Gazette readers are being invited to take part in an innovative project aimed at shaping the way important information about their neighbourhood is published in the future. KM Media Group, which publishes the Gazette, is taking part in one of 23 pilot projects across the country looking at new ways of publishing planning applications, details of road closures, changes to public rights of way and other statutory notices. We are setting up reader panels to gauge your views on how you would like to receive this information, and we would love to hear from you. You can register to take part by logging on to kentishgazette.co.uk/panel
Everyone who registers to take part will be entered into a draw to win a £50 gift voucher. The KM is working on the project in partnership with publisher Local World, Kent County Council and Canterbury City Council, Swale Borough Council, Maidstone Borough Council and Tunbridge Wells Borough Council. The pilot schemes were announced by Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. He has called for innovative approaches to be taken to both protect local newspapers and provide essential information to the public in new ways. He announced £950,000 of funding for 23 local pilot programmes as part of efforts to help councils bring their public information requirements into line with the modern media. He backed proposals from both councils and local newspaper groups which embrace new technology and innovation to improve the provision of vital information to the public.
Mr Pickles has previously defended statutory notices as an important way of ensuring that local residents are informed of decisions that affect their property and lives. He has also said public bodies must do more than provide just ‘an obscure notice’ on the depths of a council website, with local newspapers retaining a role. The pilots include collaborations between councils and local media organisations, tests of new technology such as mobile phone applications and social media, and consultations with local people over how they want to receive information. The pilots will run until the end of August.
Herne Bay Gazette, April 16th 2015