Residents of east London housing estate to debate and vote on masterplan using interactive TV and internet
Residents on a housing estate in Stratford, east London, are to use interactive television to take part in a public consultation on a Broadway Malyan masterplan for the area.

Carpenter's Connect, a bespoke interactive television system, has been installed by Newham council in 590 homes on the Carpenter's Estate, which consists of three tower blocks and 120 low-rise flats.

Residents will be able to examine five possible redesigns of their estate using community television channels or the internet.

They will be able to vote for their favoured option through a community website, or post their comments on a chatroom site.

In addition, five fly-on-the-wall documentaries will be aired to inform residents about the masterplanning process.

Newham council's final decision is to be made after an assessment of the views arising from the consultation.

This way we can really widen the consultation process

Ian Mills, Newham council

A project source said the consultation had already had an impact on the masterplan. The source said that the council had planned to refurbish the three tower blocks, but that residents had suggested that they might be demolished and replaced.

The project is part of the government's e-democracy programme, which is designed to give people access to local community information over the internet. It is funded by the Department for Education and Skills' Wired Up Communities project.

Newham council said that the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister was interested in adopting interactive television technology as a delivery vehicle. The ODPM is in talks with English Partnerships about expanding the scheme into other parts of the UK.

Ian Mills, renewals manager at Newham council said: "This is a way we can really widen the consultation process so that we can involve as many people as possible. That way it doesn't come as a surprise when the final option is decided."

Becky Earnshaw, project manager for the e-democracy programme, said she hoped to see the pilot technology used by other councils.