Fast New Camden Planning Search

Camden’s servers have been down for days. So I made a planning search that’s 100 times faster and lets you know if you can access documents.

Fed up with Camden’s notoriously outdated and rubbish planning search I have created a brand new one for all to use.

Screenshot of the new planning search

It seems to load results pretty much instantly although this is the first release, so please give it a try to see whether it works for you.

Due to Camden having something called an ‘API’ I am able to get summary information on all planning applications while circumventing their awful website entirely. The result is a planning search which is pretty much instant for me, although performance will vary depending upon your tech and browser (I have a five year old MacBook).

In case you missed it I also made a map search a while ago, although this still has some problems and needs a lot of work, being far more complicated to maintain and update. It is also only specific to Bloomsbury, while the planning search covers all of Camden.

Despite this, Camden have indicated that if my map can be extended they are considering using it instead of their own one for public involvement in planning.

Unfortunately Camden’s documents and comments pages do not have an ‘API’ of their own, so I am currently having to direct people to Camden’s website for those. To help people know of their chances of success I have created a little sidebar that tells you how often Camden’s site has been working over the past twenty seconds. I have been testing it and it gives a pretty good indication of whether you will succeed in making the jump from 2021 to 1980 when clicking a link to Camden’s site.

Perhaps surprising to some, Camden’s website appears to never be fully ‘down’ but merely ‘unstable’. It is constantly flickering between being on and off, sometimes multiple times every second. So repeatedly refreshing the page can sometimes get you lucky.

In my testing I also found that Camden’s website is up or down depending upon your location too. So if it works in London it may not work in Edinburgh, and the further you go from London the less likely it is to work.

I have been talking with a Camden officer about the possibility of Camden’s documents getting their own ‘API’, which would mean we would never need to use Camden’s dreaded website again for planning matters.

See the planning search here.

3 thoughts on “Fast New Camden Planning Search

  1. Very impressive!
    ps. So now I might get to the bottom of how Camden Planning (unbeknown to residents) cancelled the Mount Pleasant Development planned screening of the ‘nuclear- chimney type’ power plant on the roof of Phase A building – which btw, can be seen from just about everywhere! – without any Visual Amenity Assessment made in a Conservation Area!
    impossible to get to the bottom of that one atm.


  2. You say that it has so far taken 924 hours to get a response from Camden regarding their planning portal which never seems to be working – but are you referring to the time it takes to access the portal or for contacting a planing officer?


    1. I first contacted Camden asking for direct access to their database and a copy of their historical records (back to 1930) some time in March. Since that time I’ve emailed probably about 20 different individuals – councillors, officers, directors, etc. Nobody has a clue what they’re doing, or they just ignore me. Probably explains why their website never works. In fact until I filed multiple complaints they didn’t even know their website wasn’t working and tried to say it was just me having problems.


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