Our Offer – The Roadmap to Success
Political Strategy Setting
It’s a fact that whilst planning officers advise, ultimately it’s the local politicians who decide the fate of your planning application. It’s also a fact that each council in the UK is different – different decision-making processes, different priorities, different electoral cycles, different characters.
Making use of the knowledge and experience of our leadership team and of our project experience, we are able to quickly understand each council’s challenges and establish strong relationships with local decision makers. We then set out a political strategy that provides you with a clear understanding of the opportunities available and the expectations of the key decision makers. It is vital to the success of your project that you align with the local political agenda.
We will always start our political engagement by contacting the council leadership. They will almost certainly have a view on your proposals, or they may suggest we go directly to the ward members who represent the area where you wish to develop. We will invite their suggestions about whom we should talk to in the community and will take on board both their concerns and their ideas as to what they would welcome in your proposals.
Our goal is to set out a roadmap that results in members of the planning committee having the confidence to support your planning application, which has the potential to change the nature of their local community for years to come.
The Power of Engagement
Political Engagement and Community Consultation
The importance of consultation is often underestimated and is frequently undertaken only to fulfil a statutory duty and ‘tick a box’. Cratus believes that if a consultation is executed properly, we can identify genuine issues at an early stage and either work with you to address them head-on with the decision makers, or ask you to look again at the proposed design of the development before it’s too late or too costly to do so.
Bespoke engagement programmes are created to respond to the size and scale of your proposals. We do not recommend large public meetings but we do support the holding of exhibitions, workshops or drop-in sessions that allow the community to visit and learn about your proposals and comment freely from an informed position.
On major schemes, regeneration projects and master planning for new communities, we find early stage design workshops really helpful in guiding your proposals. They provide the opportunity for your design team to work with key stakeholders in order to discuss design principles, look at potential problems and agree solutions.
Community forums should be established early in the process and used throughout it to support large projects and major regeneration schemes. The aim of the forum is to gather support and manage the information and messages reaching the key stakeholders.
Roadshows are ideal for large-scale developments where there is a greater need to take the message out to those in the community. Roadshow events can include attending community meetings and setting up meeting points at the local market or high street.
Listen and Learn mini-meetings are a series of smaller meetings with significant community and civic groups, neighbours and interested parties to ensure they feel they have been given the opportunity to speak outside the public forums.
Community meetings and workshops aim to bring together residents who will be affected by large-scale estate-regeneration schemes. These meetings require careful structuring and planning to ensure they are easily accessible to all.
One to One Canvassing is the most effective way to reach those stakeholders who are unable to attend any of our events but still have an interest in the scheme. Our field team will work to generate genuine support through direct engagement, focusing on the scheme and on understanding feedback.
At every stage, our intention is to demonstrate your commitment to share and listen. It is an important part of winning support on the most controversial developments.
Preparing You to Speak
Oration does not come naturally to many of us, especially when under pressure and addressing the public or giving evidence. Our experienced team can help your staff prepare appropriately for the platform they face.
Planning committee meetings can be challenging and it is important that your chosen spokesperson understands the scheme inside out. Off the cuff remarks on affordable housing numbers and questions about Section 106 contributions are not unusual, so being prepared is essential. Our team is made up of current and former councillors who can accurately create a mock planning committee setting to train, try and test your candidate ahead of the event.
Giving evidence at a planning inquiry and being questioned by QCs is stressful. While our clients can speak authoritatively on issues related to their field of expertise, being cross-examined frequently unnerves even the most confident of people.
Our team can provide you with the support and training your staff require to prepare for the inquiry, ensuring a confident approach and positive representation for your company. We will help you put together your evidence and rehearse the presentation to ensure your company’s reputation remains unscathed by the surrounding politics.
Giving evidence to Parliamentary Select Committees will be required if you want to submit your company’s interest. As in the case of preparing for a planning committee or inquiry, our team will help you prepare and rehearse and will support you on the day.
Speaking in public can be terrifying at whatever age or level of experience. We can help you find your voice and give you the confidence you need to speak effectively.
Licences are granted by local councils. Early engagement and local support can ensure a smooth application process. Our licensing expert can provide special support to assist licensing lawyers in securing approvals for restaurants, bars, betting and gaming premises, street trading and HMOs once the planning process has been completed.
We use the relationship established during planning to deal with the concerns of the community and reduce the risk or eliminate objections completely, ensuring that the commercial value of your development is realised and not delayed. Our team can also support licensees, operators and trade bodies in making representations to the council’s licensing committee on changes to local policy that would affect your business.