We have launched our own online community consultation platform - Grasshopper Consult

We are delighted to announce that we have launched Grasshopper Consult, an online consultation tool to help project teams easily undertake community consultation in relation to planning proposals.

Following the implementation of the Planning (Wales) Act 2015 earlier this year, consultation with local neighbours and stakeholders is now required for all major planning applications in advance of submission (including residential developments over 10 units and commercial developments over 1000sqm) as well as Developments of National Significance (including some energy projects, railways, airports and gas storage facilities).

The Grasshopper Consult site provides an online platform to enable public access to all project information for a proposed planning application, as well as providing feedback mechanisms to ensure the capture of all comments and queries – which need to be reviewed and responded to through a Pre-Application Consultation (PAC) report.

Founding director Clare Jones said: “The requirements for a statutory 28 day consultation on smaller scale projects can seem quite onerous, particularly for organisations with limited online capability. 

“The launch of Grasshopper Consult allows us to provide clients with a simple, complete and cost-effective community consultation product that includes an online information hub and contact centre to manage the (minimum) 28 day statutory consultation period, as well as earlier, informal engagement if required.”

To find out more you can visit Grasshopper Consult at www.grasshopperconsult.co.uk or to arrange a meeting to discuss how this product could work for you, please email clare@grasshopperpr.co.uk or call 02920 789981.


Breakfast Seminar - Effective Communication for Planning: Navigating the Wales Planning Act

Grasshopper PR is delighted to be hosting a CPD breakfast event with the Women In Property South Wales branch exploring Effective Communication for Planning in light of the new regulations set out in the Wales Planning Act (2015), on Wednesday 25 May 2016, Park House (Cardiff).

Following the adoption of the Act, requirements are now in place for pre-application consultation on ‘major’ development plans (including residential development over 10 units and commercial development over 1000sqm), and Developments of National Significance (including energy projects up to 50MW).

The event will explore in detail the new pre-application requirements and how these fit with best practice communications approaches, as well as how to identify and achieve communication and engagement objectives for each project.

In addition, special guest speakers Chair of Cardiff City Council Planning Committee - Cllr Michael Michael and Head of Planning - James Clemence will talk about the implications of the new policy from the perspective of local councillors and officers, and what they hope to see moving forward in terms of engagement and consultation with local communities, elected representatives and decision makers.

To find out more abut the event or book your place then please get in touch or visit: http://www.womeninproperty.org.uk/branches/south-wales/events/2016/cardiff-effective-communication-for-planning.aspx.

Engagement with civic society is key to delivering new infrastructure

At last week’s Infrastructure Investment and Delivery in Wales Conference (http://www.cewales.org.uk/2015/11/what-next-for-wales-infrastructure/) hosted by Constructing Excellence Wales, one of the key themes to be repeated is that a lack of public understanding and support is a major hurdle when it comes to enabling progress of major new infrastructure. 

During this time of austerity there are bound to be challenges when it comes to convincing the public that building new infrastructure is a prudent use of public money when competing with essential public services for funds.  This results in proposals becoming political footballs to then be kicked around in the media, inevitability lessening the level of public confidence.  However, it is generally acknowledged that there is a clear need for improved infrastructure across Wales and the UK to help ensure long-term economic recovery and growth – so how do we start ensuring an improved level of positive engagement with civic society when it comes to infrastructure in Wales?

Essentially, a joined up approach to campaigning for the delivery of new infrastructure is needed to tackle political debate head on and attempt to change the tone of the media coverage and social dialogue taking place.   The recently established Homes for Wales campaign (https://twitter.com/HomesforWales) is one such example of a collaborative approach to getting out key messages about the need for development. 

The Welsh Government has identified that a more joined up approach overall to the delivery of infrastructure would be beneficial, due to the complexities of the required alignment of political representatives, government and the private sector in order to facilitate delivery.  Therefore, Jane Hutt AM, Minister for Finance and Government Business, has announced plans for the establishment of a Wales Infrastructure Forum to enable key players to come around the table and agree a strategy for progress. 

Although this may not be the correct platform to launch an actual campaign – communications will hopefully be high up on the agenda.  This will hopefully result longer term in a more joined up and assertive approach to ensuring a wider public understanding of the value of new infrastructure and why it is key to enabling the Dragon Economy to take flight.