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Revolutionising Local Plan Consultation Analysis with AI for Sevenoaks District Council

In 2023 Sevenoaks District Council launched a consultation on their draft Regulation 18 Local Plan, via their third-party consultation website. The consultation, which included proposals to meet the District’s future housing and development needs, received over 5,500 responses, many of which included comments on multiple sites or policies. Faced with such a substantial volume of comments to analyse, the council found itself in need of a more efficient solution than the weeks of costly manual analysis normally required for this kind of consultation.

Having piloted The Future Fox AI solution earlier in 2023, the council was impressed with the accuracy and efficiency provided. Consequently, they decided to commission The Future Fox to analyse their Local Plan consultation data.

The solution: AI-powered consultation analysis by The Future Fox

The Future Fox was able to use Sevenoaks’ third-party consultation website spreadsheet data to produce a coded analysis for each of the 54 sites, producing easy-to-use tables of topics and the number of comments per topic. The whole service took only 3 days, including a manual quality review by The Future Fox team. 

Example of The Future Fox's AI consultation analysis output

The reports generated by our AI service were used in a presentation to Sevenoaks’ Development and Conservation Advisory Committee on 27th of March 2024. It was noted by the planning team at Sevenoaks District Council that they would have been highly unlikely to be able to turn around the reporting in time for the meeting, had they tried to complete the analysis manually.

Time and cost savings for Sevenoaks District Council using AI consultation analysis

Sevenoaks District Council achieved significant time and cost savings. Based on their estimate of between 5 and 15 minutes per coded comment, the analysis would have taken a junior planner between 87 and 260 days, costing in the region of £8,328 - £24,996. 

By comparison, The Future Fox turned around the whole service, including a manual check, in under 3 days, for less than £5,000.

“The Future Fox helped us to analyse responses to our recent Local Plan consultation using their AI tools. They quickly understood what we required, were responsive to suggested amendments and improvements and have supported us to meet report deadlines, which would not have been possible without the use of this technology”

Hannah Gooden,

Planning Policy Team Leader,

Sevenoaks District Council

Through this work, Sevenoaks District Council not only achieved significant time and cost savings but also demonstrated the potential of AI to revolutionise stakeholder engagement. It is a glimpse into the future of public engagement, where efficiency, accuracy, and community engagement align to produce a more decisive, streamlined planning process.

#community engagement #stakeholder engagement #community and engagement #public engagement #community engagement examples #engagement with the community #plantech #AI in planning


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