Council planning system crashes 915 times over six-month period

The figure was revealed following a Freedom of Information request, detailing that the system was down for a total of 227 hours.

Coventry City Council’s planning website experienced 915 separate periods of downtime during the last six-months of 2019.

The figure was revealed following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request submitted to Coventry City Council in January.

Over the six-month period of July to December 2019, the Council’s planning portal was down for a total of 16,647 minutes – or 227 hours and 27 minutes. That’s almost nine and a half days during which the website was inaccessible to the public.

The planning website has multiple purposes relating to planning applications and development in Coventry, including the ability to view current and past applications.

This allows the public to view, consider and oppose any planning application during the 21-day formal consultation period, but with the website experiencing so much downtime, this raises questions over whether residents were inadvertently prevented from doing this.

While all computers will inevitably experience unplanned faults, 915 separate occasions of downtime is far from reasonable and underlines a core failure with the Council’s current system, which must be remedied.

Long periods of repeated downtime also risk delaying the work of planning officers and architects.

Brian Kettering, an architect in the West Midlands, described the long periods of repeated downtime as “concerning”.

He said: “For people like me, Council planning website’s are one of our main resources when it comes to assessing an area and its surrounding developments.

“They also act as a great guide to the attitude of the planning committee, by being able to see which applications they approve and deny. This helps us ensure our applications are likely to be accepted.

“Downtime of their website would risk delaying my work, and in the 21st century, we expect far better performance than this.”

HelloCov reached out to Coventry City Council for comment but did not receive a reply at the time of publication.