Recently validated planning applications - GeoRSS or similar.

Most local authorities - and the Scottish Government - use a third party document management system to manage the way they publish planning applications. The only way to obtain "push alerts" from this system is by setting up an email notification.

This can be a complex and confusing experience for non-professional users. Additionally, the system is rarely optimised for mobile and 'small screen' internet access, nor is it promoted by local authorities. 

Instead, the Scottish Government should work with local authorities to provide a GeoRSS feed (or similar) of newly validated planning applications, which allows people to specify which area they would like to receive notifications for. This would allow community councils, civic organisations, app designers and so on a simple means of promoting local, relevent, planning alerts.

There is also scope to widen this out to DPEA decisions and LA decisions too - but newly validated applications is probably most useful.  

The TellMeScotland website, managed by the Improvement Service,  has tried to provide a similar service. However, it is incomplete and unreliable, and has been this way for some time. 

Why the contribution is important

People find it very hard to access data on new planning applications. This is a key barrier to civic participation in the planning system. 

Additionally, budget cuts mean that many local authorities have ceased providing - or begun charging - for the paper "weekly list." Therefore, if the government is serious about channel shift and providing a high quality digitial planning service it should do more to make planning information more accessible directly - and to enable third party organisations - such as community councils - to support this. 

by AllyTibbitt on June 08, 2015 at 11:08AM

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Comments

  • Posted by pcruickshank June 08, 2015 at 16:29

    Is the data already at TellMeScotland? I know planning applications are there but I'm not sure about status tracking.

    Another reason to join up existing (re)sources
  • Posted by AllyTibbitt June 08, 2015 at 17:19

    Sadly, TellMeScotland is incomplete. Some Local Authorities provide no data, many just statutory notices - as opposed to all planning applications. Also, the Open Data portal has never worked properly.

    This situation has persisted for some time, and the "Improvement Service" who manage the website seem to have been unable to,er, improve the situation. They certainly have had plenty of time to sort these issues, but have not.

    Therefore, it would seem the best, and most sustainable, option is to work with the organisations that actually hold the data - Local Authorities and the DPEA - directly.
  • Posted by IainT June 08, 2015 at 19:53

    Sounds like a very good idea to me. It's important people can find out about applications as early and as easily as possible.
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