Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Value of Consulting Local Communities

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Value of Consulting Local Communities

Article excerpt

Byline: KEVAN CARRICK

IT must be the reporting season! Last week I highlighted the latest Centre for Cities report which called on local enterprise partnerships to pick up the pace and this week I want to highlight the recently published RICS Land and Society Commission report which makes recommendations on how the property industry can support local communities.

While the commission is independent of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the professional body did establish it to look at how the property industry can support local communities to take on additional powers and responsibilities under Government''s plans for localism in England.

Its 24 recommendations describe a radical new basis for the relationship between the property industry and local communities to help to deliver increased and better development.

They are something that all of us providing professional services within the property sector should heed.

Chaired by Trevor Beattie, former director of placemaking at the Homes and Communities Agency and onetime director of corporate strategy at English Partnerships, the commission''s call for evidence generated 38 written submissions and a further 25 publications and research reports.

It held eight formal evidence sessions involving 27 expert witnesses, plus a series of follow-up meetings and a workshop for 32 community activists.

Evidence to the commission highlighted the need for greater cooperation between developers and communities, with a view to dismissing preconceptions that community involvement can hinder private sector investment. The commission found that by consulting communities before initiating proposals, developments could be constructed more sustainably and to a higher specification.

Other recommendations include the need to re-examine the role of local authority planning officers - recommending they move away from the town hall and into their local communities. …

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