Our knowledge of the planning process coupled with our understanding of unique local contexts, including the community motivations and concerns, means our strategies are locally focused, engaging and captivating.
We undertake initial extensive research of the local community to understand the local area, the key stakeholders, e.g. resident associations, businesses and nearest neighbours, and where potential issues are likely to arise. This work is essential to pre-empt objections but also to identify most likely supporters.
ENGAGING AND CONSULTING
It is absolutely essential to get out in the community and meaningfully engage with local people. Effective communication that takes on board any negative feedback and promotes the positives of the proposals is key. Engagement events, both in person and/or digital, are vitally important as they present a great opportunity to control the narrative, identify the key benefits of the scheme and put across the friendly, real faces of your organisation.
There are many other methods of engagement and consultation that can be utilised, such as one-on-one meetings with key residents, websites, regular newsletters, door-to-door canvassing or workshop events.
One important, and often overlooked, factor is ensuring that the ‘silent majority’ is heard. These are people and groups that may not traditionally get involved in an engagement process but who may be more likely to support the proposals. We will use traditional and non-traditional consultation methods to engage with and receive the opinions of these people.
It is important to maintain dialogue and engagement with all supporters and potential supporter groups to ensure their views are heard by decision makers. Evidence will also have been compiled throughout the engagement process of the level of support and feedback. Community support for the proposals and any changes made to the proposals as a result of community feedback need to be clearly articulated to decision makers.
Utilising and coordinating with local and sometimes national media can be a key advantage to any scheme. Although the press does not make planning decisions, they are vital in swaying public opinion and ensuring the correct messaging around the scheme is put out. We have excellent press contacts all over the UK and have a demonstrable track record of gaining positive media coverage.