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WODC to trial innovative digital tools to improve engagement with residents around the future of the District

West Oxfordshire District Council has been successful in a funding bid to trial new, innovative digital platforms to help improve engagement with residents around the future of the district.
The trial is due to take place later this year and will engage residents and local organisations on how the planning system can be used to help improve local infrastructure such as roads, cycle ways and paths and also help support local communities.

Councillor Jeff Haine, Cabinet Member for Planning said, “As the local district council we manage forward planning for the entire district which sets out how the area will look and feel over the coming decades. It is a hugely important task that we need to get right so that we can improve the district for future generations.

“Given how important it is, it is critical that local people get involved to give their views and we actively encourage that. Through this successful funding bid we are hoping to improve the way we engage local communities and make it easier for people to have their say on the future of the district and their local area.

“I am very proud that the Government awarded us this funding and that we will be helping lead best practice at a national level. When we launch the project later this year I would really encourage people to get involved to help shape the future of West Oxfordshire. ”

The Council has been awarded £118,250 through the Government’s PropTech Engagement Fund.

The funding will deliver an engagement project later in 2022 to trial a new approach to consulting residents on the identification of community infrastructure priorities and funding opportunities.

It is hoped that the new digital approach will make it easier for residents to work with the council on what transport and other infrastructure is needed in a local area and how funding brought in through the planning system can be used to deliver any projects identified.

For the Proptech Engagement Fund, Local planning authorities were invited to submit bids to the fund to run pilots to boost engagement on planning consultations, better publicise proposed developments, or to analyse consultation responses.

Being part of the project, West Oxfordshire District Council will be helping the Government better understand how to engage residents in planning processes and improve the approach across the country.

Minister for Housing Rt Hon Stuart Andrew said: “We need a modernised planning system which fully embraces digital technology to create places in which people take real pride.

“By bringing the planning system up to date with the latest methods, we are ensuring that communities can have more of a say on the development of their town, city or neighbourhood.”