Updated Oct 28, 2021

Digital planning trial to take place in 13 areas in England

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has announced that 13 local planning authorities in England will trial "innovative" digital tools that intend to help local people have their say in the planning process.

Government funding of £1 million has been allocated to the authorities under the PropTech Engagement Fund and they will test new digital initiatives to make the planning process more open and accessible and boost public engagement.

The fund was launched in August 2021 and local planning authorities were invited to submit bids for up to £100,000 to run pilots, with the hope engagement in local plan consultations, for example, increases.

The pilots will run until March 2022 and the Government hopes they will inform its works to modernise the planning system. DLUHC said it is working with planning authorities to establish best practice and identify where further digital guidance and innovations are needed.

The Government hopes the initiatives will encourage those under-represented in planning decisions, such as young people, black, and ethnic minority communities, to share their opinions.

Housing Minister, 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".