Town hall digitises old maps to speed up officers’ work

Gosport Town Hall
Gosport Town Hall
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THE days of staff searching for old dusty linen maps in the town hall are over after the council has digitised decades’ worth of documents.

Staff at Gosport Borough Council can now search its computer system to find out details including land ownership and whether it is responsible for a certain area.

The final maps draw together decades’ worth of maps, documents and records from multiple sources.

It is part of work that has been going on for 15 years and the maps have now been fine-tuned for use by departments across the council.

Mike Glavin is the geographical information system administrator at the borough council.

‘It’s dragged together land registry information from legal, street cleansing maps, landscape management, housing all together,’ he said.

‘So we can now give a pretty good idea of whose responsibility that area of land is should something occur on it.

‘It can be things from “whose land is this wasps’ nest on that we need to get shot of?” to fly-tipping.

‘All those sorts of queries are more easily answered.’

The council has used the software system, bought from firm GGP, since 1998.

Between 2003 and 2004 the council bought licences for the software, costing a total of £40,849.

Councillor Mark Hook, the leader of Gosport Borough Council, said in one instance the council had been cutting grass for more than 40 years in an area of Elson that still belongs to the site builder.

The discovery came only after the council looked into a skip being placed in the area.

But Cllr Hook said in general it did not mean the council would stop cutting grass in particular areas, instead going to the landowner for contributions.

He said: ‘We will become more efficient – it will release officer time to do other things.

‘We will continue to do the work that we’re doing.

‘But it does make us more efficient and therefore there will be savings to be had.’

Another area of land found not to be the council’s responsibility is near the mini-roundabout at the Sealark Road and Grove Road junction, in Hardway.

Cllr Hook added: ‘You can approach the owner and ask whether they want to pass the land on to the council and we will maintain it. Or you say to the owner “it’s your responsibility” and make a charge, or make them maintain it.’