Planning Alerts: community scrapers ahoy!Posted: May 10, 2012
This post is by Andrew Speakman, who’s coordinating OpenlyLocal‘s planning application work.
We can now report good progress on our plan to develop community scrapers to underpin the new incarnation of PlanningAlerts.com. The plan applies to those councils that use non-standard planning systems and our latest estimate is that there are around 100 of these sites.
There are now 13 successful working scrapers with more on the way and some of the £75 bounties have already been paid out. The data from these scrapers is being regularly uploaded into OpenlyLocal using the Scraperwiki API, and you can see the results here with Crawley Council:
The list of the authorities being scraped by this method is as follows:
- East Sussex
- Isle of Wight
- Nuneaton and Bedworth
- Telford and Wrekin
This is still very much a work in progress, and those in the above list that we’ve linked to are all running well and helping collect up-to-date planning applications with locations, and as soon as we turn on the alerts system (currently being tested), will start sending out email alerts.
There are also some councils that although we’re importing the data for we won’t yet be able to send alerts for – an example is Wokingham from the above list – because they do not include postcodes in the planning application details and our location coding is based on postcodes to ensure our data is fully open. If anyone from authorities such as Wokingham wants to rectify this situation, we’re more than happy to work with them.
If you want to get involved in helping scrape the UK’s planning data and building an open database of planning applications for the whole of the UK, contact me at email@example.com. Further details about data fields and the available planning authorities are defined in this shared Google spreadsheet.