AMBITIOUS developers wanting to build tower blocks can now visualise the finished project before a planning application is even submitted, thanks to a Swindon tech firm.

Landhawk, a software launched this week by The Carto Group, lets developers to see the impact of a project in 3D before they lodge a application with the planning authority.

The company, which is based at the Carriage Works and works with companies across the UK, hopes it can speed up the whole planning process by removing unnecessary workloads off overstretched planning officers.

Carto Group founder Tim Hughes told the Adver: “It will help architects work more efficiently and much more reliably.

“The results they get from using the data in Landhawk will help them plan sites quicker and be more informed about planning applications.

“You’re able to sketch out 3D buildings, so can instantly see the height and what the impact might be and where it could be seen from.”

The software uses live streams about environmental and historical concerns on parcels of land, as well as the latest planning history on site which is updated every 24 hours for the whole of the UK.

Tim added: “You’re always informed, you’re never out-of-date.

"It gives land finders some excellent intelligence in terms of helping build new developments to help the UK government meet its house-building targets. The knock-on effect is that the planning department gets fewer poor planning applications, ultimately speeding up the process.”

Recent examples where the programme could have been useful include plans to build a 12-storey block of flats on Newspaper House – the former home of the Adver – on Victoria Road, which was rejected.

And the bid for a 'science park' near Wanborough, which sparked a demonstration over its height and its effect on the landscape. That planning application, by pharmaceutical firm Wasdell, is being decided by Swindon Borough Council’s planning team.

The Carto Group has developed an augmented reality wooden map of housing projects in Swindon and is due to release a mobile app to create a map of local heritage sites this year. At the moment, the council has no plans to make use of Landhawk.