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Collaboration, Co-curation, Co-design and Co-production: Achieving Common Ground through Engagement and Consultation in Planning and Development

Revisions to planning policy and regulation have made clear an ambition to place community at the heart of planning, development and improving neighbourhoods.

Fast forward to 2018 and the number of legal challenges by communities who feel that their right to be consulted was not sufficiently considered is increasing; crowd-funding to help those challenges reach traction is not uncommon; the number of individuals and organisations objecting to statutory planning consultations shows no sign of abating, and the sustained campaign to protect land from development – even when it is not protected, considered to be of high value, or even used by the community seeking to protect it -continues.

Successive governments have failed to ensure housing supply matches demand. After a long time of being out of the spotlight, the issue is now firmly front and centre of politician, industry and community alike.

Local Authorities have nervously published figures demonstrating a lack of supply to justify refusing planning applications which would otherwise deliver substantial numbers, or at the very least make a small dent in targets. Many of these applications progress to Appeal situations, and quite often is the cause of animosity between applicant and objector, neighbours with different viewpoints, and landowner and community.

But through a more cohesive approach, by capturing the principles of collaboration, co-working and co-operation, could a Common Ground be identified?

This paper considers the challenges faced by consultors as they seek to deliver housing numbers without compromising on viability, quality design and spaces and open spaces – as well as ensuring through best practice that those who would wish to have their voice listened to are given the opportunity to be involved in the process. It explores the current situation and provides guidance to the planning and development sector on how, by applying best practice and looking beyond the industry, the aspirational Co-Design, Co-Curation and Collaboration principles which stood out as the key take-aways from last week’s inaugural Beta Housing Conference in Manchester.

Read the paper here.

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