Slow down to speed up: How planners think that approval can be sped up

“Getting through the system” is what it’s all about, but that simple statement belies the complexity and challenges of planning. Where better than at the Planning Summit to get to the bottom of this question? Last month Commonplace hosted a roundtable with a group of fantastically experienced and energetic planners.

Many people felt that pressure to speed up planning application processing was masking a bigger problem. The pre-application process has often been conducted exclusively by the applicant, missing out on support they could have enjoyed from planners, and better community engagement.

“I wish developers would engage properly at pre-planning” said one participant, “we’d save them a huge amount of time and cost down the line”.

This is never more important than in community engagement. Easily avoided delays, or worse, can be mitigated with early, high quality engagement. Commonplace provides a service to achieve exactly this, enabling discourse based on greater trust. A more nuanced picture emerges, including trade-offs that make local communities more accepting of the development.

Commonplace also presented a case study from Havant (Hampshire) - a proposed housing development on a greenfield site. Engagement on Commonplace worked alongside a series of charrettes by Levitt-Bernstein Architects. Commonplace data gave the architects a clear indication of local concerns before the events, and significantly broadened participation compared to the numbers attending the events.

As one workshop participant noted, “In planning, applicants need to slow down to speed up”. Quality, early engagement pays dividends, enabling them to create faster and more successful applications.

Mike Saunders’s presentation at the Planning Summit is available here.

David Janner-Klausner

David Janner-Klausner

Co-founder and director of Customer Success