Open, real-time and accurate development planning data for London

18 Dec 19

Behind-the-scenes, the Greater London Authority have been working on the ‘London Development Database Automation Project’. A title causing most readers to immediately hit the delete button, but a project which could really shake up the planning process. This could be a major upgrade to the collation of development data usable by all, but equally could affect the level of technical information required by an applicant at initial planning application stage.

.

Sound like something dreams are made of? Now’s the chance to have your say on what development data should be collected across London and how currently City Hall only require a small amount of planning information to be collected.

Behind-the-scenes, the Greater London Authority have been working on the ‘London Development Database Automation Project’. A title causing most readers to immediately hit the delete button, but a project which could really shake up the planning process. This could be a major upgrade to the collation of development data usable by all, but equally could affect the level of technical information required by an applicant at initial planning application stage.

Before you think ‘I’m not a techy’, it’s worth trying to understand.

What development information is currently collected?

City Hall only require a small amount of planning information to be collected; data on planning permissions for new dwellings, the change of use of commercial space, major industrial development and the loss of public open space. This information also must be entered manually by Local Authorities. This means that other information from the application form can fall into the abyss, whilst valuable data on pipeline development and on schemes that have been refused is lost.

How do the GLA intend to improve data collection?

The GLA have an ambition to create an automated ‘live hub’ of planning and development information, which is accessible and open to all. The relevant information will be collated automatically via the planning application form, the fields of which are to be dictated by a London-wide ‘Data Standard’. Information collected via the form will then automatically be pushed into Local Authority and City Hall back-office systems where it’ll then also sit on an open platform for anyone to utilise. Simple right?

What could the benefits be? 

If implemented correctly, the project could result in a giant leap forward in the collection of objective data for the planning profession and significant efficiency improvements for Local Authorities. The data set has the potential to provide an up -to-date and transparent evidence base, allow City Hall to effectively monitor planning objectives and equally provide a data-hub for other private companies to utilise and benefit from.

What impact could this have on applicants?

The most obvious impact for applicants will be the extra information required to populate the revised planning application form. The GLA are currently consulting on the proposed Data Standard (which can be found here).

Whist many of the additional fields relate to information usually provided within technical reports at planning application stage, some of the proposed fields relate to technical information more commonly explored post-approval. It is this which requires careful review by developers and agents.

Have your say

The GLA are welcoming input from developers and agents on the Data Standard before the end of the year with a proposed implementation date in Spring 2020. We encourage you to review the proposed Data Standard and speak to Iceni if you would like further information or are interested in providing feedback.

Charlotte Orrell Senior Planner,Planning

Related insights: