Frequently asked questions
- What does PlanningAlerts do?
- It sends you emails of any planning and development applications we find based on the address you give us when you sign up.
- Where does the data come from?
- We search as many planning authority websites as we can find and forward the data on to you.
- What's a planning authority?
- Your local planning authority is the part of government that assesses planning and development applications. Depending on where you live, this might be your local council or territory government.
- How can I stop receiving alerts?
- At the bottom of each email you receive there is a link to unsubscribe from that alert. Just click on it and we'll delete your alert.
- Do you cover the whole country?
- No, but we are working on it. There is a list of the planning authorities we currently cover here. Not every planning authority publishes their planning data online so some places will always be missing. If your local authority is missing, you could always help out by writing a screen scraper to search their website.
- The data in my local area seems out of date. What's going on?
- We use screen scrapers to gather planning data from local councils and from time to time their website may change and break our scraper. You can help by providing a donation or volunteering to help us fix it.
- Can I help?
- Yes please! To be able to cover the whole country we need help in writing screen scrapers to search the websites of every planning authority in the country. If you'd like to write one for your local planning authority get in touch.
- Can I have a copy of the data?
- Yes. You can use our API.
- What kind of license is the data available under?
- The data via the API is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license. The license granted in relation to the 'Work' should be read broadly to relate not only copyright but all other IP rights present in this dataset including, for example, any Database rights.
- The link to the council development application doesn't take me directly there. What's going on?
- Some council web sites require you to click an Agree button before you can view the details of the development application. The problem is they often do not redirect you to your original destination after you click Agree. Usually revisiting the original link again after clicking Agree should take you to the correct details page.
- Why do I need to disclose if I've made a donation to a Councillor and/or gift to a Councillor or Council employee when commenting on a planning application?
- In NSW, for example, it is an offence if you fail to disclose this when making a submission under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. If this applies to you, please ensure you contact the council responsible so that you can make this disclosure.
- Why do you need my address when I comment on an application?
We ask for your address when you comment on an application so that we can pass it on to the local authority. To maintain your privacy online we do not display your address on the site.
We do this because the vast majority of planning authorities ask for peoples' addresses to be included in comments on applications. There are a variety of reasons for this. Some councils will reply via letter even when the comment comes in via email. Also, the council may choose to take comments seriously only if they come from local residents.