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Using GIS to plan for housing growth

Broxtowe Borough Council used mapping from Ordnance Survey to overlay relevant data and build a detailed and accurate picture of local authority sites which could be re-developed for housing.

Not only can the information be viewed throughout the planning process and by the public, it also saved around six months of staff costs.

The Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) is a requirement of local authority planning policy teams nationwide.

What were the challenges?

  • Identifying and classifying local authority sites that have the potential to be re-developed for housing.
  • Evaluating these sites against known constraints on their development.
  • Producing a Strategic Housing Land Availability assessment (SHLAA) to include the above information.
  • Writing the local plan to be more scientific, accurate and therefore more defensible at public examination.

What was the solution?

OS Data is essential to provide accurate and up-to-date information on all of our sites and without this the finished document would be lower quality, would be much more difficult to extract information from, would be less user friendly and would add time, complexity and expense to our upcoming Local Plan Examination.

Steffan Saunders, Head of Neighbourhoods, Broxtowe Borough Council

Using GIS, and datasets from Ordnance Survey, Broxtowe Borough Council overlaid its comprehensive database of SHLAA sites, including planning applications, developer submissions and public canvassing – onto Ordnance Survey’s OS MasterMap Topography Layer. The extent of the site is numbered and put onto this accurate map backdrop so officers can calculate constraints (such as flooding), deliverability and potential housing numbers on any identified site.

Sites are published online, with OS MasterMap Topography Layer for the public to quickly and easily view, filter and interrogate the information.

What were the outcomes?

  • Information can be used throughout the whole planning process, from SHLAA to sustainability appraisal and through to the master planning ahead of site allocation.
  • Broxtowe Council chosen as a ‘pilot authority’ for creating a register of brownfield sites.
  • With GIS and OS mapping, the analysis takes hours, saving the planning team up to six months of officer time.
  • Broxtowe Council can move forward efficiently and confidently to the plan examination stage.
  • Public transparency, with ease of use for local residents.

The products used

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