Tag Archives: localgov

Planning Applications for WordPress: New Plugin

It was great to hear last week of the progress Chris and his team at OpenlyLocal have made on resurrecting Planning Alerts.

Thanks to their efforts we now have a site where we can view planning alerts for each council across the country. Not all councils are there yet, but it’s a great start.

As expected, the applications are available as XML, JSON and GeoRSS, which made it easy for me to – in two hours – produce a WordPress plugin that allows any self-hosted WordPress site to display a widget of recent planning applications.

You can download the plugin right now from WordPress.org. If you fancy contributing, it’s also on Github.

At the moment, there’s just the widget. I plan to add the ability to add lists of planning applications into posts and pages, as well as maps pinpointing each application.

Comments welcome!

Think open data is just the realm of geeks? Not in Lichfield…

This is partly the reason why I love Lichfield so much. Our council CEO recently joined Twitter and was last night tweeting (much revered) webmaster, Stuart Harrion;

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/Ninadawesldc/status/133285420699095042″]

Where else do you get a council chief exec tweeting her webby on a Sunday evening about the Open Government License?!

Fantastic!

Filming Council Meetings: For and Against

At yesterday’s LocalGovCamp I led a session which attempted to come up with a good round-up of the arguments for and against filming of council meetings.

We did a good job and there’s still room for more additions. I’ve used the excellent wrangl.com to show what we came up with and allow the debate to continue.

Big thanks to John Popham who video the session:

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWNIJrtVW-A]

John rather nicely interviewed me about the session as well!

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRkWqO_cu1I]

Blogger arrested for filming council meeting

As if it wasn’t bad enough that the Police arrest hobbyists for taking photos of public events they’re now arresting bloggers for filming council meetings.

While my request to film council meetings in Lichfield was met with no resistance it seems some councillors seem to be living in an entirely different reality.

I’ll be writing to my MP to ask him for a statement from Eric Pickles about the incident following Pickles’ advice to local government to allow local bloggers to film council meetings.

Update: it turns out that the guidance given to councils by Erick Pickles means absolutely jack shit in Wales, which I find hilarious and infuriating at the same time.

Defamation – Case Law: Derbyshire County Council v Times Newspapers Ltd

Held, dismissing the appeal, that since it was of the highest public importance that a democratically elected governmental body should be open to uninhibited public criticism, and since the threat of civil actions for defamation would place an undesirable fetter on the freedom to express such criticism, it would be contrary to the public interest for institutions of central or local government to have any right at common law to maintain an action for damages for defamation; and that, accordingly, the plaintiff was not entitled to bring an action for libel against the defendants, and its statement of claim would be struck out

So there is your case law against Councils bringing defamation actions. This one is against a newspaper, it’d be interesting to see whether a council ever tries to bring action against a blogger or hyperlocal.

Update: Meeja Law reports on an ongoing dispute between hyperlocal news site Ventnor Blog and Isle of Wight Council.