Tech company The Future Fox has received funding from Innovate UK and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to help consider the future of community engagement in development applications.
In 2020, district level planning authorities granted 323,100 planning applications. These were achieved through the traditional planning notice system where the community are able to view applications through fliers attached to lampposts or through local news outlets.
With 84% of the adult population owning smartphones, the firm says digitising the planning notice system could potentially capture the feedback of 44 million users and ‘unlock a transformation in the use of community feedback data in planning decisions’.
Through digitisation, the system can become ‘more democratic’ as more members of the community’s voices are heard, including often under-represented members of the community.
Annette Jezierska, chief executive officer of The Future Fox, comments: “Our mission is to help people lead the future of their places. Communities feel locked out of today’s planning system, but we’re working directly with members of the public, including them in the creative process, to demonstrate a new, collaborative approach to planning that makes it easy for anyone to engage meaningfully, in 5 minutes.”
Housing Minister Christopher Pincher, MP for Tamworth, says: “We welcome the opportunity to work with Innovate UK and the PropTech sector to bring outdated planning systems into the 21st century with the use of digital planning notices - as part of our wider reforms.”
“New forms of digital technology will mean the ability to connect residents and neighbours to important information on decisions impacting their areas and enable them to engage directly in major planning decisions.”
Kevin O’Malley, innovation lead at Innovate UK, adds: “The coming comprehensive changes to planning and the ready availability of new data should enable the development of new usable and useful planning products. The pilot with The Future Fox is allowing us to explore how this opportunity might play out for business, planners and the public.”
The Future Fox’s PlaceBuilder tool has already been used by MHCLG as well as local authorities including Devon County Council and Glasgow City Council. PlaceBuilder is a cloud-based engagement tool that ‘promotes positive community participation in planning’. Planners are able to share their plans with citizens via PlaceBuilder where citizens can comment on the issues most important to them.
Community feedback and data is accessible to planners with the instant-reporting feature. In-depth analytics give planners the opportunity to spot issues and prepare solutions with confidence as part of their design process.
iamsold’s ‘first of its kind’ platform enters private treaty sector
The firm behind iamsold, the leading operator in the Modern Method of Auction arena, is entering the private treaty sales sector with its new movebutler platform.
iamproperty says it has completed the first phase of its launch into the sector in the spring, with regional agents such as Linley & Simpson, Pygott & Crone and DB Robers already using movebutler.
The platform has been designed to eliminate the ‘common frustrations’ with the private treaty process, digitising the moving process from start to finish and facilitating transactions end to end.
It also claims to reduce the administrative burden for agents and generate a number of additional revenue opportunities, including connecting clients to recommend moving services such as conveyancing and mortgages.
movebutler’s enhanced compliance service includes automatic title checks on the property and 'Online Biometric Identity Verification' to prevent delays in the transaction.
Ben Ridgway, iamproperty’s group managing director, comments: “Using our experience of working with over 3,000 agents, we’ve designed movebutler to improve the home moving experience for everyone involved in transactions, including estate agents, buyers, sellers and other parties such as solicitors.”
“This first phase launch is a huge milestone and it’s great to have a large number of our Partner Agents already experiencing the benefits of a more efficient, profitable and modern way to transact.”
The firm is now working towards its full market launch and will offer presentations of the platform to keen agents.
Ridgway concludes: “Interest from both agents in our network and new agents has been strong. We’re really proud of the full-service solution we’ve created and what it can achieve for agents, freeing up more of their time to do the parts of their job they most enjoy.”