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The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 states that public sector websites must publish content in an accessible format. 

The Local Plan is under review and is currently at examination stage and as such there are multiple documents required to support the review and examination process. Many of these documents are in inaccessible PDF format.

Benefits of creating an accessible version

The benefits of creating an HTML version of these PDFs would be:

  • a fully accessible version for all users to access
  • an easily searchable and indexable version


Most of the documents are in excess of 20 pages and contain multiple images, graphs and/or tables. It is estimated that these documents would take an average of 4 hours to convert to HTML, there are 122 documents published post September 2018 associated with the examination process, an estimate of 488 working hours (13.2 weeks) for 1 FTE officer.

Other factors

Due to the nature of this content, they are required to be made available within a strict time frame and in a prescribed format in line with the Planning Inspectorate’s requirement.

Analytics on the individual pdfs is not available however the pages containing pdfs made up 0.01% of total unique page views from September 2018 to September 2021.

Many of the documents made available to the examination process have been submitted by 3rd parties and as such are not able to be converted to HTML.


Our priority over the last 18 months has been to build our new website to improve accessibility for all sections. The officer time to convert all the documents in a timely manner to meet the requirements of the examination process has been deemed disproportionate.

Training in producing accessible PDFs for the team involved in the production of the documents was not possible early on in the process due to both their workload and the Coronavirus pandemic. Training has subsequently been carried out.

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