None of the search fields is case sensitive. For example, ‘High Street’ and
‘HIGH STREET’ will return the same results. Do not include symbols such as *, ?
or %; the system does not recognise them and a search which incorporates these
characters will return no data. However, you can shorten the length of your
search text, provided that it still retains a precise match with the equivalent
characters in the field you are searching. For example, ‘South’ and ‘South S’
will still return ‘South Street’, but ‘S Street’ will not. In addition, filling
in fewer fields will probably return more than one match, but there is a greater
chance that these will include the application you are looking for. If you know
the name of the applicant, try using one field in the site address and
enter the applicant’s name.
The most straightforward approach for finding the details of an application
is to enter its unique reference number in the ‘Planning Application Number’
field. The reference number can be obtained from all publicity associated with
the application, including press adverts (where relevant), site notices and
neighbour notification letters. A valid application reference number will always
find the relevant application without the need to complete any other field on
the search page.
If you wish to locate an application by the address of the proposed
development please enter in the first line of the address. This could be either
the house name, for example ‘Rose Cottage’, or the house number and road name
such as ‘2 High Street’. You could also enter the post code although not all
applications will have a post code. Some road names occur more than once in the
District such as ‘High Street’ so entering the locality will reduce the number of
records returned. The locality is the area in which the application is located
in the District such as ‘Warsop’ or ‘ForestTown’. Because of the way in which
addresses are stored, too much information in these fields is likely to
introduce a mismatch and return no data.
Selecting a Ward is another good way to
refine your search to help find an application. However it can additionally be
used for finding all the applications in an area for a particular period. For
example, you could choose to see all the applications received in a month within
a certain Ward.
If you know the applicant’s surname then this can provide an effective way of
refining your search, particularly if you combine it with a field from the
site address. Some surnames are quite common and will return a
significant number of applications if applied to the whole of the Council’s
application data, but if you limit your search of a particular surname to just
one ‘Address’ then you are likely to identify a specific proposal very
Restricting the date ranges of a search can be another very effective way of
locating a particular application. The Reading Borough Council Online Planning Application facility
offers 3 ways of refining your search using dates. Dates can either be entered
manually using the ‘DD/MM/YYYY’ format, i.e. 31/01/2003, or by using the pop up
calendars that appear if you click the icon to the right of each date box. Pop
up calendars default to today’s date.
The ‘Date Received’ range refers to the
date that the authority would have received the application you are interested
in. For example, if you know that an application was received in one particular
year then set ‘From’ to 01 January of that year and ‘To’ to 31 December for that
year. This is particularly effective if combined with another search field i.e.
‘Applicant Name’ or ‘Address’.
If you know that the application you are looking
for has already been determined then you can refine your search by restricting
the search using the ‘Decided/Not Decided’ options, possibly combined with a
date. However, please remember that for an application to be classed as
determined then it must either be subject to a formal decision notice or it must
have been withdrawn. For example, a committee resolution alone does not qualify
as a decision.
The applications retrieved by the search criteria entered can be sorted in a
number of ways. By default they will be listed in address order and then in date
order within the address. This means that if you were looking for applications
in High Street, all of those at 2 High Street would be together in date order,
followed by those at 3 High Street and so on.