Forty Shillings/Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners Planning decision making poll

A survey of local councillors on planning decision making.

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Date Published
24 Oct 2011

Further Description

75% of Councillors believe that the silent majority is overlooked in planning decisions

A ComRes poll conducted for an exclusive business breakfast hosted by Forty Shillings, Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners (NLP) and Com Res has found that 75% of Councillors believe that the silent majority is overlooked in planning decisions.

The survey undertaken to inform a breakfast seminar on Mobilising the Silent Majority for leading businesses in the development sector, also reveals that 82% of Councillors believe planning consultations only capture the views of the most vocal people.

Caroline Lawes, Research Team Manager at ComRes said: ¡§This research demonstrates the importance of public opinion in determining planning applications and that too often Councillors are only hearing the voices of the vocal minority. The development industry needs to provide robust evidence of public opinion when promoting its development schemes.

Founding Director of Forty Shillings, Wyn Evans, added:

Increasingly the challenge for developers is to identify and mobilise the silent majority. In the age of localism, developers need to stop treating consultation as a tick boxing exercise or a fluffy extra, but as an essential part of building public support through the planning process. The worlds of consumer marketing and political campaigning show how people can be brought on side to become vocal advocates and we need to start applying tactics from these disciplines to the way we promote new developments.

Matthew Spry, from Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners, added:

There is no doubt that consultation is an increasingly important part of the planning process. In this context, it is incumbent on both local planning authorities and those promoting development to ensure that their approaches to engagement are structured to capture the views of a broader and more representative sample of local residents than those who typically participate in planning, and help support judgements on policy and proposals that are truly representative of the public interest.

The ComRes research found that:
75% of Councillors believe that the silent majority is overlooked in planning decisions
82% of Councillors believe consultation only capture the views of the most vocal people
64% believe there is a lack of robust evidence of public opinion
46% are likely to more swayed by the opinions of local constituents than national or local planning policy
52% believe the National Planning Policy Framework means local authorities will have less say in local planning decisions
46% believe the National Planning Policy Framework will be adopted similar to its current form.

A report of the seminar, including the ComRes findings is available at http://nlpplanning.com/uploads/ffiles/2011/10/411102.pdf

Methodology: ComRes interviewed 416 Local Government Councillors in England and Wales online between 10th and 17th October 2011. Data was weighted to be demographically representative of all councilors in England and Wales. 

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