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Catapult launches land and planning data platform

19/10/17

Future Cities Catapult draws on Ordnance Survey and Land Registry data to support planning authorities

The Future Cities Catapult (FCC) has launched a prototype digital tool that could help local authorities in collecting and aggregating land and planning data.

Named the Land Information Platform, it uses datasets from Ordnance Survey and Land Registry along with historic planning data and open government information such as energy performance certificates.

FCC, the publicly funded centre to promote innovation for smart places, said the platform shows how critical elements of local planning such as land identification, prioritisation and site allocations for development can be automated. This can speed up and provide more certainty around housing capacity, strategic housing land availability assessments and other processes. 

In addition to identifying land with the potential for developments, the tool will also be able to estimate how many homes could be provided on the site in a more precise and robust way than through current methods, FCC said.

DCLG backing

It has been developed as part of a planning pilot commissioned by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), aimed at designing tools to help speed up, reduce the costs and improve the quality of plan-making and planning decisions.  

Stefan Webb (pictured), head of projects at the FCC, said: “We are very excited about the disruptive nature of this pilot, and its potential to be a trailblazer for how data and digital tools can support planners, developers and citizens.

Stefan Webb“With the Government’s manifesto commitment to create ‘the largest repository of open land data in the world’, the Land Information Platform demonstrates one of the ways in which public information can be used to accelerate the development process, increase certainty and improve transparency.

“We believe open source public data platforms can support an ecosystem of new software for planning, much like the app store, allowing others to build digital products and services on top of this system, replacing time consuming, expensively produced consultant reports that lie unread by man or machine.”

Earlier this year, Webb told UKAuthority that the digitalisation of planning is one the priorities for the FCC. It is aiming to do work beyond the reach of local authorities that do not have the budgets to develop new tools.

He said the platform could provide a foundation for others to build digital products and services for planning.

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