New tool: Local plan policy tool

Tired of trawling through council websites to investigate interactive local plan policy maps? We’ve made it simple by gathering the different data packages and digitising them in our dynamic Local plan policy tool.

March 7, 2024

Finding everything you need from a local plan policy document can be a headache. Not only does it mean navigating different local authority websites, which can often be clunky and unforgiving - but it also involves digesting whichever tool the LA has used to create its interactive local plan policy map (like this one for Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council). Yes… just like planning portals, the digitised maps local authorities use all seem to be different!

Standardising local plan policy maps

Navigating local plan policy maps is usually only the first step. The next challenge is how you explore and use the data. When each council’s digital map is different, it becomes a chore to quickly and efficiently compare policies and find the information you need. So, let us do the hard work. We’re carefully combing, retrieving, assessing and processing data from local plan policy maps and recreating them in our Searchland style - making it easy for you to quickly and efficiently access the data in seconds from a single platform.

In a nutshell, we’re standardising and centralising local plan policy in Searchland.

Local plan policy map in Searchland
View comprehensive local plan policy in Searchland

What do local plan policy maps show?

National legislation requires councils to create and maintain an interactive map to illustrate the application of the policies in the adopted development plan in the local area. These policies provide the rules and guidelines to manage how land is used and developed within the jurisdiction of the local authority.

The interactive map typically shows things like Local Plans, Neighbourhood Plans, Mineral and Waste, environmental designations, SSSIs, Local Nature Reserves, distance to schools, retail zones, allocations and more.

And because not all maps are created equal, and land use in different areas is so distinct - some local plan policy maps may also show unique criteria such as landscape character areas, ecosystem services, dark sky zones, and relative tranquillity.

In fact, across the UK there are more than 1.5k unique policies in action!

Ai tool helps clarify Local Plan Policy in Searchland
Need help understanding an obscure policy? Ask our Ai tool for clarification!

Searchland’s local plan policy tool

Whether a council’s local policy plan map has 10 familiar layers of data or 30 unique area-specific criteria, we've taken care to replicate the details right here in Searchland.

So, as you move around on our map with our local plan policy tool, you'll see the data come to life right before your eyes. Here’s what’s in store for you:

  • See local plan data dynamically appear as you move around the map from council to council - or set a pin to stick to a single authority
  • See emerging and adopted options for local plan policy
  • Explore local plan policy data by each layer of data. Toggle layers on and off when required
  • With some areas having 30+ layers of data, it can get busy and very colourful! Change the colour of your outline layers to suit your requirements and save your favourite palette in a workspace
  • AI assistant. Not sure what a particular policy layer means? In a single click, ask our AI tool and it will tell you exactly what a policy does. A lifesaver when there are over 1.5k unique policies out there!
  • Dig even deeper with AI. Once you understand the policy, find out how it impacts that particular area by asking more detailed and nuanced questions
  • A helpful map legend that dynamically changes as you turn layers on and off - keeping your screen clear, concise and free from unnecessary icons.

And there you have it - our Local plan policy tool is now available and waiting for you to explore. And alongside our existing Strategic Land toolkit - you've pretty much got everything you need to navigate land sourcing policy. Interested in giving it a try? Reach out to us to schedule a demo, and we'll demonstrate just how incredible this new tool really is!

October 17, 2023

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