publicconsultation_imagePUBLIC CONSULTATION

Public consultation with local communities is now an integral part of the planning process. Although not mandatory, local authorities expect developers to have informed the public and stakeholders of their proposals, consulted with them on the plans and responded to the public’s feedback, before submitting a planning application.

RDPA can help developers engage with local communities by:

  • Producing and distributing consultation material about proposed schemes, e.g. newsletters, questionnaires/feedback and comments forms, posters and advertisements
  • Arranging and running public exhibitions, focus groups and stakeholder workshops at convenient local venues for people to find out more about the proposals
  • Designing and carrying out surveys on the proposals
  • Managing the production of a website dedicated to a proposed scheme
  • Arranging meetings between the development team and stakeholders/interested organisations
  • Publicising consultation programmes and the feedback received during the consultation process, in the local press and other media
  • Setting up and fielding a dedicated information line for members of the public to call and obtain more information about proposals

Whilst consultation with the public and stakeholders may to some extent be an imposition from government upon developers, it can bring benefits if performed with care and specialist expertise:

  • Extensive consultation can encourage active support for a planning application, which might otherwise remain latent
  • Consultation can provide an opportunity to draw the ‘sting from the tail’ of potential objectors, by giving them the chance to discuss their concerns with the development team
  • If the determining local authority feels the community and stakeholders have been comprehensively consulted on a scheme, and the developer has addressed their concerns within its submitted planning application, it can often improve the chances of the proposals being granted consent