Track local planning applications in real time

Track local planning applications in real time

New digital systems that will allow residents to track pending planning applications in Wigan Borough will be introduced this week.

Wigan Council’s planning department is due to roll out new systems for submitting and tracking more than 1,200 applications per year, which will allow residents and consultees to check on applications in real- time and will notify councillors of pending applications in their wards.

The new software will be a ‘one-stop-shop’ for all applications, allowing local residents and developers to submit and view feedback from local people and statutory bodies in one place. It will also allow users to view applications via search terms, address or map.

Councillor Carl Sweeney, cabinet member for environment, whose brief includes the planning service, said: “We are committed to providing every application with the attention it deserves, so we are continuously adapting and developing new, efficient methods of working in order to deliver a timely service.

“The planning process can sometimes be quite long, but we are dedicated to providing a professional, robust service to make the experience as easy and as simple to navigate as possible. Introducing this new software is one way of doing that.

“So many people will benefit from these changes including residents who can view updates in real-time, members who will be alerted to planning applications from the onset and applicants, who will benefit from quicker processing time.”

For a number of years, Wigan Council has signposted applicants to an external website to submit their planning applications but this company has recently introduced a nation-wide charge for their services.

If the council did not act, residents and developers would be charged to submit their application online, in addition to the standard local authority fee.

The new system, which is to be launched this week, is free to use and will allow officers’ time to be used more efficiently.

Councillor Sweeney continued: “Receiving more than 1,200 planning applications and 600 building control applications every year, we are keen to ensure the quality skills of our planning service are effectively maintained and utilised.

“Digital services are cost effective and help us keep council tax low so we will always explore new technologies and digital infrastructure to ensure we’re providing value for money.”

Governed by legislation and statutory procedure, the planning process often addresses complex issues and can generate a wide range of viewpoints.

The service needs to deal with these issues in a timely manner, meeting statutory timescales and remain professionally objective whilst ensuring openness and transparency with the public and customers.

Posted on Monday 11th February 2019

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