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15th Jun, 2021

Linked local councils chosen to test new digital planning tools

Ross Crawford 10th Jun, 2021

STRATFORD and Warwick District Councils have been chosen by the Government to test the use of digital tools in the planning process.

The two authorities are currently working on plans that could see them forged into one council representing all of South Warwickshire.

The invitation from the Government comes after it announced a £1.1m fund to test the use of digital tools and data standards across 10 local areas.

The Planning White Paper ‘Planning for the future’, published in August 2020, proposed reforms to the planning system to streamline and modernise the planning process.

While its publication sparked widespread alarm among many local authorities and conservation groups alike, its ‘pathfinder programme’ will look at the digital transformation of local plans to increase community involvement and speed up the planning process.

The White Paper envisages three types of planning – ‘planning for development’, ‘planning for infrastructure and connected places’, and planning for ‘sustainable and beautiful places’.

Councils will test how existing local plans translate into the new system, including moving away from text documents to an inter-active map with accompanying document, and the adaptation of existing site allocation policies.

Housing Minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP said: “We are moving away from notices on lampposts to an interactive and accessible map-based online system – placing planning at the fingertips of people.”

Councillor John Cooke, place and economy portfolio at Warwick District Council said: “The Planning White Paper highlights Government’s desire for Local Plans to be fully digitised, more visual, web-based, and based on the latest digital technology.

“I am delighted that the two South Warwickshire councils are amongst a select few to have been chosen to test the use of digital tools.”

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