Sites pathfinders
in progress

Funded pathfinder projects intend to test digital and data aspects of planning reforms. These reforms are set out in the planning white paper. The projects will inform policy and demonstrate how the reforms can benefit the local government sector.

Why we are looking at sites

Access to sites data is seen as a key part of reforming the planning system. During the pathfinder we will aim to understand what data is needed across local planning authorities, developers and the wider PropTech sector.

We will be working with selected local authorities to identify what data is currently available, to learn how we can define data standards to help with a consistent approach, and aim to make any existing data available to demonstrate what might be possible.

What are we focused on

Our first goal is to understand what information is needed. We are keen to explore:

  • the site assessment process
  • schedule of sites
  • housing trajectory
  • 5 year land supply

We will be working with each of the selected local authorities to understand their current processes and what information they that can be made available as data.


  1. Publish sites data guidance

    2021-06-23 update

    We have created guidance for pathfinder local authorities to help them publish their sites data.

  2. Findings from user research sessions

    2021-06-15 update

    A definition of sites was established after user research sessions with local authorities. The sessions also identified issues with how sites data comes to local authorities in multiple formats including PDFs, handwritten papers and MS Word documents. Those who maintain and monitor sites data don’t have the ability to publish it on a local authority website.

  3. Acronyms used by Local planning authorities

    2021-06-15 update

    We are gathering acronyms from our sites data workshops to clarify their meaning:

    • HELLA - Housing Employment Land Availability Assessment
    • ELR - Employment Land Review
    • AMR - Annual Monitoring Report
    • SPDs - Supplementary Planning Documents
    • 5YHLS - 5 Year Housing Land Supply
    • ELAA - Employment Land Availability Assessment
    • SHLAA - Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment
    • SHELAA - Strategic Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment
  4. pathfinder-local-planning-authorities-announced

    2021-06-02 update

    Government announces which local planning authorities will be participating in the local plans and sites pathfinders.

  5. research-questions

    2021-05-18 update

    For the sites pathfinder we have identified some areas that we're keen to understand more about. As we learn during the project this will help to shape the areas that we explore further.

    These are our initial research questions.

  6. Started