South Ayshire Council has created a new digital map based community consultation platform with interactive methods of engagement.
It has carried out the project in a collaboration with geospatial information systems provider Esri UK, with the aim of strengthening its relationship with communities and reaching better planning outcomes.
The council used the company’s ArcGIS Hub community engagement platform to keep local people informed of plans through social media and ask their opinions on the main planning issues in their community. The system plots the comments on an interactive map to highlight issues and reveal policy engagement hotspots.
South Ayshire’s planning officers now use a local development plan (LDP) dashboard including information on sites, stakeholder assessments and public comments, from which they can produce a report on the selection process. This was previously done manually using information from Excel files.
Gordon Wilson, planning technician at the council, commented: “The timing is important as this project to build a planning portal has coincided with the start of the LDP3 process. It’s expected that the hub will start to show how the LDP will plan out and highlight key milestones during the LDP process.”
“The platform will enhance South Ayrshire’s commitment to encouraging participation from as wide a range of stakeholders as possible in all LDP related activities, such as masterplans, development briefs and other guidance published throughout the lifetime of the plan. The more people who become involved will improve confidence in the fairness of the planning system.”
The project was one of those to emerge from a competition staged by Esri last year on ideas to digitise and improve planning in local government.