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MHCLG appoint Commonplace to help reimagine planning notices.

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The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and Innovation UK have appointed Commonplace to help reimagine planning notices.

More than 400,000 planning applications are submitted in England every year, and local planning authorities are required to notify the public and neighbours of each one – including through site notices or in local newspapers.

Commonplace, a digital engagement specialist for the built environment, believes that new forms of digital technology could enhance this process by connecting residents and neighbours to important information. Transparent, digital-first communication with communities could increase the awareness of, and engagement in, decision-making.

Mike Saunders, CEO and co-founder of Commonplace, said: “By offering planning notices only on lamp posts, inside community facilities and in local papers, the planning system is missing a huge and obvious opportunity to engage.

“Commonplace was founded on the principle of connecting people to the places they love, bringing together the public, planning applicants and decision-makers together to get better results. We’re delighted to be working with Innovate UK and MHCLG to explore new possibilities for planning notices”.

As part of the work, Commonplace will ask people who have engaged through its platform for their views on improving planning notifications and also to engage with professional planners in development management. The results will be shared within the planning industry to support thinking on digitising the planning system, the firm added.

Housing Minister Christopher Pincher said: “We welcome the opportunity to work with Innovate UK and the PropTech sector to bring the outdated planning system into the 21st century with the use of digital planning notices – as part of our wider reforms.

“New forms of digital technology will mean the ability to connect residents and neighbours to important information on decisions impacting their areas and enable them to engage directly in major planning decisions.”

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