Southwark celebrates prestigious award for online planning services

5 April 2023

Southwark’s role in transforming the national planning system was recognised at a national awards ceremony last week.

The council is a founding member of the Open Digital Planning team, which won the Digital Change Project of the Year Award for their new digital planning services.  These services make it easier to know when and how to apply for planning permission.

Southwark’s interactive ‘Find out if you need planning permission’ free online service currently sees around 80 users a week. Residents can use this free service to explore what changes they can make to their homes without having to apply for planning permission. It also helps users to understand what renewable energies they can install to their homes, so they can reduce their carbon use.

Apply for a Lawful Development Certificate’ guides users through the planning application process for permitted development works, so the process is faster and easier. The council is currently developing this service to also accept Prior Approval and Householder application types. Monitoring so far shows that this service is mostly used by homeowners, not agents, showing that you don’t need specialist planning knowledge to be able to make an application.

Cllr Helen Dennis, Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, said: “We are delighted that Southwark has been recognised as being at the forefront of digital planning by industry experts. Our planning team is leading the way on transforming the planning system; not just making it easier and simpler to access for our residents but for everyone across the country. We are very proud of their hard work and exceptional innovation.”

The online services are being delivered as part of a joint project between the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, local authorities including Lambeth and Buckinghamshire Council, and professional developers. Members of the group attended the IPA Government Project Delivery Awards to pick up their award in the Digital Change Project of the Year category.

Page last updated: 05 April 2023

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