Council Uses Google Earth to Plan
Hartlepool planning applications committee currently uses Google Earth to make decision on new developments during the pandemic.
10:04 12 October 2020
Hartlepool councillors are currently using Google Earth in making decisions about planning applications during the Covid-19 pandemic while council chiefs look for better solutions.
Prior to the pandemic, Hartlepool Borough Council's Planning Committee make site visits to see the area in question before making a decision. To adhere to the social distancing protocols currently in place, the planning committee has held some virtual site visits using Google Earth technology.
However, the technology did not help with recent requests for the application for fencing and sheds as part of the Meadowcroft Mews development because it does not have an up-to-date view of the site.
Kieran Bostock, council assistant director for place management, said: “While legally I think we can undertake site visits as part of the workplace, we’ve got to consider reputationally what we’re doing as an authority as well.
“If we’re telling people not to meet in groups of more than six, advising against non essential travel, and then we’re seen to be out there in a group, so we’ve got to be mindful of that.
“I’m proposing to bring a paper to be discussed at the next committee meeting with a range of options of how we take site visits forward.”
Cllr Stephen Akers-Belcher added: “Surely there must be another way of doing this rather than everyone getting on a bus in a group, because you’re right, it’s not good from a reputational point of view, but I think there are other methods which can be used.”