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AI could solve capacity problems faced by local planning authorities

talking local government

Release Date: 04/10/2019

Brett Leahy, chief planner at Redbridge and Richard Sankey of Arcus Global explain how smarter planning will deliver a better planning service as well as greater job satisfaction for planners.

Planners don’t enter the profession to spend their life checking applications for extensions, and chief planners shouldn’t find themselves answering phone calls from the public chasing progress.

This is still happening in too many councils and it doesn’t need to. Application of AI to the planning process in Milton Keynes led to a reduction in planners’ live caseloads from 80 per officer to 25 per officer. The planning applications process is very much rules-based and aspects of it like validation (checking drawings and documents and loading them into a document management system) and checking against permitted development rules can be automated.

Planning professionals are then freed up to focus on place-shaping and engaging local populations with future development, including the provision of new, council-built housing.

Place shaping activity under the local planning framework is also well served by new technologies that through, for example, visualisation can give the public a much better idea of proposed future development.