Understanding the impact of your Local Plan

Local Plans aren’t just for those who work in planning; they can unlock opportunities for anyone in the public sector to access alternative funding opportunities.

As well as guiding decisions for an area, Local Plans also provide opportunities for accessing alternative sources of funding for the public sector.

Local Plans can be used to identify where development is taking place, and therefore where Section 106 funding may be accessible. Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, also known as ‘planning obligations’ or ‘development contributions’, was brought in to help mitigate the impact of developments by providing funding which will benefit the local community. It can be used to improve the local infrastructure – for example, to help improve primary health care or education provision.

A public sector organisation in Central England has been using their Local Plan in just this way. By using the data mapping and insight tool SHAPE, they have understood the impact on services from developments, which has helped them inform and drive their decision making when it comes to funding decisions.

The organisation has brought their Local Plan to life by plotting development sites onto the SHAPE map of their area, and then using the map’s demographic information to find details on the areas proposed for development.

This has allowed them to understand the areas in detail, including:

  • Number of GPs and schools
  • Current population
  • Demographics – e.g. age bands, ethnicity, deprivation
  • Prevalence of health conditions
  • Environmental factors
  • Travel times

This gives them the ability to make targeted bids for Service 106 funding from developers, backed up with clear evidence.

SHAPE is a web-based mapping tool which supports strategic planning of assets and services in the public sector. With its basic level free to use for the public sector, its data visualisation tools allow you to view your region on an interactive map, overlaying data such as population demographics, health and education sites, disease prevalence and environmental statistics. Supported by the Department for Health and Social Care, SHAPE can be used for more than just health planning.

If you’d like to sign up to the free SHAPE Place, or find out more about how you can use SHAPE to understand opportunities brought by development in your region, get in touch at help@shapeatlas.net