Barking and Dagenham to develop planning app in new digital tools pilot

Contractors undertake works at a London property

Barking and Dagenham will trial digital tools aiming to make the planning process more accessible. - Credit: PA Images

Barking and Dagenham will help trial digital tools designed to help people have their say in the planning process in their area.

New digital initiatives to make the planning process more open and accessible and to boost public engagement will be tested in 13 areas across England, the government’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) announced.

Funding has been allocated to selected planning authorities for the pilots, with Barking and Dagenham receiving £100,000.

A DLUHC spokesperson said Barking and Dagenham will develop “an app that will provide easier access to planning data” and “digitalise PDFs of householder application plans to create an AR (Augmented Reality) visualisation of the submitted proposal".

The local authority will also look to “increase public participation and engagement in volume, quality and diversity” and “utilise tech to visually represent development without requiring specific skills, notably reading plans, thereby improving accessibility to understanding proposals”.

The pilots will run until March next year and inform the government’s work to modernise the planning system.

DLUHC says it is working with planning authorities to establish best practice and identify where further digital guidance and innovations are needed.

Most Read

The initiatives also aim to encourage groups typically underrepresented in planning decisions – like renters, young people and those from black and ethnic minority communities – to make their voices heard on planning in their area.

Minister for housing Christopher Pincher said: “We want to use digital technology to make the planning system fit for the 21st century and empower people from all backgrounds to get involved in decisions that impact their communities.

“From scannable QR codes giving people local planning information straight to their mobile devices, to interactive online maps, these digital pilots will help us create a more accessible and transparent system and ensure people are informed, engaged and can have their say.”

Planning authorities were invited to submit bids for up to £100,000 to run pilots to boost engagement in Local Plan consultations, better publicise proposed developments, or to analyse consultation responses.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter