I came across this post today about a new video by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, encouraging community residents to get involved in the planning process for local developments.
A few things caught my attention:
“everyone can comment on the proposals” and “take comments on board and where possible work them into the plans” >> An alternative would be to establish a system and culture whereby new ideas may be proposed by the community rather than present plans for the community’s reaction.
comment on planning applications formally, in writing, quoting the planning application number or address in the form of a letter or an email >> Make the process of commenting easier, have comment sections much like blog posts have comment sections. Follow up with meaningful comments and engage with local residents.
“seek to minimise the impact on the community” >> This one really worried me. I’d rather hear about positive impact on the community being maximised. Turn this around into the positive stance!
“one way is through developers contributing financially, this is then put back into your local community” >> I’m not really comfortable with developers buying the support of the local community. And once a site is developed, it is relinquished into private hands and out of community benefit. No amount of money can buy back that plot of land and the options to create an integrated, cohesive, sustainable community on it.
The video is a welcomed step in communication, but rather than marketing existing systems and practices, let’s see London boroughs changing the ways things are done, innovating with community-led, user-led development, and being a proactive partner and steward in creating sustainable communities.