When a developer submits an application to the council to transform a local site, there’s a physical piece of paper that gets pinned to nearby lampposts called a site notice. Until now, this site notice has been the main way residents can expect to find out about new developments in their local area.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government provided funding to make digital versions of these site notices, so residents can engage in planning decisions during the pandemic.
We’ve been working with Camden Council, Middlesborough and Buckinghamshire on ways to improve these site notices, so they can make sure they’re engaging their communities in decisions and giving a platform to those from underrepresented groups who don’t often speak up.
More than a piece of paper
Camden wanted to encourage more diverse groups to have their voices heard and improve the quality of resident feedback, so that decisions about the local environment were representative of the community.
To design a site notice that achieves these outcomes, we need to think about the site notice as a service that allows residents to make their views known and input on decisions, not just a piece of paper that tells people about a new development.
Thinking about the site notice in this way helps us identify the different parts of the process that might prevent residents from engaging. Such as how they find the site notice online, what information they read, how they provide feedback and how this feedback is processed, actioned and fed back to residents.