In recent years, Ash Parish has grown into an expansive residential area with a population that could soon reach around 18,000.
However, this has created a number of challenges:
- The increasing population and subsequent urban development has put a strain on its limited resources to manage accumulating assets.
- Historically, Ash Parish Council has had to rely on Guildford Borough Council to update its records and provide maps with information regarding its assets – resulting in significant costs in terms of time and money to both councils.
- Ash Parish Council controls over 600 street lights and identified mutual benefits from controlling its own stock of lighting within the parish.
- The council needed to identify the location of individual street lights to maintain and repair them as necessary. The next step was to source geographic data, which would be simple to use, accessible and affordable.
Working with Guildford Borough Council, Ash Parish Council signed up for the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA) and used Parish Online – a web mapping tool for parish councils in the UK – to access high-quality geographic OS data.
Once Ash Parish Council started to use this tool, it quickly identified a significant advantage – in addition to managing street lights, it could also oversee its entire assets, producing a comprehensive online log across property, green spaces, sports grounds, cemeteries, parish notice boards, bins and bus stops – this exceeded all expectations.
This tool has provided Ash Parish Council with detailed mapping, meaning it no longer depends on Guildford Borough Council for assistance. Through Parish Online, highly detailed and accurate OS data is immediately accessible. Processes are now less complex and time consuming, meaning that assets such as street lights can be well maintained.
- Parish Online and geographic information has given Ash Parish Council independence in managing its local assets.
- Ash Parish Council can now print detailed maps for councillors and contractors, providing information on demand when it's needed.
- Amongst many other benefits, geographic information has assisted in providing a safe town for the community; for example, well-maintained street lighting helps reduce crime and improves public safety.
- By having direct access to Land Registry information, Ash Parish Council saves around £100 per year in fees. More noteworthy, the working hours redeemed equate to considerable savings of time and money.