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Social media emerges as key area for planning consultations

Published: Thursday, 29th September 2016

New report highlights the growing importance of social media as a way for property developers to engage with the public as part of the consultancy process…

A report from communications consultancy Remarkable Group and pollster YouGov has highlighted the growing importance of social media as a key area for planning consultation, with 60 per cent of local authority members arguing that property developers should be using it to engage with the public.

Over 1,400 councillors across Britain were asked their opinions on social media, and how they see it developing in relation to planning consultation.

Of those asked, 75 per cent said that social media was an ‘important’ or ‘very important’ engagement tool, while over half (54 per cent) believed that social media carried a ‘great deal’ or ‘quite a lot’ of weight in the consultation process currently.

Some 60 per cent of councillors believe property developers should be using social media to engage with the public, an opinion which is held by the majority within all three of the main political parties.

However, evidence suggested that many developers are not yet making social media a key component of their consultancy processes. Arguably, this was due to concern that social media could become a platform for “negativity”.

Over one third (34 per cent) believed public responses gathered via social media should be included as a part of a Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) and 74 per cent believe responses gathered via social media would add value when reviewing planning applications.

According to the survey, traditional methods such as community meetings and public exhibitions are still regarded as the most valuable method of public consultation by local councillors. However, social media was expected to increase rapidly in importance over the next three years (60 per cent of respondents believed this) and much more so than traditional methods.

View the findings from Remarkable Group.

Roger Milne