Barnet Council has received £400,000 in government funding for the development of a new online tool that will simplify the planning application process making it more user-friendly for the borough’s residents.
We have been funded by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to help improve our digital planning services.
The money, awarded by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities as part of the national Open Digital Planning project, will be invested in pioneering new software that will automate and reduce the current amount of paperwork of planning applications.
Barnet is just one of a handful of councils to have received the funding, meaning the borough’s residents will be among the first in the country to benefit from the new digital system.
The innovative online tool is still in the early stages of development and Barnet residents will be invited to test and give their input to make the new system as user-friendly as possible.
Cllr Nigel Young, Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee, said:
“We’re committed to making the council more effective and continually improving the accessibility of our services. This welcome funding from government means that we can work with our residents to create a new tool for planning applications that will take the pain out of the process.
“The current process involves a lot of red tape, takes a lot of time, and requires some expertise. Our residents will be among the country’s first to test the tool and the first to benefit from it when it’s launched.”
The project will see the development of ‘open source’ planning software, which means that it will be available to use by all councils. The planning application tool will comprise two pieces of software – ‘PlanX’, which will improve the user experience, and ‘Back Office Planning System’, which will make the management of cases for the council’s planners much more automated and easy to access.
The first phase of the project will be trialled in Lambeth next year before being made available to Barnet’s residents to test. It is expected that the finished tool will be launched next year.