Weeknote — 2020-09-22

Digital land sprint notes

This sprint we held a show and tell and Loic played back the recent user research findings. We also published our local plans explorer, and Matt and Euan have been working hard listing local plan policies.

Local plans

Colm has built a local plans explorer. This tool is built on the data we collected with the local plans policy team.

The explorer lets users search for a local plan. When a user selects a plan, they are able to view the main, high level information about each local plan. It also links to the live local plan document.

Screenshot of a local plan page: Camden council

Matt has created a list of over 700 local plan policies which he went through with Euan. We've been thinking about how we can create a robust way to categorise or tag them so they are easy to find. Categories range from affordable housing to biodiversity, and we’ll be testing them with policies from other local plans to check they work before we include them in our development policy schema.

This long list of policies also shows us how often different policy themes come up. For example, policies related to airports may be less common, whereas policies about housing quality tend to appear in all local plans. This will help us prioritise which policies to standardise at a later date.

Loic played back findings from the first round of user research with data consumers.


Paul created a drawing of how the site and repositories are structured. The drawing below is the Digital Land architecture which the team have nicknamed “Paul’s mind palace”.

Digital Land architecture

Jon has continued adding features and tests to the digital-land collection and pipeline tools, including migration away from our old schema definitions and onto the new published specification. The brownfield-land collection is now using the new pipeline, with more collections to be added soon.

Emily and Colm have run an accessibility audit of the Digital Land website and published an accessibility statement.

Accessibility statement screenshot


In the PropTech world we put heads together with TfL Innovation to see where we could support one another. We also exchanged learnings with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation on supporting the ecosystem.

We later spoke with David Done, CEO of RHP, who had really valuable feedback from the social housing perspective on the importance of investing in technology.

Jess also caught up with IMMO, Honest AI, and M7 Structura.


We ran an open show and tell - the first we’ve done for a while. It was great that so many planning and MHCLG colleagues were able to attend, and we look forward to holding another soon.

Pictures of the team from the show and tell

Laura has been working with Matt and Paul on recruitment and working out our roadmap and who we need for the next phases of work on the team.

Laura and Emily have also formalised the team ceremonies and sprint notes cadence, which they presented to the team.