Five Top Tips For Effective Campaigning!
 
An individual application for a big new development such as a supermarket can be a complex process and it is easy to feel overwhelmed when it lands on your doorstep.  Fighting the planning case and running a campaign can be a challenge but there are 5 big principles to keep in mind:
 
1    Intelligence
In order to mount the best planning case, you need to make sure you know about an application early.  You can find out about applications by:                                                                                                                                                                               
  • Checking the council web site  
  • Looking out for site notices in the area around the intended development site 
  • Checking the local press 
  • Talking to local councillors 
  • Getting a circulation list of new applications (some councils will charge for this).
  • Normally applicants have had pre-negotiations with the council before they make a planning application and you can ask the planning officer if these have taken place – under Freedom of Information regulations if necessary.
2    Making Good Relationships
It pays to be on good terms with your local planners. Always try to meet planning officers face to face to make them aware of your concerns. They will also be able to explain local policies to you. It is also worth building links with other organisations in your community who might be concerned. Don’t assume that the whole community will automatically support your campaign.
 
3.    Good communications   
Make sure you have got a clear message for the media and public about the negative impacts the new development will have. For instance people may love supermarkets but surveys have shown people do not want to lose their local shops.
 
4    Address their weakest points
It is important to concentrate your fire in complex planning cases.  Rather than trying to say something about everything, you need to work out the key areas of objection and make them into killer arguments. In most retail applications these will be traffic impact and the impact on the vitality and viability of existing town centres.
 
5    Danger points
Look out for the applicant’s killer response. They may employ a public relations (PR) firm and will sell the messages of new jobs and other benefits. Watch out for enticing offers to the local council for anything from new roads to football stadiums which can be delivered through planning gain. Prepare your counter attack, get information about jobs that may be lost in local shops, make the case that the ‘improvements’ will not justify the negative impacts.
 
 
 
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