NEWS: West Oxfordshire to use INOVEM to consult on planning policies

5th December 2008
West Oxfordshire to use INOVEM to consult on planning policies West Oxfordshire District Council join INOVEM's rapidly growing LDF user base.

Following an open and competitive procurement process, West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC) is the latest council to recognise INOVEM's developing reputation for providing cost-effective, highly functional and well-supported online consultation systems.

Paul Slater, WODC's Senior Planning Policy Officer commented, "The Council were looking for a relatively easy-to-use system to manage and improve online consultation for the Local Development Framework. The INOVEM Planning Consultation System appeared to offer the right level of functionality at the right price for the Council and was enthusiastically recommended by their existing clients."

Improved Methods For Feedback And Analysis

The system, to be introduced early in 2009, will be used by the council's planning staff to shape and develop the Core Strategy and other planning policies by seeking ideas and feedback from local residents, businesses and other stakeholders. It will include a variety of innovative online response mechanisms, such as allowing consultees to take part in interactive surveys and a facility to make comments on specific policies and proposed development sites.

A key feature of the new service is its ability to easily manage, process, and analyse large amounts of feedback, allowing council staff to quickly collate and report on stakeholder opinions, levels of support and suggested alternatives. The INOVEM Planning Consultation System will also reduce the effort required for planning officers to generate official responses to each formal representation made, via both letter and email if necessary.

Online Mapping - A New Dimension

Over time, the council will add new features to the service, such as an interactive mapping facility that will allow key stakeholders and members of the public to browse and interrogate the areas affected by specific spatial policies, such as areas allocated for housing developments. It is anticipated that the mapping component will be provided through West Oxfordshire's existing relationship with Global Mapping.

Alan Smith, Global Mapping's Managing Director, said "We have been in discussions for sometime with INOVEM regarding integrating our respective systems. Having had access to INOVEM´┐Żs application, and following technical discussions, we have no doubts that we will be able to link the two systems seamlessly. We have been impressed with INOVEM's willingness to discuss at some depth the technical issues involved and welcome the opportunity to work with them."

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