Here’s something combining The Chronic’s love of the hyperlocal with online data – a feed from those lovely folk of openlylocaly displaying all the current planning applications that have been lodged with our friends from Colchester Borough Council.
Anyone who has had the patience – or even the time – to sift through the clunkety clunk planning database supplied by CBC will understand the need to have this simplified feed. Updated as and when applications are lodged, there’s now no need to hibernate behind your computer screen for a week, just to see if a nightclub is being built at the bottom of your garden.
It remains perhaps the most crucial of all committees at Colchester Borough Council bar Finance. You only have to look at the developments around the town to see the pace of change over the past twenty years.
A cold, hard PDF planning report from might not be the most sexiest bedtime reading, but for every officer’s reasoned and rational arguments, there is a physical change to the town that will impact on the hyperlocal community for years to come.
The process remains open and transparent – as long as you can be bothered to decipher the detail. All meetings welcome in residents to observe the arguments. There is also the opportunity to speak for or against, should you get your act together in advance.
And now with the openlylocal feed, peering through the online lace curtains has just become a little more clearer.
Elsewhere around openlylocal and sadly Colchester Borough Council fails to be listed on the Open Data scoreboard.
Inclusion is defined as:
“Sites that are ‘open’ are ones publishing a dedicated open data page or section listing the open data sets they publish. This shows a commitment to open data beyond publishing the required spending data, for example.”
Providing this open data is not just for the benefit for those sitting at the Town Hall to appear transparent; handing it over to the community enables co-operation and collaboration, and hopefully better ways of working.
All CBC data should be made free where possible. Open data community hack groups could then help to build better online tools for the borough.
But for now, Planning is a start, even if it hasn’t been made available directly by CBC. An RSS option is available – hey presto: planning straight to your reader.
These Chronic planning news storied are just gonna write themselves from now on…