VIDEO | Digging into the public perception of planning
C|T Group’s latest research on how the average citizen understands the Green Belt and other planning policies sparked an interesting debate at this filmed roundtable discussion.
- James Blakey, planning director at Moda
- Ed Britton, director at Deloitte
- Shannon Conway, residential director at Glenbrook
- Joanne Harding, local plans manager at Home Builders Federation
- Victoria Hunter, senior development manager at Far East Consortium
- Mark McNamee, managing director of Cityheart
- Darren Muir, director of planning at Pegasus
- Colin Muller, founder and chief executive of Muller Property Group
- Ellie Philcox, director at Euan Kellie Property Solutions
- Paul Smith, managing director of Strategic Land Group
- John Walker, head of UK and Europe real estate and infrastructure at C|T Group
- Anna Wrigglesworth, director at C|T Group
- Chaired by Dan Whelan, senior reporter at Place North West
Key talking points
The roundtable began with a presentation of survey results from strategic advisory company C|T Group, which asked voters in England their thoughts on what the term “Green Belt” means and how that impacts their feelings on building on land with that designation.
According to the survey, 69% of those asked felt Green Belt was solely aimed at protecting countryside and landscapes. However, when these same groups were presented with an accurate definition of the term, which also plays a role in preventing urban sprawl, feelings on development on Green Belt shifted.
Once it was clear it was not only about greenfield and could include brownfield sites, only 15% maintained a stance that no development should take place on Green Belt.
Those attending the roundtable agreed that the results made clear that more needed to be done to educate the public on the nuances of Green Belt. A rebrand of Green Belt was even suggested, given the name evokes the image of countryside more than, perhaps, it ought to.
The discussion was about more than just Green Belt, however. Time was also spent on best practices for consultation and how to drive support for a project.
Too much time is often spent on trying to convert those that oppose a scheme, it was argued. That time could be better spent on getting supporters engaged.