People in Planning: Is Consultation Content the Missing Piece of the Puzzle?

Join public consultation planning expert and author, Penny Norton, and digital engagement expert, Jonathan Bradley, as they talk about the new ebook, “Considering Consultation Content: Views from the Development Industry.”

Based on Penny’s own research and interviews with key stakeholders from the development industry find out what Penny has to say about an often overlooked part of public consultation and the planning process, consultation content.

Key topics for discovery:

  • Why is content often overlooked?
  • How can the public give planning proposals intelligent consideration if they aren’t provided with the right content?
  • Who decides what the right content is?
  • Does insufficient consideration of content create distrust?
  • Do we need standards for consultation content in planning, maybe even legislation?
  • Is it possible for consultation content to have a kitemark to reassure consultees of its quality?

“This ebook has sought to create some sense and structure around the wide-ranging approaches to consultation content but there remains a need for greater clarity. Without clarity, communities’ distrust of developers will continue, and likewise, developers’ distrust of consultation. As the Grosvenor research so clearly shows, trust is at the center of the developer/community relationship and is the pivotal issue upon which success in consultation is balanced.

There is a distinct absence of guidance to assist development teams in determining the content of a planning consultation. Advice and best practice, where it does exist, tends to focus on methodologies, reach, and analysis. Although developers and planning consultants routinely meet local authority planning officers in ‘pre-app’ meetings to discuss the process of a planning application, consultation content is rarely discussed.

The developer should be ready to provide access to all information contained within the planning application and prepare to address contentious subjects – while making it very clear that comments arising will be advisory and considered in the context of technical and policy limitations.” – Penny Norton


Penny Norton, Author & Director of PNPR Limited

Penny has written extensively on the subject of consultation for property publications. Her first book, Public Consultation and Community Involvement in Planning: a twenty-first-century guide was published by Routledge in 2017. Two edited compilations, Promoting Property: insight, experience, and best practice and Communicating Construction: insight, experience, and best practice were published in 2020 and 2021.

An Associate of The Consultation Institute, Penny is an active member of tCI’s Planning Working Group and Environment Working Group. She has responded to Government consultations, written e-learning courses, and spoken at property industry events. She is also an active member of the Town and Country Planning Association and was recently consulted on the TCPA’s People, Planning, and Power Guide.

Host Region: The United Kingdom

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