It is always interesting at public consultations how people just assume their neighbours and fellow residents will share their views on new homes.
Here at MPC, we have lost count of the number of times someone will storm in and say, “we don’t want more homes in our town - and you won’t find one resident who supports this”. Then, the very next person says, “fantastic, I been wanting to buy for ages and there is nothing for sale - you must have people queuing up to reserve one?”.
Both camps are often shocked when they realise the opposing camp exists. While contrasting views are, of course, driven by a difference in their current location vis-à-vis the proposed development, or by needing/not needing to move house; it is not uncommon to have people in neighbouring houses or from the same demographic have contrary opinions. Which makes you wonder - how willing are we to put ourselves in other people’s shoes when it comes to the crunch?
This very situation was magnified at a recent consultation we ran in Suffolk. An elderly couple attended whose current home of 30 years overlooks a field, which may be developed for new housing. She was totally opposed, but he was delighted. She wants to stay in their home for their final years and does not want the view to change. He hates their current house because of the stairs and significant maintenance it needs, and wants a new build bungalow as nearby as possible. They submitted separate, opposing, feedback forms. If a long-time married couple can’t see it from the other side, will we ever turn NIMBY into YIMBY?
If you have submitted, or are about to submit a planning application which you fear will be controversial, Meeting Place Communications is able to offer a range of public engagement and pre-committee supporter motivation work to help you achieve a planning consent. Do get in touch to speak with one of the team.
This article was written by Sereena Davey