LIVING BANKSIDE CONSULTATION CHARTER
We all want to live in a thriving, harmonious and happy community that offers a high quality of life for all residents. This requires addressing growing inequality both locally and globally. Residents should see the benefits of regeneration which has allowed London to proposer in their everyday lives by ensuring that those who will be impacted the most by new developments having more influence in determining what benefits new developments deliver.
Delivering such ambitious and systematic changes to the planning process requires strong partnerships between public bodies, private actors and community representatives; with a far greater emphasis on consultation prior to the delivery of planning policies and proposed developments.
For public consultation to be meaningful:
The length and scope of community engagement must be extensive, ensuring that public and private actors to better understand of local priorities; and
The delivery of policies and proposed developments must be responsive to community feedback, promoting a shared vision of the future of the borough(s) benefits existing and future residents alike.
The Living Bankside Charter sets out a ‘gold standard’ for public consultation to ensure that residents have a truly fair say in shaping their community, enjoying its prosperity in their lives; promoting sustainable and meaningful growth in the area.
Background and purpose
Planning policy operates through an over-arching national government framework, enabling the Mayor of London to set targets for the delivery of new housing, jobs and infrastructure across London boroughs. Council’s then create policies, plans and strategies that contribute to London-wide targets in a way that best benefits the borough.
Council policies, plans and strategies, such as the Bankside Neighbourhood Plan and Neighbourhood Vision 2035, serve to align local priorities alongside national objectives, providing an important link between the Council and its communities.
With rising inequality increasingly identified as a major challenge for the future, the emerging London Industrial Strategy 2020 recognises the significant potential for development to truly contribute to communities in which they operate and enable councils to better support local residents and businesses. A number of boroughs have begun formulating strategies to promote fairer and more inclusive economies to ensure that the community benefits from the prosperity of the borough.
Founded on the aims and objectives of Living Bankside, Living Bankside’s ‘gold standard’ Consultation Charter represents our community by setting out requirements for meaningful public consultation, exceeding baseline requirements set out under the Southwark Council Development Consultation Charter.
This community-orientated charter provides an essential framework to ensure that public consultation truly acts as an essential part of the policy making and implementation process, allowing for the alignment of priorities to create a shared vision for the area.
As the Bankside, Borough & surrounding areas’ built environment rapidly evolves through fast-paced regeneration, it has become increasingly important for existing communities to have a voice in shaping future developments. A number of existing key sites, expected to undergo significant regeneration over the coming years, create opportunities to deliver much needed community facilities and contribute to the delivery of local wider priorities.
This area includes:
Southwark Wards: Borough & Bankside, Chaucer, St George’s & London Bridge, and West Bermondsey
Lambeth Wards: Bishop
Key Principles of Consultation
Early and sufficient engagement
Early engagement is an essential condition to produce meaningful public consultation:
Consultation should occur as the proposals are being developed, from the earliest possible stage, prior to the pre-application process.
A clear timeframe for engagement and the development of proposals should be transparent and communicated to key community stakeholders.
It should be assured that the consultation period is long enough to allow people to understand and consider potential issues properly, allowing residents to raise their concerns with local representative groups.
*As a guide consultation should last up to12 weeks but this will depend on the scale and nature of the proposal.
It is important for a pre-submission consultation process to be conducted in a clear, transparant and flexible manner by:
Clearly set out what is being consulted on in a detailed but accessible format, ensuring that plain language is used and any information provided is accurate and complete
Clearly setting out which area, residents and/or businesses may be impacted by the proposaled development.
Clearly communicating how and when the results of the consultation will be published, and how feedback will be taken into account.
Always providing a named contact and their details to ensure that residents and stakeholders know who they can contact.
The value of feedback, as a key component of understanding ther existing priorities of local residents, is dependent on the accessibility of communications and materials relating to any proposals. To ensure that everyone in the community is offered a a fair opportunity to participate in shaping their future townscape, developers should:
Ensure that all information is available to those with accessibility requirements e.g. impaired vision, deafness or impaired hearing.
Target specific groups that are likely to be affected by the proposal (via community groups and representatives). Ensure that they are aware of the consultation and are able to access it. Ask them which steps you can take to make the information more accessible.
Recognise the needs of faith groups when participating in consultations – considering the demographics of the area and understanding a communiy’s character prior to consultation.
Consider the needs and schedules of different sectors of the community, ensuring gthat everyone has the opportunity to participate.
* When considering the accessibility of communications and consultation materials factors taken into account should include, but not be restricted to, those who work unconventional hours, may be single parents or are elderly people.
Variety of effective methods
A variety of effective methods for communicating consultation materials can greatly enhance community engagement with the consultation process and promote the accessible of engagement through:
Conducting consultation via different methods in order to reach different parts of the community, including but not restricted to public meetings, postal surveys, electronic surveys, public exhibitions, focus groups and the publication of documents for public comments.
Working closely with key local stakeholders to establish a productive approach to public consultation while creating positive relationships with community groups that represent the interests of residents.
Ensuring that any consultation materials offering opportunities for community participation give consultees the opportunity to express their opinion, limiting the arbitrary use of generic yes/no questions when inviting residents to provide feedback on proposals.
Establishing strong relationships with local community groups at an early stage should be at the core of a robust consultation strategy for potential future developments in the area. We can provide an essential resource for developers to truly understand the communities that we represent.
Our aim is to promote the alignment of existing local priorities with ongoing regeneration through a shared vison, enhancing the area and delivering benefits for existing and new residents alike:
We hold a pivotal position in representing the interests of the local community, with our key objectives including the enhancement of community participation opportunities in the planning process and assisting with the delivery of future developments which respond to the needs of the local community, enhancing the area in which we live.
We seek to add value to the consultation process by highlighting a broad range of constantly evolving local priorities, ensuring that proposals can better respond to a changing environment and provide meaningful benefits.
Our Neighbourhood Vision, which has been informed by feedback acquired through door to door and outreach services, emphasises the importance of developing strong long-term relationships with community stakeholders to support the delivery of mutually beneficial development across the Bankside area.
Our involvement in the delivery of a new Bankside Neighbourhood Plan highlights our close co-operation with other community groups, local businesses and local authorities in promoting positive regeneration in the area. We serve as an essential intermediary capable of enhancing the synergies of public private partnerships seeking to promote the Bankside area through positive regeneration.
We aim to combine our deep ties with the community and understanding of local needs with the promotion of positive, mutually beneficial, and long term relationships with developers to create new developments which can benefit all.
Use of the results
Results drawing on feedback collected through the consultation process serves an essential purpose in representing the views of the community, contextualising representations made before planning committees within the collective views of the wider community
Living Bankside support issues being resolved, as far as possible, prior to determination to avoid unnecessary delays to the delivery of positive regeneration.
The following measures set out a clear and tangible framework to promote and maximise the value of feedback collected via public consultation:
Update the community at key stages and ensure there is sufficient opportunity to raise concerns throughout the process.
Ensure that consultation responses are incorporated into the proposal, and clearly explain how the consultation influenced the final decisions.
Publish data about how many people were invited to take part, and the number of participants.
Reflect on how the consultation process went and consider potential areas for improvement in future.
The community should be engaged through varying forms (such as communications, materials or events) to publicise the proposals submitted within the planning application alongside submission, with information relating to the application information and ability to comment made accessible to all.
Future developments should promote social cohesion and contribute to the lives of both new and existing residents alike. It is essential to continue to maintain long-standing and positive relationships with the community beyond the consultation process. Ongoing dialogue before, during and post-construction should be available through the provision of a variety of channels of communication (such as phone, email, post or on-site) to demonstrate a commitment to promoting social cohesion through building on positive ties to the community which extends beyond the planning process.
(Optional) Further guidance on public consultation can be found here (link to next page)
Living Bankside can help you to achieve the standards set out in this consultation charter. Please get in touch to discuss our door-to-door and outreach services which seek to complement and enhance your consultation.
T: 020 7357 9752 (leave a voicemail)
Public consultation guidance
For public consultation to be meaningful, the length and scope of community engagement must be extensive to develop an understanding of existing local priorities and proposals must be truly responsive to feedback from the existing community. Our aim is to establish a standard for public consultation that promotes a shared vision for future developments, enhancing the lives of existing and future resident alike.
The scope of community engagement must be extensive in length and scope to develop a deep understanding of potential benefits that a proposal can deliver to the local community. It is essential that the community are consulted on potential developments at an early stage of the planning process, with awareness of proposed plans and opportunities to provide feedback being truly accessible to all members of the local community. Close co-operation with local community groups also offers an opportunity to further enhance understandings of local priorities and positive relationships with the community.
Consulting the local community early in the planning process will allow developers to better understand the existing area and identify local priorities, promoting greater involvement of the community in the design process. Feedback given from early engagement to developing a shared vision for the site as designs progress.
Public consultation strategies should be proactive in engaging with the community through promoting local awareness of any potential redevelopment in the area and ensuring that opportunities to provide feedback on proposals should be truly accessible to all to ensure that feedback represents a fair reflection of the views of the surrounding area. Particular consideration should be given to the accessibility of materials and events, extending beyond existing requirements set by Southwark Council.
In particular a broad and proactive consultation strategy should seek to maximise the scope of community engagement beyond existing requirements set by Southwark Council, giving consideration to the different circumstances of members of the local community and ensuring that communications, materials and events are truly accessible to all.
There is an expectation for an extensive engagement strategy in relation to public consultation events, with significant consideration to accessibility for the local community.
Consultation events should be hosted across a broad range of times and dates to account for the varying circumstances and availability of community members. Ensuring that opportunities to provide feedback on proposed schemes must be accessible to all to reflect a fair representation of the views of the community.
Opportunities for individual or group meetings should be offered to community members at all stages of the planning process. This has a dual function in further enhancing the accessibility of engagement opportunities and allowing more in-depth discussions which may focus on particular aspects of the scheme.
The inclusion of additional informal consultation events should also be considered throughout all stages of the planning process to provide the community with an opportunity to participate in developing a shared vision for the site.
The aim of the Living Bankside Consultation Charter is to ensure that redevelopment is beneficial to the local area, sensitive to the existing environment and its history and promotes community cohesion through the promotion of a shared vision. For the public consultation process to be meaningful, proposals must be responsive to feedback, demonstrate changes made as a result of engagement and there must be a commitment to ongoing dialogue beyond determination.