By Jamie Tasker and Zoe Taylor, Geographic Research and Information Officers at Kirklees Council

As individuals who job share in both the Planning Policy and Research and Intelligence teams, we have a distinctive position in facilitating and observing cooperative working across two unique teams within Kirklees Council. The largest and most recent collaborative project we are contributing to is the Kirklees Local Plan.

The draft Local Plan sets outs the areas of Kirklees that can be used for development over the next 15 years. Additionally, the plan also protects valuable open spaces and areas that possess high environmental quality and historic value. Part of this process involved the Planning Policy team at Kirklees consulting with members of the public on the proposed sites.

To assist with this, the Research and Intelligence team developed an interactive mapping service through the use of Pitney Bowes’ Spectrum Spatial Analyst software. This was added to the Local Plan webpages and allowed members of the public to view the proposals they were interested in.

By combining the power of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) with the local knowledge of the Planning Policy team, Kirklees Council were able to put together a platform that enabled the general public to engage with the Local Plan and comment on sites they were interested in.

Click here to view the Kirklees Local Plan interactive map

The Kirklees Local Plan has demonstrated first-hand the benefits that GIS can bring to a community. It has allowed us to provide residents with an understandable and comprehensive visualisation of large datasets. Furthermore, intricate spatial analysis has provided substantial information to the planning officers, allowing them to make better informed decisions to support the future of Kirklees.

Working simultaneously across various teams highlighted the value of collaborative working within the public sector. By drawing on the knowledge, practices and strengths of each individual, Kirklees Council were able to create a co-ordinated approach that improved the availability of location intelligence for both the internal council and the general public.

Supported by sound decision making and intelligence gathered from both teams, this cooperative approach will continue to shape the future of the Kirklees Local Plan and drive positive change across the district.

(Image credit: Kirklees Council)