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Building Consent: Housing by Popular Demand


As a word, consent derives ultimately from the Latin verb consentīre which means “to share or join in a sensation or feeling, be in unison or harmony.  But when it comes to creating a sense of harmony in our localities, regions, and with an eye to the next general election, that sense of national unity, how, at the level of place might we go about generating genuine bottom up community consent for the new housing and developments the country so desperately needs?


The premise to the collection is that while popular consent to development won’t by itself provide the total answer to the agenda per se, it should, as a factor, however, prove to be a crucial stepping stone to success.


In our report from 2021, Building Communities: planning for a clean and good growth future’Localis outlined how genuine community engagement through better neighbourhood plans, the use of new design codes, as well as better digital channels of communication between councils and residents, will be vital to achieving national housing targets.


So, with a view to the near future and the start of the next political cycle, Localis has asked a wide range of policy experts, local government leaders and industry bodies, to sketch their plan for what a successful planning system that generates community support for development might look like.


The contributors to Localis’s essay collection set out ideas for a hope-filled future in which the new homes and developments our country needs might be built in harmony with existing communities and in line with the contours of place.


Our fourteen essays cover a lot of ground from diverse experiences and backgrounds, as planners, local politicians, policymakers and developers and covering contexts from the rural to the very urban, greenfield to brownfield.


What unites them is a need for planning that is well-resourced to deliver the quality of results and outcomes we want to see, strategic in scope to integrate at scale and engaging and empathetic enough to carry local populations with them.


Here are the key points:


1.      Community Engagement: The essays emphasize gaining popular approval for new housing and developments across communities. Contributors discuss strategies to engage local populations effectively.


2.      Strategic Planning: The role of strategic planning in building consent for new housing is explored. This includes integrating planning at scale and ensuring quality outcomes.


3.      Diverse Perspectives: Contributors come from various backgrounds, including planners, local politicians, policymakers, and developers. Their essays cover both rural and urban contexts.


4.      Challenges and Collaboration: Delivering new homes at the necessary scale requires collaboration between local government, developers, and communities. Balancing housing needs with existing communities is essential.


provides insights into creating harmonious housing solutions aligned with community needs and local context.



Jonathan Werran – Chief Executive – Localis



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