Positive Space – Grosvenor’s new Community Charter : This is a charter written for employees of Grosvenor Britain & Ireland and shared with the partners and communities with whom they work. Published on June 8th 2020.
According to a survey (July 2019), published by property firm Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, it found that just 2 per cent of the public trust developers and only 7 per cent have faith in local authorities, when it comes to planning for large-scale development.
For developers, the key driver of public distrust is the perception that they only care about making a profit. For local authorities, the reasons are broader based, but what comes through is that the public do not really understand what their local council is doing and why this is in their best interests. Civic Voice has been saying this for the past ten years!
Grosvenor responded to this survey in a meaningful manner
The mood and culture within the built environment are changing. The trend is clear: public participation in local decision making is here to stay. People want to be involved in the decisions that immediately affect their lives. Get it right and it will speed up the planning system.
So, Grosvenor is aiming to create a more Positive Space, where the trade-offs involved in change are openly debated, more voices are heard, and we all work more productively together. This initiative aims to set a new standard for public engagement across their business and to give the communities that they work with meaningful involvement in how their neighbourhoods are managed and evolve.
Developers should not be afraid to engage meaningfully with communities.
It is a simple idea. If people see their ideas and concerns emerging through the design work, they will tend to feel that their ideas are being responded to which builds trust, and often helps to build the basis of support for a scheme. It can be inspirational and energising activity where the results of collaboration can be felt for many years in the future. It can lead to us collaboratively creating great places.
Grosvenor has been working with partners in real estate, the public sector, and organisations such as Civic Voice to look at way we can all collectively rebuild trust in the planning system and development. I was pleased to join the working group that they established. It was a refreshing experience to be in a room with people that you might not normally get to meet, but, it was clear in the first meeting that everyone was there because they wanted to see a strong response to rebuilding trust in planning decisions.
Do I feel my voice was heard, well, it would not surprise me if some people thought: ‘not another comment from Civic Voice’……..
At Civic Voice we are aware of the growth agenda and the need for
more homes to be built. Our members understand this too, with 71% of them wanting to see more housing built. Yet all over England many of these members, who are knowledgeable and positive people, have had to engage in planning proposals that they feel passionately are not right for their places. Yet it was an eye opener for me to hear from councils and developers on the views and experiences that they had when consulting civic societies and community groups. We have more to do on both sides. It is right that community groups who represent a community will also be challenged.
It is time to change the way things are done and to bring communities genuinely to the heart of planning and place-making. ‘Rebalancing the power in the planning system’ is about bringing people giving communities a meaningful right to participate at every stage of the planning process.
There is a long road to recovering trust and placing it on new foundations of transparency, honesty, and dialogue. Positive Space – Grosvenor’s new Community Charter is a small step for developers, but it is a giant leap forward for meaningful participation in the UK.
We applaud Grosvenor in leading from the front.
Now to other developers? Can we see your Community Charter, please?