Local areas to trial digital initiatives to make planning accessible

Digital tools to help local people have a say in the planning process will be trialled in 13 areas across England.

Over £1m has been allocated to the selected planning authorities under the government’s PropTech Engagement Fund to test new digital initiatives to make planning more open and accessible and boost public engagement.

Selected projects include the London Borough of Hounslow creating an online 3D map, helping residents to visualise and comment on proposals, and Watford Borough Council developing a QR code system for residents allowing them to view an interactive map and access planning information.

The pilots will run until March 2022 and will inform the government’s work to modernise the planning system.

They are also aimed at encouraging groups who are typically underrepresented in planning decisions, like renters, young people and those from black and ethnic minority communities, to get involved with planning.

brown pencil on white printing paper

Minister for housing, Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP, said: ‘We want to use digital technology to make the planning system fit for the 21st century and empower people from all backgrounds to get involved in decisions that impact their communities.

‘From scannable QR codes giving people local planning information straight to their mobile devices, to interactive online maps, these digital pilots will help us create a more accessible and transparent system and ensure people are informed, engaged and can have their say.’

The PropTech Engagement Fund was launched in August 2021, with local planning authorities invited to submit bids for up to £100,000 to run pilots to boost engagement in Local Plan consultations, better publicise proposed developments, or to analyse consultation responses.

The planning authorities that will receive funding are: Dacorum Borough Council, Chesterfield Borough Council, Cotswold District Council, Southampton City Council, Greater Cambridge, Stockport Council, London Borough of Hounslow, London Borough of Wandsworth, Dorset Council, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, Watford Borough Council, Bolsover District Council and North Lincolnshire Council.

In related news, new guidance sets out the Mayor of London’s vision for a sustainable future, ensuring developments in the capital are greener, more energy efficient and prioritise space for walkers, cyclists, and public transport.

Photo by Sven Mieke


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