Elections 2018: The growing importance of Community Consultation
As the build up to the London elections continues and party manifestos are being announced, Chris Rumsey discusses how the elections in May are already affecting the expectation around community engagement and pre-application consultation.
With just over a month to the borough-wide elections in London, naturally attention has turned to how the property industry might be different after 3 May. In the world of stakeholder engagement and community consultation the simple answer is that no matter who wins, across all boroughs there is a growing demand for developers to carry out extensive and transparent community engagement for all development projects.
We are expecting a strong push for more (and earlier) consultation in the major parties manifestos, as this has been a fixture in the narrative from political stakeholders across London in the last year. Long gone are the days when politicians will be satisfied with a tick box public exhibition three weeks before submission of a major planning application.
With development at the forefront of the political agenda, residents are more informed about the planning process than ever before and have high expectations about how they will be involved. Councils are placing greater emphasis on applicants to demonstrate how community feedback has been taken on board and we are provide clients with a range of ways to meet this expectation – with door knocking, canvassing, community workshops and design charrettes now common features of pre-application engagement.
Consultation is something developers shouldn’t be afraid of and presents exciting opportunities to improve your reputation with local stakeholders and communities. Understanding local issues and the community’s needs ahead of a pre-app meeting can be a huge benefit. It’s important to have a clear idea on the potential ‘wins’ for the local community and go into a public consultation with an open mind about where it might be possible to take on board resident feedback and make changes.
Effective consultation will help generate support for your planning application by actively responding to concerns and identifying supporters, as well as mitigating the number of potential objections. Taking your relationship with local residents seriously will also be rewarded by positive relations with amenity groups, ward councillors and senior politicians – ensuring your reputation in the borough is protected.
We have an award-winning track record of delivering comprehensive community engagement and advising clients with a bespoke approach for their site.
Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about the impact of the local elections and how we can assist with your public consultation.