Ashford part of national Government digital planning pilot

Posted on 8 June 2021

Ashford Borough Council is one of only 10 local authority areas in the country selected to take part in a Government digital planning pilot.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government announced recently that they will be working with 10 local authorities to test the use of digital tools and data standards in the production of new style Local Plans.

Cllr Neil Shorter, portfolio holder for planning at Ashford Borough Council said: “As a direct result of Ashford Borough Council responding so extensively to the consultation on the Government’s planning white paper and our submission of a powerful application, the Housing Minister, Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP, has announced Ashford will be included.

“This will enable us to use this digital exercise to strengthen and refine this very significant reset in planning processes to improve public engagement in this process.”

The pathfinder programme will look at the digital transformation of local plans which will increase community involvement and speed up the planning process, which are all key aspects of the government’s planning reform agenda.

“This will enable us to use this digital exercise to strengthen and refine this very significant reset in planning processes to improve public engagement in this process.”

Cllr Neil Shorter, portfolio holder for planning at Ashford Borough Council

By introducing a digital system that makes plans map-based and accessible online, it is hoped local people will be able to engage with planning in their local area more easily.

Community engagement will continue to play a key role for ensuring that the right levels of growth are identified to meet the needs of the community. In the new system digital tools will be key for making planning proposals more accessible and interactive, supporting the ambition for more effective community engagement.

Bringing planning into the digital age will provide a range of exciting opportunities for PropTech companies to innovate and bring forward new ideas.

This project will build on the work of the United Kingdom Government that has helped millions of people continue to provide for their families as part of its Plan for Jobs to protect, support and create employment.