Most State legislation dictates that any required advertising by a local government needs to be in the local newspaper and/or The West Australian. No doubt everyone’s come across these little adverts buried in the middle of a newspaper. Other than the cost, and the fact that readership of newspapers is ever declining, the big problem is that often that the people who happen across the advert, aren’t the ones who are being advertised to.
A motion was raised at the last council meeting (which originated from the Annual General Meeting of Electors) to change the way some planning applications are advertised in future.
Among other things, this would involve advertising in the local newspaper. This is a very wide net to cast for a property development which may only impact neighbouring properties (if any at all). It also comes at a cost, and the advert may be missed by the relevant parties. It got me thinking on what is the best way to advertise planning applications to interested parties, and after a bit of searching I came across PlanningAlerts.
Getting with the 21st Century – PlanningAlerts
“PlanningAlerts is a free service which searches as many planning authority websites as it can find and emails you details of applications near you. The aim of this to enable shared scrutiny of what is being built (and knocked down) in peoples’ communities.”
How good is that!
Currently only 7 West Australian local governments present their information in a searchable format. I would like the City of Bayswater to become the eighth and will move the following motion at the next council meeting for deliberation:
“That the City of Bayswater publishes its planning data either in a machine readable format which is searchable by PlanningAlerts, or develops a ‘web scraper’ in order to present the City’s planning data in a format PlanningAlerts can use.”
When this item comes to council it will detail the simplest and most cost effective option, and then council will decide whether the benefits outweigh the cost/time in implementing this.
I believe it is a great opportunity for the City. Community consultation is an important role of local government. The objective is surely to get the views from an impacted section of the community, in order to assist with the decision making. And a component of this is making the City’s information more accessible and usable.
If you think PlanningAlerts would be of benefit to you or the wider community please feel free to comment below.
Current Planning application advertising
Clause 64 of the deemed provisions for local planning schemes states that local governments may use one or more of the following when required to advertise an application for development approval: notifying owners and occupiers in the vicinity, an advert in a newspaper, electronic means and/or erecting a sign on the subject land.
My understanding is that the City of Bayswater uses different methods depending on the type of application. I am not suggesting we abandon any of the above advertising, merely that we include PlanningAlerts. However I would like a more regimented/documented method/matrix for how planning advertising should be conducted for the different types of applications; and at whose cost – the applicant’s or the City’s. I will raise this when debating my motion.
Power to the people.
(Please be aware that these views are my own and have not been endorsed by the City of Bayswater)