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East Herts Council secures £270,000 from Government for planning improvements

Planning processes at East Herts Council are being boosted by more than £270,000 from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

The Government cash will underpin four new projects to use digital and design tools.

East Herts’ planning service is one of the busiest in the county, considering up to 500 applications at any one time, with roughly 2,500 received yearly.

East Herts district
East Herts district

A Planning Skills Delivery Fund investment of £100,000 will help the council develop a District Design Code to set the standard for developments to maintain East Hertfordshire’s distinctive character while encouraging sustainable practices.

With £100,000 from the Digital Planning Improvement Fund, the council will also undertake a Digital Maturity Self-Assessment and construct a relevant action plan.

While digital tools are already used in the planning application process, the funding will allow for further modernisation to make the process easier and more effective for residents and planning staff alike.

Cllr Vicky Glover-Ward
Cllr Vicky Glover-Ward

East Herts was the only local authority in the county to be awarded such funding.

An injection of £73,152 from the PropTech Innovation Fund aims to improve the council’s approach to land assessment and visualisation.

In partnership with Cadcorp, the introduction of a “Call for Sites” platform and the implementation of a WebMap will enable communities and developers to suggest the best sites for building.

Additionally, the council will pilot the Government’s connectivity assessment tool, developed by the Department for Transport to better understand the sustainability and accessibility of sites proposed for development. This tool maps how easy it is to get to and from locations.

Cllr Vicky Glover-Ward, EHC’s executive member for planning and growth, said: “I am pleased that the diligence of our dedicated and enthusiastic planning department has been recognised and that we have been deservedly selected to take part in the Department for Transport’s connectivity tool pilot.

“Innovation in the delivery of our planning service, to work smarter and reduce administration, will better allow planners to concentrate on ensuring East Herts retains its characterful identity amidst development, in accordance with a District Design Code.

“Streamlining the planning application process and making it more effective for everybody involved will afford us greater engagement with communities and developers alike. This funding, and these projects, will support our service in achieving its goals.”

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