Nottingham City Council set to deliver 3D cityscapes thanks to £375K investment
Nottingham City Council is embarking on a journey to streamline its planning process by embracing 3D technology. With a financial boost of £375,000 from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the council is set to adopt advanced computer technology capable of rendering the cityscape in three dimensions.
This initiative is part of a larger national endeavour, a £3.2 million program encompassing 27 local planning authorities. Its purpose is to enhance the accountability and democratic nature of the planning system through the utilisation of digital tools. Nottingham’s participation will closely involve collaboration with Bradford Council in a specific pilot project.
The council’s ultimate vision is to empower applicants, planning officials, council members and the general public with the ability to view precise, lifelike images depicting the visual impact of proposed developments. This innovation holds the potential to facilitate public engagement in the planning process, amplify decision-making transparency, and expedite the transition from application submission to formal decisions.
Paul Seddon, director of planning and regeneration at Nottingham City Council, said: “3D modelling is now an embedded and fundamental part of our assessment of the impact of major development proposals. It allows us to test and identify views of these developments and to accurately predict the impact of these, while we can more easily calculate site capacity and engage in negotiations over heights and floor space.
“It has enabled us to negotiate design improvements, while the ability to hold workshops with applicants around the model has been invaluable. It gives confidence to both planning officers and applicants about the appropriateness of a development and therefore the likelihood of planning approval being granted. Proposals can be reviewed without significant costs being incurred by a prospective developer and while reducing the amount of time being spent by council officers. This provides best value and improves the efficiency of the process.”
While elements of 3D technology have already been integrated into the city’s planning procedures, this funding injection will propel these efforts significantly forward. The University of Nottingham, through its strategic Digital Nottingham initiative, is lending a hand to the city council. The long-term aspiration is for this technology, driven by the university’s Projection Augmented Relief Model (PARM), to eventually be adopted on a nationwide scale.
PARM breathes life into maps and models, enabling the visualisation of new buildings and developments in context with existing infrastructure.
Council planning spokesman Councillor Pavlos Kotsonis said: “I’m really pleased that we’ve secured this grant money and been chosen as one of a select number of councils to push forward the use of exciting new technology to enhance the planning process. We have a proven track record of successfully delivering funding bids and we look forward to working with colleagues at Bradford on this innovative project.
“We’ve been using elements of 3D technology in Nottingham for a little while now, but this will enable us to enhance and improve the way it’s harnessed. Then we can share our findings with other councils around the country. One of the key things for me is using this new mapping capability to increase public involvement in consultations because this enables us, as the planning authority, to ultimately make decisions which are fully informed and take views from all sides.”