The Greater London Authority (GLA) is laying plans for a hub of planning and development information.
Its chief digital officer Theo Blackwell and principal policy and programme officer Molly Strauss have outlined the plan in a Smart London blogpost, saying it could significantly reduce the money spent by councils’ planning departments across a number of services.
The GLA already has the London Development Database, but this is confined to monitoring planning applications, starts and permission, and the 35 local authorities in London collect data in different ways, which leads to an incomplete picture of the pipeline of development.
Blackwell and Strauss say there is also a need for data on issues such as small commercial developments, schemes that are refused and diversity. This has prompted the plan for a single hub with a wider range of information – including a feed of planning applications from all of the councils – that would be available to professionals and the public.
They acknowledge there are currently significant problems in extracting data from legacy IT systems and say the plan will require a number of changes. These include requiring the developers filing planning application to provide all the necessary data, and IT suppliers to change their products to be more responsive.
Among the expected benefits are that it would reduce the burden on councils’ planning teams, provide an improved evidence base for making plans at local and city-wide levels, support planning across local authority boundaries and improve infrastructure planning.
There is also an estimate of £2.2 million in savings across London by reducing the amount of paper used in the processes, and a hope that the data could support the development of new digital products to support planners and developers.
The blog says they will make more details about the plan available soon.
Image by Mai-Linh Doan, CC SA 2.0 France through Wikimedia