The involvement and support of the local community is crucial to the success of any development and we are committed to working with local people, community groups, and parish and local authorities while our schemes go through the planning process. We aim to keep all members of the communities in which we build up to date with what is happening, what has changed and what we will be doing next − both during the planning process and after we have started construction on-site.
A community consultation event for a proposed development in Stone Cross, East Sussex.
I applaud your company for their continuing communication with the residents and local authorities. I am not certain whether this is a policy for dealing with this one site or whether your company has now moved into the era of communication requirements that we have always dreamed of but I am clear that this model, which works for all and should be upheld as that which developers should emulate, is to be applauded. Long may it continue to all our benefits!
We pride ourselves on the in-depth local knowledge that our employees within our regional offices have of the areas we build in. We aim to inform, consult and work with local people to plan and design developments that balance the needs of our business with those of our residents and local communities. We recognise that local communities do not always welcome housing developments in their area and we believe that open communication between us and local people can help with this. Achieving planning permission efficiently and consistently is crucial to our business strategy and we are committed to putting the community at the centre of this process. We acknowledge that we do not always get it right but look to continually learn from our experience and to do it better next time.
Involving both individuals and organisations within communities helps us to understand and manage the effects of our developments. We have developed a framework for community engagement (including our customers) which provides guidance for each step of the process. It looks at:
- the research we should carry out;
- the most effective consultation methods, and how and when to assess and respond to consultation feedback; and
- how we continue to work alongside communities and our customers after we have begun construction – what information we should give people, and how and at what point in our programme it is best to give them this information.
Building sites can cause noise, dust and other disturbances so it is important that we have systems in place to reduce inconvenience to our neighbours throughout the construction period. Many of our schemes take years to complete and during this time we often become involved in community development and local clubs, events and activities.
We regularly work with local schools to help children understand that building sites are dangerous places and never somewhere to play. Our site managers often visit schools or schoolchildren and their teachers may visit site managers on their developments to learn how to stay safe near building sites. For example, we recently ran a poster campaign about health and safety with pupils at Chidham Parochial Primary School. Beth Brown’s winning poster is now on display at our Lion Park development near Chichester in West Sussex.