Just 2% of the public trust developers and only 7% have faith in local authorities when it comes to planning for large-scale development.
The latest bulletin from Civic Voice, formerly known as the Civic Trust, published the results of the YouGov survey carried out earlier this year.
The public believes that developers only care about making or saving money, with 75% of respondents citing this as a reason for their lack of trust. Of the respondents, 2% say they trust developers to act honestly. The findings show that:
- 74 per cent want developers to be held to account for what they promise.
- 72 per cent want local authorities to be held to account for what is promised.
- 71 per cent said they want opportunities for local people to have more influence on the outcome of development.
- 69 per cent want more transparency from private developers through the planning process.
As far as Muswell Hill is concerned, it is a mixed picture. Some developers go out of their way to make contact with organisations like our Association at an early stage and actively encourage our members to attend public exhibitions etc. Others do not, and the first we get to hear about a proposal is when a planning application is submitted.
One of the most frustrating actions by developers is the submission of fresh drawings at a very late stage with no explanation as to whether these are intended as a replacement or an alternative. The changes shown in these drawings are often deliberately complicated and objectors have no real way of being certain whether they are “good news” and, even if they are, whether there is not a hidden downside which will only become apparent with a close examination of the next set of new drawings.
Once permission has been obtained there is still scope for a developer to be difficult and slip things past the public by applying to the Council to make changes to the scheme safe in the knowledge that Councils are not required to carry out any public consultation on such changes.
Our Association continues to press for public involvement in major schemes by encouraging public meetings (as we did in the case of the application for the new flats in Fortis Green Road) in the hope that this will enable the local community to have some influence over what is built. Where approval has been given we will encourage developers to keep the public informed of progress and to participate in initiatives such as the Considerate Constructors Scheme so that there are clearly defined ways in which the public can raise any issues of concern. John Crompton