Door-to-door Community Canvassing
Seeking the views of the community.
At the Community Communications Partnership, all our consultants come from a political background and therefore we are all very adept at engaging with residents on a one-to-one basis at their doorsteps. We utilise this method of communication to great effect with planning applications. It can serve three functions:
- Informing residents
Going door-to-door with iPads and showing people pictures and the broad principles of an application ensure that neighbouring residents or other stakeholders are informed. It is a costly exercise, but it guarantees that the message is communicated, and it gives our team the opportunity to answer questions and gather comments.
- Seeing public opinion
Knocking on doors to ask people their opinion on something is a sure way of getting information harvested. Our websites are always tablet friendly and we can knock on doors and complete feedback or ask them to support voting on infrastructure projects etc. on iPads. This way we guarantee that we get high-quality feedback on proposals.
- Harvesting support
The reality is that on almost every planning application, those residents who are against it will take the time and make the effort to object to the planning application. The silent majority will not make the effort to express their approval. We have a methodology of engaging the supporters and giving them the opportunity to express their support. We facilitate this with iPads that can either be used to complete a form hosted through our websites or directly on the Council’s Planning Portal. This method is highly effective in balancing objections lodged on the Planning Portal.
- Direct lobbying of planning officers and planning committee members
As with the method described above, we can also facilitate a function where residents complete a message page that generates an e-mail to any number of recipients to express their support. This is an incredibly powerful tool as we can mobilise hundreds of ordinary members of the public to write to officers and members of the planning committee to express their support for an application. We have seen this method on a large number of occasions assist us to overturn officers’ recommendation for refusal by planning committees.
ONE MORE THOUGHT
This is the John Lewis analogy. If you buy a toaster at John Lewis and the next morning at breakfast the toaster burns your toast, catches fire and burns your kitchen down, etc. you will be at the doors of John Lewis at 9.30 am objecting to their product and demanding a refund.
However, if you are one of the vast majority of people who buy a toaster and the next morning enjoy your crispy golden-brown toast you don’t give it a second thought. You don’t go at 9.30 am and demand to see the store manager to thank him for the great toaster.
It is the same with planning applications, if you are happy with the proposed development you are unlikely to take the time to express your support.
With this method, we give the silent supportive majority a voice.