25 October 2018 

Reaching the wider community

By William Mendoza

Engagement with the community has now been an integral part of the planning process in London for a number of years. Working with the community helps to build a narrative behind the development that can be crucial to winning the support of politicians and decision makers alike. Councillors need to justify their actions in sanctioning development in the face of possible opposition. However, building this story can be challenging in communities where the same old voices bang the NIMBY drum.   

It goes without saying that good public consultation wins you a favourable reputation. But this is not always enough; Cascade uses consultation in a strategic and effective manner to reach the wider community to unlock advocates for your scheme. Community engagement must seek to reach the wider community, from younger professionals to London’s transient renters.

This can be achieved in a number of ways, from promoting community benefits to the breadth of consultation and how you reach the local community.  Cascade unlocked the support of a grassroots campaign for a mixed-use scheme including a new school at the Old Southwark Fire Station. By taking part in workshops and local community events, we identified local parents who were integral to lobbying Southwark Council and City Hall to support the proposals to achieve a new local school.  The location of the events can help tap into the wider community, Cascade used pop-up events on Bromley High Street for a town centre regeneration scheme to reach out to both residents and town centre users.

As residents continue to become more knowledgeable of the planning process and the importance of their role within it, it is becoming ever more imperative to win the support of potential advocates that do not usually respond to tick-box community consultation. At Cascade, we are primed to explore innovative consultation techniques to reach the wider community.

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