News: 22 June 2018Listen to the public first

A major new opinion poll commissioned by the Capital Club in partnership with our team, that was published in the House of Commons this week, has shown that members of the public support more house building in their local area. It also indicated that the majority have never contributed to the planning process.

The nationwide survey conducted by Survation questioned a cross-section of the UK population to get their views on new housing, the planning process and how people would like to get their voices heard when it comes to new housing in their local area.

The survey's findings reveal that:

  • Less than a quarter of people have ever contributed to the planning process. But almost two-thirds of people would like to do so.
  • People who are older, wealthier and a homeowner are much more likely to engage in the planning process.
  • People agree we need more homes and they want to see more affordable homes built in their local area.
  • And the survey demonstrated that early engagement is sought. 84% of people believe that it is important that “before making decisions on housing and planning development the government and local authorities seek out views from a broad representative sample of the local population.”

Commenting on the findings, the Co-Chair of the Capital Club Paul Smith said:

“These findings should act as a wakeup call to all those in the planning and development sector. Members of the public – the silent majority – are crying out for their voice to be heard in the planning process. The challenge for developers and local authorities is how this can be done in a meaningful way. Taking a methodical approach to gauging local opinion is an essential first step.”

The survey was carried out in partnership with our team to build on a similar survey that we polled in 2014 as part of our shortlisted Wolfson Economics Prize entry.

Addressing an audience of MPs, local councillors and property professionals in the House of Commons, Partner Paul Newton said: “By polling a cross section of the Country’s population on general development matters, their experience of engaging with the planning system, and questioning their appetite to be involved in delivering change in their communities, there is a clear picture emerging.

 

“It is for example, heartening to see that the perception of need has grown significantly since our review in 2014, as has the opportunity housing delivery has to tackle homelessness and affordability within our communities. There is also a clear desire to engage in the system at some level. As an industry however, we need to consider how we can collectively respond to the perceived ‘lack of influence’ in the decision-making process which is clearly a major barrier to people becoming actively involved. Helpfully this new research provides us with a few pointers and we look forward to driving the discussion more widely as to how we can go about doing this.”

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