Natural Neighbourhoods Coverage

We are using the LGA’s natural neighbourhoods to define the areas within Blackburn as URIs. This will support the OR coverage API but we wondered whether there might be a new API function which accepts a post code and returns the polygon that it is included in. Ideally we would also be able to submit the type of polygons so that we can focus on natural neighbourhoods rather than get the SOA et al back.
This will allow the user to provide a post code of their choice without needing to know what neighbourhood it is actually in.

I can’t see specific Blackburn areas defined in Natural Neighbourhoods. Do let me know what they are if they’re defined yet. However, the principle applies whether using custom areas or administrative ones.

These are the wards of Blackburn with Darwen so if you wanted to say that a services is restricted to people with a postcode in the “West Pennine” ward, you’d give it a service area with the URI of (or and an extent given by

What I think you need is a function that says: tell me what wards (or areas of other types) a postcode sits within. For official areas, Mapit does this, so postcode this Mapit link shows that postcode “BL7 0EG” sits within:

  • West Pennine ward
  • Rossendale and Darwen Parliament constituency
  • North Turton parish
  • Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council

So I’d envisage you searching service areas for these four areas and possibly England plus services with no area constraints.

If you need the Natural Neighbourhoods tool to perform a similar function to Mapit but also including Natural Neighbourhoods areas, let me know and I’ll bring this up with the LGA. Also, advise examples of areas you have created or you’d like the LG Inform Plus team to help you create.

Of course some directory providers might support this search using geospatial features and area extents within their own databases.

I hope that helps but keep asking if it didn’t. :grinning:

Here’s a fuller explanation as to how we see Service Coverage working, now the Local Government Association’s (LGA’s) API supports using postcodes.

A /services API call with the coverage=PostCode parameter should return all services that can be used by someone resident at the postcode. To do this, we’d expect a directory to find services with no service_area records and services whose service areas include the specified postcode. A directory can hold (in the “extent” field) the geographical polygon defining a service area or it can just hold the URI from which the polygon can be looked up.

To check a postcode falls within an area, we’d expect to check if the postcode’s centroid comes within the geographical polygon.

There are external services that can help with this.

MapIt from MySociety will show the main administrative areas within which a postcode come. It has an API to provide the same information. So returns the areas around postcode BB1 8DX.

The LGA’s LG Inform Plus API does the same but with a wider range of areas or for specific types of area. Here are some sample calls:


  1. Area type SCoverW was created within the LGA’s Natural Neighbourhoods open data tool for areas comprising multiple electoral wards. One such area is Blackburn North, which was created to define coverage areas relevant to the Blackburn with Darwen services directory. Any registered user or the LG Inform Plus support team. Registration is free.
  2. The LGA’s API requires a key that anyone can request and is only charged for use with very large volumes of data. The data can be accessed in other machine-readable formats without a key.