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Our LPDF event - Exploring meaningful and positive ways to engage local communities


Land promotion can be really hard for members of the public to get their head around. It’s abstract, intangible and riddled with jargon. Land promoters have long put up with the same questions and struggled to bring people on the journey but we’re pretty well-versed in the art and have some wisdom to share in this respect.

The LPDF very kindly invited us in to meet with some of their members for our ‘Communications and Engagement Symposium’. Now, I’m not really sure what a symposium actually is, but we all came away feeling inspired and having learnt something which is a win in my book.

Having split the room into groups, we tackled three key pillars – messaging, stakeholder engagement, and community engagement. A robust and considered approach to each of these goes a long way towards securing that timely, local consent we’re all aiming for.

Getting the language right

We MUST communicate with people in a language they understand and can relate to. Homes not dwellings. The principle of development not outline planning. Just some money…not CIL. This is such an important point, but something we often overlook as an industry. Let’s avoid losing our audience at the first hurdle by not bamboozling them with jargon and acronyms.

Engage early and in the right places

When it comes to stakeholders (and by this I don’t just mean politicians but all influential businesses, bodies and parties relating to your scheme) don’t wait until you need something before engaging. Funnily enough it gets people’s backs up. Work on your brand, build your reputation, forge proper relationships.

In terms of community engagement – all research suggests that supporters of new development outweigh opponents. The sad fact of the matter is that these people are just less likely to engage. The solution is simple – work harder to engage them. Go to where they already are and make it simple and quick for them to get involved positively. Pop-up at the train station, use targeted social media ads to reach people in their own homes, knock on some doors. They’re out there – you just have to go and find them.

I came away from the symposium feeling pretty buoyed that our industry is listening and willing to learn. Let’s get our communities listening and willing to learn too by using these three pillars as a foundation from which to engage with them.

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