As mentioned in our two in one blog covering the two sprints to 26th February 2021 — this is a separate blog sharing the discussions with the Lambeth Planning Lawyer who answered some of our ‘edge’ type questions.

Our first question and the associated response is below:

1. Can a structure that is connected to the main house ever be an outbuilding?

The working assumption we have used so far is:

Physically to main building = extension, but standing separately = outbuilding.

However, in a scenario about converting garages, the question came up that perhaps a lean-to garage that does…


If you see Two in One — I only see One in Two — Rumi

As we’re a little behind on our blogging updates….so this blog captures discussions and progress from the last two sprints to 26th February 2021.

At our workshop on the 12th February 2021, scenario testing was high on our agenda for discussion. We’d undertaken the first two rounds of officer testing with officers from Buckinghamshire, Camden, Lambeth and Southwark, asking them to test a set of 10 different scenarios that we’d created.

There’d been some great feedback from the officers both verbally and using our testing…


“I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter.” (Letter 16, 1657)”
― Blaise Pascal, The Provincial Letters.

This week’s blog you may be pleased to hear is short and sweet 😊

Our fortnightly end of sprint workshop on the 29th January 2021, started with a 30 minute mid-way catch up with our first round of planning officers who were testing the tool. They were using dummy scenarios that the project team had pulled together.

Their early feedback was useful and interesting. This included a discussion around when making language ‘Plain…


A belated Happy New Year!

We started back with a series of meetings. First up, we had the first of our newly titled “Omega” meeting. These are a new meeting type that we’ve started to look in more detail at how and what user testing outcomes are informing the design and content. .

Lots of topics discussed including:

- What are the project types other than side-extensions we should be testing?

So far we’ve only tested side infills — but what others types of extensions do we need to be testing?

We agreed we needed to be building a library…


“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”
Frank Herbert

Thought we’d start the final blog with a minorly dramatic title — hopefully it is the end of the Annus horribilis that has been 2020. In any event, this is the final blog of the year from Team RIPA.

Our final sprint was fairly hectic. Amongst the many things we worked on, the RIPA and BoPs project leads met early in the sprint to review the risks document that we’ve set up.

There are still items outstanding on the checklist, but many are…


The days may be getting colder and shorter but work on the RIPA project has done anything but slow down as we approach Christmas!

Our last sprint included getting the officer survey circulated amongst all the partner authorities. We’re now starting to collect data on officer experience and some of this was presented in our Show and Tell (for early findings check out the recording here)


Our latest partner workshop (number 13) kicked off with a discussion around the new prototype for Lawful Development Certificate (LDC) applications for proposed use. This had been presented in our 12th Show and Tell. The partners felt that the use of drawings was incredibly valuable when communicating with individuals who perhaps have less technical knowledge of the planning system.

We recognized there was a need to bridge the gap in conversations; for example we use the term “data” a lot — but what does that actually mean? Using drawings is one way of bridging that gap in language and helping…


I think it’s never too late to start anything, except maybe being a ballerina.

Wendy Liebman

So we’re a little behind (well, a whole sprint behind) in posting our notes from the previous sprint and the outcomes from Workshop 12 held on 6th November — but we’re not trying to be ballerina’s, merely trying to bring the planning system into the 21st Century….

We had a busy time this sprint with sessions on Content Design (touched on in our Show and Tell No 11 that week). …


There are only two hard things in Computer Science: cache invalidation and naming things. — Phil Karlton

Truer words were never spoken — a fact which became clear following a question asked at our 10th Show and Tell. One member of the public enquired about the name of our ‘Find Out If You Need Planning Permission’ service, questioning whether it is obvious to users that this incorporates Listed Building Consent.

A key challenge we have faced throughout the RIPA project has come from a need to simplify the language used in planning to make the process for submitting applications more transparent and easier to navigate. …


Friday 25th September saw Lambeth host the 9th Workshop for the Reducing Invalid Planning Applications (RIPA) Project. This workshop was focused on further developing the Customer Survey, as well as developing the User Journey for Lawful Development Certificates — more on this later.

Customer Survey

For those of you who have been following our progress over the past few posts, you will know that we are currently creating a customer survey to capture feedback from users of their experience of submitting a planning application currently and then, once we have the beta tool in place, we wil run the survey…

Project Team RIPA

We’ve made it to Beta. An MHCLG funded project, led by Lambeth with five partners — Buckinghamshire, Camden, Lewisham, Northumberland and Southwark

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