The reform of the Northern Ireland planning system places responsibility for planning decisions with local councils. Councils must demonstrate community engagement both as part of the Local Development Plan (LDP), and ongoing. A core part of this are community consultations.
A successful community consultation requires:
1) Clear and unambiguous objectives for the community consultation
2) Appropriate and actively-inclusive community consultation methods
3) A community consultation plan detailing opportunities to participate and deadlines
4) Effective publicity to ensure all groups – including hard-to- reach – have the information needed to enable participation
5) Effective communication of the outcomes of the community consultation
6) An evaluation of the success of each mechanism used, to invest in future community consultations.
Each of the above aspects are littered with pitfalls, any one of which can distract from the core purpose of the community consultation. An independent and experienced perspective can make all the difference between indisputable evidence and subjective interpretation.
The new development planning process has provided additional time in order to allow for community consultation. Stakeholder engagement enables a better-informed plan, which garners greater community support as the plan moves towards adoption.
For information on how CARD Group can assist with facilitating community consultation and research for town planning please contact Albert Hamilton at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.card-group.com. We operate throughout the UK, Ireland, the EU and globally.