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New Eastern Villages the Future for Swindon

24/01/2020

The New Eastern Villages is one of the largest developments in the UK currently. It will see the delivery of around 8,000 needed new homes in the area and nationally. The NEV will also be providing new schools for that area and the wider Swindon population, areas of employment, numerous sports facilities and other community facilities.

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The Rosewell Review

27/02/2019

The Rosewell review points to outdated administrative processes and poor IT infrastructure stating that planning appeal decisions should be actioned quicker with five months easily being shaved off from majority of cases.

An independent review of planning appeal inquiries was set in motion June 2018 with the findings being released at the end of 2018. On 19 December 2018 Bridget Rosewell submitted her independent report on planning appeal inquiries to the Secretary of State.  The report summarises the findings of the review and makes 22 recommendations on how the planning appeal inquiry process can be improved and decisions made more quickly.

Amongst the whole report there is one statement that stands out above the rest:

“Inquiries, like all processes, rely on having the right people to undertake…”

It is critical that with the digital upgrading of the planning system, technological advances and the stream lining of current planning process that we ensure the individuals working within the system are capable and competent. There needs to be more accountability for the individuals involved with planning applications reaching this point especially when they are being overturned and granted permission. The tools and processes being used can be changed and upgraded time and time again but if the individuals using them do not adapt with these changes then the system will remain flawed.  

The full report is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/777822/Independent_Review_of_Planning_Appeal_Inquiries_Exec_Summary.pdf

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Digital Planning Transformation

07/02/2019

Future Cities Catapult, a government supported centre for the advancement of smart cities, have been researching the planning industry and looking for ways to digitalise the whole process to overcome the current flaws of a problematic system. They have identified areas of needed improvement throughout the planning process from pre-application and submission right through to the start of construction and completion. Early this week (5th February 2019) they launched a prototype planning tool to address problems in the post-permission phase of the planning application process. The report that accompanies the release of this prototype tool, Digitising the Planning System Part 3: The Post-Permission Planning Process sets out their findings in brief and gives an overview of how the new tool, PLANtraq, will be used.

The step towards bringing the planning system into the digital age is the first of many with digital tools such as PLANtraq. It is an essential step towards creating a more dynamic and efficient planning system. If tools such as this are to be implemented correctly and effectively the individuals using them also need to bring their thinking into the 21st century. The data being inputted and interpreted will have fundamentally not changed meaning there is still the question around how the planning system is used by individuals within local planning authorities in order to achieve the housing numbers the UK needs. It is essential the individuals within decision making roles of local planning authorities do not diffuse responsibility to the algorithms in the long run and ultimately remain/become competently in control of an integral system of society.

To find out more about the project visit the Future Cities Website here: https://futurecities.catapult.org.uk/2019/02/05/post-permission-planning/

Image: Screenshot from Digitising the Planning System report

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