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Monitoring the changing face of the high street

Exemplar Award Winner - Runner Up NLPG NSG Exemplar Award ‘Integration Award’ 2010: Chorley Council

As the current economic climate continues to bite, one of the most visible impacts is the changing face of many high streets and town centres. Traditional and well known high street brands are disappearing to be replaced with coffee bars, nail salons, value shops or, as is becoming increasingly common, with nothing at all.

Following an exercise to match data from the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) with council held Non Domestic Rates (NDR) records, Chorley Council realised that commercial premises data held in the LLPG could be utilised by other teams within the council, specifically the Town Centre Management team.

The initial stage of the project was to improve the match rate between VOA data and the LLPG, from an initial 66% of an estimated 3,000 properties to 100%. There was also a requirement to improve the quality of address data in support of the ‘One Chorley, One Address, One Boundary’ policy. Phase two of the project aimed to exploit the link, established in phase one, between the two databases, providing the Town Centre Management team with additional intelligence on property occupancy, type of vacancies and space available.

Outcomes

Phase one of the project was successfully completed, with Chorley Council achieving a 100% match rate between the VOA data and their LLPG. This, in turn, has resulted in consistent address records used not only by the NDR team but also within the council’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution and, via a search facility on Chorley’s Intranet service, by other departments and service delivery areas. The project has also improved the quality and currency of commercial premise data held within the LLPG, helping to cement its position as a corporate resource for address related information within the council.

Linking the NDR database with the LLPG, through the use of the Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN), enabled the second stage of the project to provide the Town Centre Management team with commercial property data. The Town Centre Management team can now access specific fields contained within the NDR database using a specially developed web application. Details such as the business name of the property, type of property and property state are being used to monitor vacancies within the town centre and proactively target potential tenants, based on the type of properties that are vacant and the available floor space. The Team has also improved the accuracy of information available to interested tenants. Changes in the profile of the town centre can also be tracked over time.

Savings and gains in efficiency have also been achieved as a direct result of this project. A number of properties not on the NDR database, and therefore not paying rates, have been identified, and the dayto-day administration of the NDR database has been greatly reduced. Prior to the data integration, it could take the Town Centre Management team weeks to collate the statistical information they required; in fact the council was quoted £5,000 for the creation of a bespoke solution offering the same service as that provided by the LLPG which is effectively free of charge.

Key benefits

  • An increase in revenue
  • 100% match rate between VOA data and LLPG enabling improvements in both the quality and consistency of address data across the council
  • Intelligence to aid informed decision making in support of Chorley Council’s corporate strategy to ‘Create a thriving town centre’
  • Generation of regular statistical reports to monitor town centre vacancies and support a proactive campaign to target new tenants
  • Development of a web application to facilitate access to commercial premise data that can be deployed across other service areas within the council

View from the authority

“This project shows the true value of the NLPG, taking it beyond its role as a simple address repository and turning it into a valuable resource that can be used to link property intelligence across an organisation.”

-Colin Halliday, LLPG and GIS Officer, Chorley Council

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