Local plans have a considerable impact on residents and businesses alike, and a key component of the Local Plan is the Proposals Maps. This allows indviduals to see what Local Plan designations apply to their property. Mapping is often a key component in understand what is often a very wordy document!
Yet how a Local Authority publishes it's Proposals Map is not consistant. Some do wonderful webmaps, others just provide a PDF.
Local Authorities have cited 'derived data' and OS licencing concerns when asked whether they could share the GIS files of their Local Plans.
I am proposing that either Local Authorities are requried to share their GIS files of the Local Plans with any who asks for it, or better yet that they contribute to a national web map so that we can have a wider view of local plan policies across boundaries.
I would also propose that this idea is combined with the other ideas for a national planning application map. There doesn't need to be a central database for it either, it just requires all Local Authorities to produce news feeds in a common standard and format (GeoRSS for example) that web developers can hook into.
This would increase transparency within the planning system, enable local authorities to see and coordinate the spatial elements of their Local Plans. It would also allow for better monitoring of the planning system and perhaps inspire new inovative ways of using the current data. This would fit in with the current governments idea's of Big Society and Localism allowing anyone to quickly and easily see Local Plan polcies witha geographic element as well as planning applications.