Moving from beta to live

Following the launch of our beta site in March, just before lockdown hit us and disrupted many of our plans, we’re now busily working much more actively on StreetFocus again!

We’re working towards a launch in April, with some tidying-up likely in May/June in response to user feedback.

The key areas of work remaining are:

  • Critically, to make the planning applications map fast. Currently the planning applications map works but can take 20 seconds to appear, which is unacceptably slow. This is because no work has yet been done to optimise the massive database from which this database appears, by setting up a more specific replicated database dedicated to StreetFocus. This is a significant piece of work, and typical of the kind needed when moving from a beta project (where the principles have been successfully demonstrated) to a public release (where everything must be polished and fast).
  • Enabling of the ‘planning alerts’ feature. Currently the user interface to enable people to subscribe to planning alerts about their area is in place, but it is not activated. There is remaining work to be done to deal fully with the subscription logic.
  • Add support for integrating third party ‘ideas’ data sources, e.g. ideas maps from Local Authority systems (subject to licensing conditions, as unfortunately many such systems are not yet openly-licensed data). These would then appear on the ideas map, which tries to match ideas with planning applications.
  • Ability for local groups, to add their own projects directly to the ideas map. For instance, residents’ associations and campaign groups have their own databases of ideas. Currently the beta site ideas map pulls data only from our own website Cyclescape, by way of a proof of concept, but we want to expand this. This has been requested during our beta feedback.

Let us know if you have ideas that we can incorporate!

We hope shortly to announce some new funding towards the site, for which we are grateful, subject to confirmation.