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A working street gazetteer

NSG Exemplar Award: Winner – ‘Best Performing Authority’ 2007: Southend-on-Sea Borough Council.

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council has worked hard on its gazetteer and were the best performing authority in 2007.

When Southend Borough became a unitary authority in 1998 it inherited the GIS based system originally developed by Essex County Council. It was then developed further by its outsourced contractor, to be BS7666 compliant. It has been in place for nine years providing a firm basis for LSG improvement during that time. The NSG is fully detailed with full road geometry painstakingly created from as built drawings, mapping and aerial photography. The council inputs all new roads information into the system prior to adoption so it is always up to date. The system also holds data from traffic committee reports when any traffic scheme has been passed and approved.

The value of a Local Street Gazetteer can be judged not only in terms of its currency but also by how much useful information it holds. Southend’s LSG has a wealth of Associated Street Data (ASD); information which might prove useful to anyone interested in the council’s roads and streets. The Southend LSG details whether a road is publicly maintainable; whether it has any special designation; speed limit; and reinstatement data for re-surfacing of roads. It is also used for land charge searches, enabling the council to respond promptly to solicitor’s conveyancing enquiries regarding planning and road status.

The Southend LSG is managed by the highway information team and made visible to other departments via an intranet GIS. The LSG is therefore available to the street works and maintenance department who link it with their street works application. Street works and maintenance use the application to enter details of any street works notifications received from utilities companies and those scheduled by the council itself. The highways department then validates these. Once validated the locations of scheduled street works are input into the system as polygons to show where the road works will be taking place. This can then be viewed council-wide. The system enables anyone within the council to see what is happening on the roads and what is scheduled to happen in the future.

The Best Performing Authority award is a reflection on the efforts made by Southend-on-Sea in maintaining and improving its gazetteer. Southend undertook to deliver updates to the NSG hub every month and gave it priority. Data cleansing is done as soon as compliance checks highlight errors. The system logs the scheduled time when the road works are supposed to be taking place and will send alerts if the works take longer than expected. By taking this approach Southend can keep on top of all developments and is able to ensure that their LSG is a regularly used council asset.

Outcomes

When a local press release about winning the Exemplar Award reached Anglia Television, they contacted the council to find out more. A news piece followed, which appeared on live television news on the 6th of December 2007. The piece focused on street works and explained how Southend’s LSG was helping to better coordinate street works in the Borough. The piece brought the point home… that it is not easy to coordinate street works when there are so many agencies wanting to dig up the road. Closer coordination facilitated by the council’s high quality LSG leads to saving time and money and reduces the misery of road congestion suffered by the general public. Concluding the television presenter said that the efforts made by the Borough were “a victory for common sense”.

Key benefits

  • All council information about streets and roads is available council-wide.
  • The LSG supports more than street works and is a tangible and appreciating asset.
  • The quality of the NSG underpins the LLPG to help drive better joined up government.
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