An interactive map on Southwark Council’s website now allows residents to view and comment on all current planning applications across the borough.
This is the latest innovation as part of a pilot scheme – Southwark Council is undertaking in conjunction with the News – to give a digital offering on top of the press notices, site notices and letters sent out to residents.
Agreed earlier this year by the Department of Local Government and Communities, Southwark is among just a handful of areas to act as a testing ground to increase residents’ access to the planning process.
Already the pilot scheme has involved a new IDOX system, to allow people to register and then get notifications sent to them via email about current and upcoming applications in their neighbourhood.
Within weeks of being introduced, the IDOX system has seen an eight per cent increase in people responding.
Southwark interactive maps are already been used by residents to search for any number of things including schools, libraries and recycling facililties to ‘Charles Dickens in Southwark’. The maps can be broken down by post code.
The maps are easy to use by selecting ‘Planning site notices’ from the list under the side bar heading ‘Show more on the map’, symbols will appear all over the map showing sites where planning applications are currently being considered. The user can then click on any of the symbols to get an overview of the application being made and a link to the full notice, where comments can be made in favour or against the application.
Updated daily to include all applications as they are made, each one will be featured on the map until the 21 day consultation period expires – when they will be automatically removed.
The inclusion of planning applications on Southwark Maps came from the ongoing research the council is taking as part of the pilot. The biggest survey on planning is taking place in Southwark, with 8,000 people who have responded to applications expected to be asked how they want to be consulted.
Planning on Southwark Maps went live last Friday and can be found at http://www.southwark.gov.uk/info/200212/egovernment/1370/southwark_maps or by typing ‘Southwark Maps’ into a search engine.
Lists of live planning applications notices are also now listed in Southwark Council’s website in the ‘In My Area’ pages and can be viewed each week in the News and on our website www.southwarknews.co.uk
To be part of a broader pilot project on improving statutory notices in planning or to give your feedback on this latest innovation email firstname.lastname@example.org
To register and to search, comment and view information on planning applications, as well as get email alerts visit: www.southwark.gov.uk/planningregister
Why is there a planning pilot?
In Southwark, despite having major regeneration projects and constant building work taking place, the percentage of people getting involved is dismal.
But the figures are no better elsewhere in the country. Planning is a major issue for most boroughs, but engaging ordinary residents in the process can be difficult at the best of times. Unless an application affects you, your house price or your standard of living, getting involved in what is a rather mundane process is not top of your must do list.
For centuries planning applications have been listed in local newspapers like Southwark News and this is something that local people, ministers and the press industry have fought to preserve to ensure transparency. However, everyone, including the local authority, wants to increase accessibility, so people can have a say on what is being built in the borough.