Digital planning in action

Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities announce new local trials for digital initiatives to make planning process more accessible

In August 2021 the government launched the PropTech Engagement Fund where local authorities were 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.

On 22 October 2021 Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) announced that innovative digital tools will be trialled in 13 areas across England to help local people have their say in the planning process.

The selected projects include:

  • The London Borough of Hounslow will create an online 3D map, helping residents to visualise and comment on proposals.
  • Watford Borough Council will develop a QR code system for residents allowing them to view an interactive map and access planning information.
  • Greater Cambridge Shared Planning will use digital technology to capture views outside of the formal consultation process, including social media comments, media articles and blog posts.

The pilots, which will run until March 2022, will inform the government’s work to modernise the planning system. DLUHC will be working with planning authorities to establish best practice and identify where further digital guidance and innovations are needed.

The planning authorities that will receive funding are:

  • Dacorum Borough Council - £100,000
  • Chesterfield Borough Council - £100,000
  • Cotswold District Council - £53,193
  • Southampton City Council - £100,000
  • Greater Cambridge - £98,250
  • Stockport Council - £90,000
  • London Borough of Hounslow - £100,000
  • London Borough of Wandsworth - £30,000
  • Dorset Council - £95,000
  • London Borough of Barking and Dagenham - £100,000
  • Watford Borough Council - £99,975
  • Bolsover District Council - £100,000
  • North Lincolnshire Council - £100,000

techUK’s Georgina Maratheftis, Head of Local Public Services commented:

“This is an exciting announcement for both local authorities and the PropTech market. Digital technology has the potential to revolutionise planning, from empowering residents to get involved to creating a far more seamless and accessible process. techUK looks forward to continuing to work with the Department of Levelling Up Housing and Communities to deliver a planning system that is fit for purpose in the digital age."

Georgina Maratheftis

Georgina Maratheftis

Programme Head, Local Public Services, techUK

Georgina is techUK’s Head of Local Public Services.

Georgina works with suppliers that are active or looking to break into the market as well as with local public services to create the conditions for meaningful transformation. techUK regularly bring together local public services and supplier community to horizon scan and explore how the technologies of today and tomorrow can help solve some of the most pressing problems our communities face and improve outcomes for our people and places.

Prior to techUK, Georgina worked for a public policy events company where she managed the policy briefing division and was responsible for generating new ideas for events that would add value to the public sector. Georgina worked across a number of portfolios from education, criminal justice, and health but had a particular interest in public sector transformation and technology. Georgina also led on developing relationships across central and local government.

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