Neil Feggans; Minister for Local Government and Housing, Kevin Stewart MSP; Gordon Wilson; and Stewart McCall accept their award
A major new project designed to shine fresh light onto the planning process in South Ayrshire has landed the top prize at a Scottish Government awards ceremony. The Council's Story Map simplifies a major planning document to make it more interactive, with the innovative idea recognised at the Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning held in Edinburgh.
Local Development Plans are often large text heavy documents, and to make these more accessible a Council team developed a new interactive 'story map' which allows users to see information from their local areas, zoom into maps to see priority projects, with a greatly increased use of pictures serving to bring development proposals to life.
The Council's Local Development Plan details the priorities and policies for land use in South Ayrshire and is used to assess all planning applications received by the Council.
It's the second prestigious award the project has won this year, having won 'Tell your story using a map' category at the Esri UK Customer Success Awards in May.
Councillor Bill Grant, South Ayrshire Council's Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Tourism and Leisure said the recognition was well deserved, "We're committed to working closely with our communities and this trail blazing approach has helped to set out clear and accessible information in a complex area.
"To have landed not one, but two prestigious awards in the space of a few months is a fantastic endorsement of the way we're adapting the way we work, all with the aim of making planning more customer orientated.
"The judges described the project as setting the standards for development planning, and I'd like to congratulate the team for developing an innovative approach that is already being used in other areas across the Council."
The new approach has already hugely increased public engagement with the local planning process with the 'Story Map' approach generating three times more views in its first six months than the previous document achieved in a full year.