Local Plan Progress – Beware Bad Maps and Worse Spreadsheets

Tracking plan progress is a hard thing because data sources are so poor.  The DCLG have now resurrected the spreadsheet of plan progress that Greg Clark briefly killed but it is not a georeferenced data source so you cant do spatial statistics from it.  For example where boundaries have changed through LG review and national park designation it wont tell you that parts of some authorities have adopted plans and parts don’y, now ill it tell you what the geographical coverage of some joint plans are.  Meanwhile the Planning Interactive Map suffers from the same problem being based on a GIS file of LPA areas not plans or joint planning areas.

The only solution, and its a well known GIS problem, is to link data back to the original map boundaries and record the beginning and end dates of those geographical areas, when the boundaries and plan areas change that data state get carried over to a new split or merged geography.  Indeed there are major SSRC programmes to do this for things like historic county, district and ward boundaries to enable accurate mapping of things like mortality over several centuries.  Odd isn’t it because of lack of a proper data model we have better stats of things 100s of years old than we have now.

I did at one point create an accurate map and data mdel for one client.  I did think about updating it and making it public.  Sod it if i’m not being paid for it – nothing comes for free.


2 thoughts on “Local Plan Progress – Beware Bad Maps and Worse Spreadsheets

  1. I’m sure you are right but there are more fundamenatl deficiencies in the tracking of progress in local plans — like its not being done. We simply dont know, for starters, how Inspectors are applying the so called golden thread (aka sustainable development), the cumulative impact, or the relationship with appeal decisions which are going on simultaneously. CLG Committee is reviewing planning post0NPPF shortly — any hope they might ask the right questions?? No, I thought not.

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