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Digital tool launched to pinpoint development land potential

Words: Huw Morris

A digital tool has been launched to show the potential for bringing together land, planning and housing data from different government agencies in one place.

Under a planning pilot commissioned by the Department for Communities and Local Government, Future Cities Catapult designed a prototype to help speed up, reduce the costs and improve the quality, of plan-making and planning decisions.

The tool, known as the Land Information Platform, would help planners, real estate developers and citizens to identify and prioritise land for future development. The move aims to accelerate the allocation of land while predicting capacity and estimating costs.

Future Cities Catapult says such planning tools will automate a variety of processes, freeing up planners’ time, reducing costs, and creating a more transparent system.

“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,” says Future Cities Catapult head of projects Stefan Webb.

“We believe open-source public data platforms can support an eco-system 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.”

The prototype demonstrates how critical parts of local plan-making such as land identification, prioritisation and site allocations for development can be automated, speeding up and increasing certainty around housing capacity, Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessments or other similar processes.

RTPI head of policy Richard Blyth said: “Local planning authorities would greatly benefit from new digital tools which help them to collect and aggregate land and planning data. This prototype shows the art of the possible.”

Image credit | iStock