Imagine walking among the beautiful scenery of one of England’s national parks. You’re surrounded by hills, forests, streams and wildlife and fresh country air is filling your lungs. What’s the next thought that pops into your head? – it’s probably not planning applications!
For many public sector organisations that manage areas of parkland, that’s one of the daily challenges that comes with managing the scenic parts of our landscape. The Northumberland National Park Authority (NNPA) spend much of their time managing planning applications for 405 square miles of fantastic countryside. The park itself ranges from Hadrian’s wall, Kielder Water and Forest Parkand the Cheviot Hills. Here is the visitors guide for more information.
For the NNPA, their specific challenge has been to efficiently managing addressing data within the planning application system that covers the property within the park. This is a task that must sometimes seem as large as the park itself! Due to inconsistencies and the use of non-standard addressing, a manual process has been developed which has led to increased resources being required to manage a difficult manual process.
Thankfully, Ordnance Survey has a solution for these type of address and location challenges in the shape of the AddressBase products. These make use of unique property reference numbers (UPRNs to those in the know), which make the ‘look-up’ of address based data more precise and allow better interaction with other address based data resources. In the case of Northumberland Park these include planning history, property planning information and other business data.
Using a combination of AddressBase Plus and OS MasterMapTopography Layer, the NNPA created a new planning application system, allowing them to easily locate a planning application on a map and to select and use the address in a standard format, allowing its use with other useful data.
Access to Ordnance Survey’s products is made possible for public sector organisations through the Public Sector Mapping Agreement, which licenses digital products to public sector organisations to support the provision of public services, including the management of national parks.
Using AddressBase data has not only saved us time in the planning process but it’s also enabled us to achieve things we’ve never done before. Ed Hudspeth, GIS Officer Northumberland National Park Authority
Using AddressBase Plus, the NNPA has been able to standardise all its planning applications work, saving considerable amounts of time/resource. This standardised approach also allowed the park authority to link a location to additional data including broadband speed, local phone coverage, the amount of insulation in the building and the potential for using solar energy, improving the value of this location data.
As well as improving planning, using AddressBase Plus has also allowed the NNPA to carry out new activities, improving the way it communicates with residents and businesses within the park. Using building classification information, they have been able to identify tourism and accommodation providers; improving the targeting of their marketing activities to organisations that interact with visitors to the area.