Helping stakeholders *SEE* the benefits of development

The people who live and work in the communities that could be affected by your development proposals need to *SEE* the benefits to them and others.


For the most part, they won't be familiar with the sort of complex documents that make up a modern-day planning application - especially if it includes an Environmental Statement (as part of an Environmental Impact Assessment) and/or is associated with a simultaneous application for environmental permits.

Even the supposed 'non-technical summary' of the development will still appear technical to many people.

And because it all focuses on meeting the stipulated requirements of planning and permitting laws, it doesn't typically address the things that residents and neighbouring businesses most want to know, in an accessible and easy-to-digest format - like answering the perennial question: "what's in it for me?"

There's a lot to be gained from making an effort to correct this in order to better communicate the benefits of your scheme.

Here's how.

Firstly, think about your development in terms of these three dimensions that people will want to SEE: Social, Environmental and Economic.

Then, for each one, provide a brief summary of the benefits that will accrue locally, regionally, nationally and (for some schemes) globally.

For ease of understanding, this is best presented in the form of a simple matrix.

There are two main advantages of this approach: stakeholders that are unaccustomed to poring over masses of legalese in planning documents can easily get the sense that it's intentionally impenetrable (even though it's not) which can lead to a lack of trust; and people often make snap judgements (it's how our brains are wired) and you don't want them misinterpreting something in your planning submission that could have been avoided simply by making it clearer.

As we've pointed out before on our blog, stakeholder populations are far from homogenous. Presenting the benefits of your scheme like this should help to demonstrate that there's something in it for everyone.