Southampton launches new digital engagement process for Local Plan

A £100k digital engagement fund will help ensure that a diverse range of voices are heard in Southampton’s Local Plan consultation process, targeting children, young people and Black and Minority Ethnic groups in the city.

The funding has been secured from central government, following a successful bid by the Council’s Strategic planning Team, who will be one of 13 Local Planning Authorities to receive money from DLUHC’s PropTech Engagement Fund.

The £1m fund is being made available to the 13 LPAs to test new digital initiatives to make the planning process more open and accessible and boost public engagement.

Deputy leader and cabinet member for growth, Cllr Jeremy Moulton, said: ‘It is imperative that we make all of our consultations as inclusive as possible in order to fully represent the diverse range of citizens in the city. It is especially important that we engage with children and young people with projects such as the Local Plan, as many of these youngsters will be long term residents of Southampton, so this directly affects their future.

‘The funding secured by our Strategic Planning team will help bridge the gap that was left by the onset of COVID-19 forcing our initial consultation to close earlier than we anticipated.’

The funding will be used to support engagement on Southampton City Vision, the new Local Plan.

As well as running a consultation as part of a normal planning process, engagement with target groups will take place through the sourcing and testing of an appropriate existing digital tool.

The Strategic Planning Team will work closely with the supplier to create a bespoke, interactive engagement tool to focus on children, young people and BME groups, who were not well represented in the previous consultation.

The first consultation on Southampton City Vision took place in Spring 2020, but many events with schools, communities and businesses were cancelled due to the outbreak of Covid-19, leading to some groups being underrepresented in the data.

Photo by Colin Osborne


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