Commonplace has been selected by Innovate UK and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to help ‘reimagine’ planning notices for the 21st?century.
… local planning authorities are required to notify the public…
… digital technology will mean the ability to connect residents…
Over 400,000 planning applications are submitted in England each year, ranging from small householder applications for minor changes to residential property, to major regeneration projects delivering thousands of new homes and commercial spaces.
At present, local planning authorities are required to notify the public either through a site notice, notifying?neighbours?or a newspaper advertisement. ?New forms of digital technology could enhance this process, connecting residents and?neighbours?to important information on decisions impacting their areas.
Given the growing expectations for transparent digital-first communication from communities, reexamining the practice of site notifications and long and complex documents published on planning portals could offer huge benefits to increasing awareness and engagement in major decision making.
Digital connectivity and web based services have rapidly developed in the last decade alone. According to the Office for National Statistics and?Ofcom, 84% of people in the UK own a smartphone, rising to 95% for people under 55. Banking, shopping, media consumption and even tax returns are now commonly done online.
Commonplace has increased its own work on new ideas to improve the planning system. We recently launched the report “Engaging for the Future”, setting out a case for continuous, transparent engagement throughout the planning process. Bringing data from over 2.5m contributions via Commonplace, together with public opinion polling and focus groups, the report found that:
- 50% of the public have ‘never been aware of a consultation in their area’
- 71% believe ‘access to regular updates on planning issues in their local area is important or very important’
- Over 33% agree with the statement ‘new buildings and developments seem to just appear in the local area with no warning a lot of the time’
Mike Saunders, CEO and Co-Founder of Commonplace said??:
“By offering planning notices only on lampposts, inside community facilities and in local papers, the planning system is missing a huge and obvious opportunity to engage.?Commonplace was founded on the principle of connecting people to the places they love, bringing together the public, planning applicants and decision makers together to get better results. We’re delighted to be working with Innovate UK and MHCLG to explore new possibilities for planning notices”.
Commonplace will soon be asking people who have engaged through its platform their views on improving planning notifications, as well as engaging with professional planners in development management. The results will be shared within the planning industry to support thinking on?digitising?the planning system.
Housing Minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP said:
“We welcome the opportunity to work with Innovate UK and the PropTech sector to bring outdated planning system into the 21st century with the use of digital planning notices – as part of our wider reforms. New forms of digital technology will mean the ability to connect residents and?neighbours?to important information on decisions impacting their areas and enable them to engage directly in major planning decisions.”