via providing better visual information about them, tools to stay alert to changes and simpler interfaces.


3rd: You Plan

You Plan

Unpacking the content of a planning application to make it more visual and clear what impact it will have on a wider area, eg. having a green light appear if it affects a listed building of local significance. This approach could be used to further encourage communities to engage, comment and provide data on local needs which can be collected and fed back into schemes that there is demand for, such as fixing potholes.


Other ideas generated

Co-creative Places

Co-Creative Places

Using short-term space for creative projects and collecting real-time local data about thoughts on it, to drive longer term use of the space.

Future Scope

Future Scope

Turning planning applications into more 3D visual experiences, to better engage people, overcome controversy and understand impact.

Activate Space

Activate Space

Combining data sources to locate underused spaces and match with service providers and short term users.

Planning System Hack on 2nd December

On 2-4 December, Land Insight is hosting a new innovation event ‘Planning System Hack’.

Join us for a weekend of problem solving using planning applications. Come along to meet people, explore solutions that use planning applications that have a real impact or just because you are interested in the way that data is changing the built environment professions. The event is run in partnership with Future Cities Catapult and is a not-for-profit event.

Our Partners:

Supported by:


 Future Propery Tech    Geomob London   Design Buildings Wiki



Planning applications are far too hard to access but the data they contain is a treasure trove of information that dictates how and why an area will develop. There is no better crystal ball in to the future than planning applications. They help understand how your house price will change, what you will see outside your front door, how air quality will change in an area, whether you be able to get to work faster, if a new school is coming to an area, how the socio-economics of a place will change and far more beyond these simple examples.

We have gone to great lengths to extract the data from the source, aggregate it, clean it, standardise it, map it and make it availabe from one single, easy-to-use location: our API.

We use the data to help property developers understand the history of a potential development opportunity and it’s surroundings. This lets our users understand council precdents, what use a site is designated for, whether there are risks attached to the site, if there are any stalled or failed sites they can bid on, and so they can see comparable projects which indicate what you might be able to achieve on it. But there is far more potential from the data.

Our company alone cannot extract all of this value from this data, so we are holding a hackathon to encourage innovative solutions to be made.


Who is the event for?

This event is for problem solvers whether they work in the built environment professions, are keen to meet people with an interest in improving the planning system, or if they just want access to a brand new dataset with over 10 million records containing multiple uses across many sectors.

If you have ever thought that planning applications can help you or your work, this event is for you! If you ever wanted to have first mover advantage on a brand new dataset, this is for you! If you want to help tackle social and environmental problems, this event is definately for you!



Register now

Why we need #plantech

Guest post from our series on Property Futures, by Stefan Webb at Future Cities Catapult:

Why we need #plantech

Planning and planners are often the focus of ire from politicians, developers and communities. The task of mediating space and making place is one that involves many interested parties, all of who are equally passionate in their belief of what should (or should not) happen. What is not equal is the tools and information that those parties, including the planners, have at their disposal.

The method by which cities develop, design and communicate how they intend for the city to change has remained essentially the same for the past 70 years. Since Abercrombie’s London Plan of 1944 the process of gathering evidence about the city, how it has changed, how it is today and how it could change in the future, remains paper (or pdf) based. There have been similarly glacial changes in how the resulting plan is consulted on and communicated to stakeholders and citizens. The only process that remains as stubbornly analogue is the one by which planning applications are submitted and communicated.  

A recent report by McKinsey evaluated the extent to which different industries are digitised and their productivity. Unsurprisingly the construction industry is close to the bottom of the table on both accounts. Whilst developments in BIM may raise this, productivity will be limited unless the accompanying planning process can help in realising construction quicker.

In the same way that robotics offers the opportunity to remove the ‘dirty, dangerous and demeaning’ jobs in construction, data science, data visualisation and digital transformation in planning offers the same potential for planners, with the added bonus radically improving the speed and transparency of the process for all.

Future Cities Catapult has been working with the Greater Manchester Infrastructure Advisory Group to explore how investment by Government in the Open Data Infrastructure map could be leveraged to support the evidence base for the first Greater Manchester Spatial Framework but also collaboration and coordination between different stakeholders. We began by conducting user research with a variety of city planners, infrastructure providers and developers.  

As soon as you begin to scratch the surface of what information and tools these professionals use, how they currently communicate and collaborate and how they make decisions, it’s clear how much the sector requires digital transformation. Just thinking about the information in the Open Data Infrastructure Map, we generated a long list of over 30 use cases. We prioritised three of these and have developed a working prototype for one, a tool that fuses utility capacity data and planning pipeline data, to forecast likely future demands on infrastructure networks.

This short piece of work has opened our eyes to the scope and value of potential innovations within the plan making and planning application field that could reduce risk, increase certainty and critically increase the speed of these processes. By thinking of the city plan as a digital spatial platform, there is the opportunity to deliver a radically more efficient and transparent process, which would deliver both better market information but also stronger democracy.


Future Cities Catapult

Company Bio: Future Cities Catapult @futurecitiescat

The Future Cities Catapult accelerates urban ideas to market, to grow the economy and make cities better. Bringing together businesses, universities and city leaders solve the problems that cities face.

Personal Bio: Stefan Webb @stef_w

Stefan Webb is Head of Projects at the Future Cities Catapult.  He has a background in planning, public policy and politics, previously working at the Greater London Authority.