Online consultation isn't just about making it easier for the community to have their say - it's also about making life easy for planners and developers

Here are three ways in which our platform can help reduce project risks, save time and overcome common challenges in the planning process:

Digital engagement attracts greater levels of community support

In practice, consultations that require people to dedicate more than a few minutes to get involved are dominated by those with more spare time and natural motivation, which tends to be driven by a perceived threat to their wealth, livelihood or community cohesion. In practice, this means that face-to-face consultations tend to attract a greater proportion of people whose aim is to protect the status quo and very few people of working age or with young children, who tend to be those that can benefit from new homes, employment opportunities and transport infrastructure that change can bring.

By providing a smartphone-compatible, easy-to-use, unintimidating and well-curated environment for people to have their say in a matter of seconds in the comfort of their own home, the consultation attracts more input from younger, busier people who need the new homes, jobs and infrastructure that built environment projects can enable.

The Participatr platform can be used to quickly mobilise advocates in the community to support the proposals during statutory processes, by sending a simple email blast with step-by-step instructions on how to demonstrate their support for the plans to decision-makers.

Early-stage engagement reduces planning risks

Our digital platform enables effective early-stage 'issues and opportunities' engagement that can help the project team understand broad community aspirations, issues and ideas for a place, before plans are formulated. People can pin ideas, issues or suggestions to an interactive map of their place or cast their vote in simple polls and surveys to indicate their preferences on design principles and what the plans should deliver for the community.

By capturing this deep community insight at an early-stage, without prejudicing opinions on formative plans that come forward in the future, it gives the design team a more robust evidence base for change. The project team can then respond directly to local aspirations in the first iteration of the plans, making it far less likely that retrospective technical work will be needed to respond to key local issues at a later stage.

Because the plans are better informed from an early-stage, they are much more likely to get a positive reception when the community is asked for their thoughts on them. This community support can then be demonstrated in the planning application and to those making a decision on the plans.

Capturing feedback digitally speeds up analysis and reporting

By capturing feedback and contact details digitally, and providing tools for the project team to input and process 'analogue' feedback, the speed of the analysis and reporting process is dramatically increased and the labour required is dramatically reduced. This means a timely planning submission and a lower overall time and financial requirement for consultation from start to finish.

To find out more about how our digital engagement platform can make your life easier, please Get in touch.

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