Ben Glover, the author of the report, reflects that throughout Demos’ qualitative research process, they heard that community involvement, engagement, and consultation in the housebuilding process did not happen at a sufficiently early stage. “This means residents often feel the most important decisions about a development have been taken before they are invited to comment, leaving them powerless and unable to influence the shape of the development.”
A key recommendation from the report is that pre-application consultation should be mandatory for major housing developments in England. It also draws attention to the benefit of responsive engagement, including community-led approaches to planning and development. …How to achieve this? One solution the Demos report highlights is community organising; using the work of community organiser Keith Brown with the Nationwide’s Oakfield development in Swindon as a case study.
Speaking at the launch of the report, Tony Alexander, the Commercial Lending Director of the Nationwide Building Society, said “We found that genuinely involving the local community gains their support for local developments” going on to praise the work of Keith Brown “the great community organiser” as “invaluable”; recommending that “all developers should employ organisers.”