Weeknote — 2020-11-24

Digital land sprint notes

The main focus for this sprint has been to get conservation areas onto the site.

Local Plans

The team ran a workshop with Lambeth and Southwark councils to co-design a process around publishing a national list of planning policies. Matt on our team had been doing some groundwork on the topic and we wanted to validate some of the assumptions we had with local authorities.

Key takeaways are:

  • listing planning policies included in local plans seems to be a reasonable task for local authorities. This was not seen as a lengthy, onerous process.
  • we need to do a bit more work categorising those policies. The list we tested with our participants (see below) had a few flaws that we need to consider.

Spreadsheet listing policies that have been categorised

Next step for us will be to run a pilot with 3 local authorities. We’ll ask them to provide a list of their development plan documents with basic information related to timescales and a list of policies contained in their local plan.

Brownfield land

Work continues on the migration of brownfield-land-collection to brownfield-land-pipeline. The former is code that only works with brownfield land data, whereas the latter separates out generic functionality and brownfield land specific behaviour. This is useful because the generic functionality can be reused for other datasets (e.g. conservation areas). By the end of the sprint, the output files from brownfield-land-collection and brownfield-land-pipeline were largely matching.

Policy and PropTech

Jess has had a variety of conversations including Homes England, LiFE Ventures, Bunk, Sidewalk Labs, and Disruptive Innovators Network.

We’re excited about new PropTech initiatives being created in the social housing space and have been exploring challenges faced by PropTech companies accessing local authority planning data. We’ve also joined a couple recent conversations with Innovate UK to talk through potential overlaps and ways to support activity in the industry.


Laura, Matt, Euan, Rishi and Jess have been working on a “Digital Planning” roadmap alongside the Local Digital Collaboration Unit. This brings together the work of both teams to show what we will deliver together to contribute to the digital parts of the Planning Reforms.

If you’d like to provide any feedback or are interested in finding out more about our work then please do get in touch.