Support for development shouldn't be unconditional - 52M Consulting Limited

Support for development shouldn't be unconditional

Support for controversial-yet-critical infrastructure should exist for the right reasons.


Uncritical, blanket support for development can be unhelpful.

Instead, it's best when people come together to express support for the right development in the right place, even if that support comes with caveats and strings attached.

For instance, Wave 27 of the BEIS Public Attitudes Tracker found that 83% of respondents support solar power. However, if you're trying to secure planning permission for a solar farm somewhere, you don't want 83% of local people backing your scheme just because they are ideologically wedded to the idea of boosting renewable energy capacity, you want them to support it because you've selected an appropriate site, because your scheme can be sensitively accomodated in the local landscape, AND because it will deliver on the ambition to build more low carbon, distributed energy.


Because support for support's sake is easy to knock.

Opponents of your development (and, let's face it, it's virtually impossible to build any new infrastructure in the UK without upsetting someone, so there are always going to be some people that will be prepared to resist your proposals) will dismiss any obvious signs of local support if they think it's offered unquestioningly.

Yes, it's really important to find and motivate local supporters to engage with the democratic decision-making processes embedded in the planning system, and to encourage them to speak up publicly and respond to public consultations so that those that decide the outcome of planning applications receive positive representations not just a deluge of objections. But it's just as important to ensure that they support it for the right reasons.

That means being careful to explain the specific benefits of your proposals and any mitigation measures that you've devised in order to make them an acceptable fit.

You want informed supporters that can articulate their reasons for that support - they'll stand out by a mile compared to people that oppose your plans for the sake of it.


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  • 52m Consulting
    published this page in Blog 2019-01-09 10:38:06 +0000