In August 2021, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities announced the ‘PropTech Engagement Fund’.
The fund was set up to support local authorities to adopt technology to involve communities, deliver a modern planning system and to help broaden the range of voices being heard.
Stockport Council was awarded £90,000 to be used to develop the mapping software to assist the consultation process of the Local Plan, which will take place in early Autumn 2022.
The Local Plan will play a central role in making sure that we have the right sustainable homes, jobs and infrastructure in the right places, and that we are protecting the valuable natural areas and assets that make Stockport such a great place to live.
It will also aim to set out clear rules and guidance on development and give clear indication of what will and won’t be permitted in the borough. The council is required to produce the plan that will be in place for the next 15 years.
The aims of the PropTech pilot focused on allowing residents to explore the borough through the interactive story maps. In turn, these maps would then inform residents about the Local Plan whilst also looking at different aspects of it before asking resident to leave their feedback.
With the initial development completed, the team went out to test the map in the community. Several testing workshops were arranged with identified members of Stockport’s community to provide feedback and inform the projects next steps including residents, frontline workers, community groups, Councillors and youth council representatives.
The aims of the engagement were to trial the use of the map face to face and online, and how the map can capture and process feedback; to test how the tool can be used by frontline workers to increase engagement and to test how we share the map through communication to reach residents who are not-yet-engaged with local planning.
A spokesperson for Stockport Council said: “We hope this new tool will enable the Local Plan to be more accessible to groups and people that are underrepresented in planning decisions and increase the understanding of local planning.
“We want everyone in Stockport to have the opportunity to comment on the draft Local Plan and help us shape it into the best possible plan for Stockport and this tool is designed to help bring that about.”
The council will be going out to consultation on the draft Local Plan in autumn 2022.
For more information, please visit the Local Plan website.