Localism will devolve power to local communities, particularly at a neighbourhood level. This means developers must get their community engagement right. This will mean changes in timing and changes in approach.
On timing, consulting after a proposal has already been worked up in some detail may be too late. Once the Localism Bill receives royal assent it will be compulsory for developers to consult communities on certain types of development before an application is submitted.
Getting sustainable development on the ground will be secured by those who forge relationships with local people, and engage community leaders.
On approach, it will be much more about meaningful engagement rather than tick box consultation. This is particularly true as we move in to an era with a presumption in favour of sustainable development. The most successful developer will be those who engage with local communities, and decision makers to get communities to say “yes” to sustainable growth.
These changes in practice and approach may be challenging, but there are many creative tools already out there.
If you are a developer and are looking to re-vamp your community engagement approach, or you just want to know more about the changes you could try give us a call on 01282 872570, or simply send your questions to Mick.
Kirkwells have been past winners of a Royal Town Planning Institute Award for community engagement, click here.
©Kirkwells Town Planners and Sustainable Development Consultants based at the Lancashire Digital Technology Centre in Burnley www.kirkwells.co.uk
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