Kensington and Chelsea to trial digital tools in local planning

Tuesday 1 June 2021

Kensington and Chelsea will trial digital tools in the planning process as part of a national trial.

The Council is one of 10 local authority areas chosen by the Government to take part in a £1.1m trial to test the use of digital tools and data standards.  

The trial will look at the digital transformation of local plans to help more people to engage with proposed developments in their neighbourhoods. It’s hoped the trial could boost community engagement, ensuring that the right levels of growth are identified to meet the needs of the community. The 10 trial councils will test how plans could work in a new system, including making plans map-based and accessible online.

Lead member for planning, place and environment Cllr Johnny Thalassites said:

“We need a 21st century planning system which matches the way we all live our lives now. Interactive maps and digital plans could make planning interesting and accessible to more people in our communities.

“We’re taking part in this pilot because we want to see development and growth that is right for our borough and to do that planning applications need to reach more of our residents at the engagement stage.”

The Planning White Paper ‘Planning for the future’, published in August 2020, proposed reforms to the planning system to streamline and modernise the planning process.

Housing Minister Christopher Pincher said: 

“We are moving away from notices on lampposts to an interactive and accessible map-based online system – placing planning at the fingertips of people.”

“Today’s announcement will ensure the planning process will be brought into the digital age. Communities will be reconnected to a planning process that is supposed to serve them, with residents more engaged over what happens in their areas.

“While the current system excludes residents, who do not have the time to contribute to the lengthy and complex planning process, local democracy and accountability will now be enhanced by technology and transparency.”

Read more about the trial on