The Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR) has today published a comprehensive communications resource which aims to help local authorities generate greater public participation in the development plan process.
Entitled “Increasing Public Engagement in Local Authority Development Plans – A Communications Toolkit,” it offers tips, advice and practical suggestions on ways to encourage wider public engagement when developing a county/city development plan.
It draws on existing good practices already employed by many local authorities and cites particular examples which have worked to good effect throughout the country.
The toolkit covers areas including how to effectively engage with media, getting the best from social media, optimum methods of direct engagement, youth participation, accessibility and branding.
Speaking about this new resource, Planning Regulator, Niall Cussen, said
“Encouraging high levels of public interaction in preparing development plans is critical to the public’s awareness of and ownership of the plans that will shape their communities. Broadening input into development plans ensures citizens’ priorities and interests are better understood resulting in plans in line with the wishes of communities.
The measures outlined in this document highlight many examples of good practice in public engagement on the forward planning process across the local authority sector. These will be even more important in enabling cities, towns and rural areas planning for the future. By publishing the toolkit, the Office is encouraging more local authorities to follow the examples of good practice that have been emerging to ensure that the public have their say in the future planning and development of their communities”
The OPR will continue to engage with staff and members of local authorities and other bodies, as well as the wider public, to identify good practice and ways to promote innovative communications methods.