RTPI NEWS: We need online planning

Sustainable planning must have a sustainable planning system suitable for the modern world, says Ian Thompson.

The public and planners need to access the planning information that they require as easily as possible. They should be able to make applications and conduct transactions and appeals from home or work at the touch of a button.

Here at Wandsworth Council, the fact that planning services are now available online has done much to enthuse and engage our users and also to enhance the image of the planning service as a whole.

People can begin to feel much more involved in the planning process without having to fight to penetrate the bureaucracy and red tape. It is an excellent step in the drive towards more transparent government.

I hope that planning authorities will take advantage of the toolkits that Planning and Regulatory Services Online (PARSOL) will provide to help them in electronically linking all the various participants. These would include agents, government agencies, statutory consultees and the public at large as well as the local authorities themselves.

PARSOL is the Planning and Regulatory Services Online local e-government national project. It is a collaboration between more than 40 different agencies from local authorities to national organisations all working together to help support the delivery of e-planning and regulatory services nationwide. The project is funded by the ODPM as part of the government's strategy for the delivery of e-local government. The RTPI is directly involved in the workstreams and the project board for PARSOL.

Further information on the PARSOL project can be found on the PARSOL website at www.parsol.gov.uk or contact Stuart Melvin, PARSOL programme manager, at smelvin@wandsworth.gov.uk.

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