ESRI Nottingham City Council

Nottingham used Esri to build 3D models of the city. Credit: Esri UK


Local authorities trial digital planning tools

GIS market leader Esri UK has announced the results of three pilot projects with councils in Nottingham, Dacorum in Hertfordshire and South Ayrshire, which have been exploring new ways of digitising the planning process using geospatial technology.

Projects have focused on solving common challenges within planning, including the improvement of community engagement, maximising the use of 3D visualisations and managing developer contributions more efficiently.

Having won a competition in spring 2022 to find innovative ideas to improve planning, the councils have been working with Esri UK to make the projects a reality, receiving free consultancy and access to GIS (Geographic Information Systems) software.

Nottingham City Council’s pilot has proven the value of using 3D visualisations integrated with other existing data, to allow constraints and impact assessments to be carried out simultaneously. Dacorum Council’s project involved building a prototype tool which visualises infrastructure and developer contributions secured through planning obligations on a map, replacing traditional static spreadsheet data. While South Ayrshire Council’s outcome has been the creation of a community consultation platform, with interactive methods of engagement to improve community and other stakeholder involvement in Local Development Plans.

Stephen Croney, head of planning at Esri UK, said: “The pilots have explored modern digital approaches to some common challenges faced by local planning authorities, all designed to help make the planning process more efficient and easier for everyone.

  • All three local authorities will be discussing their projects in a free webinar on Wednesday 15 March 2023 at 10:00-11:00am GMT.

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