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Consultation & Planning Permission

Effective community and political engagement to enable development for the public and private sectors.

Too often the PR and public affairs role is overlooked as an essential skill-set for development projects - yet schemes continue to be delayed or disrupted as a result of community opposition, a lack of political support or a failure of communications. Addressing these issues successfully is the cornerstone of LCA's business.

We are trusted to deliver practical and informed advice and implementation across £ billions of investment, for projects large and small, and our client base spans developers, occupiers, land owners, house builders, local authorities, registered providers, NHS organisations, transport bodies, education providers, cultural institutions, major businesses, sports clubs and charities. We have worked on projects in every London Borough, typically active in two thirds of them at any one time, and also handle schemes across the South East of England.

Our services comprise:

Site appraisals & bids: Politics is local and every local authority works differently. Clients are used to commissioning a planning audit before making a site acquisition or as site proposals are developed. We complement this with a site appraisal to assess the political and local community environment into which proposals would be considered and which is a vital component in assessing planning risk. We also frequently work with clients as part of its bidding team to inform the planning and engagement strategy which we then deliver if the client is successful.

Public consultation: We manage the complete process of community engagement. We advise on the appropriate strategy, draft and prepare all materials (including design and delivery across print, web and social media), promote the events and exhibitions, run and staff it all, set up and attend the key meetings, prepare for design workshops, issue community newsletters and are the first point of contact for the local community. We then prepare a robust Statement of Community Involvement for submission with the application.

Stakeholder and political engagement: Planning is political. We prepare a political engagement plan to ensure we are seeing the right people in the right order and then set up and support the political meetings, using our connections and intelligence network to ensure the project remains on track. We help generate support for proposals from local business, residents and community groups and understand how to manage sensitive issues, from parking to height and heritage to affordable housing.

Media management: For the majority of schemes interest comes from the local press, local blogs and on social media. Others can be of national significance. We prepare a PR plan to support the planning strategy, which may be a reactive-only approach or which may utilise key milestones to generate positive media attention. We have excellent contacts across national, trade, local and consumer media titles and are experts in managing the media.

Planning Committee preparation: Schemes can be won or lost at committee, even with a recommendation to grant consent. We marshal a robust case in support of the proposals, ensure we have a response to all objections, prepare for committee appearances, rehearse the Q&A, help secure supporters, provide political intelligence about the Committee and oversee the client's appearance on the evening itself.

Construction communications: Well managed engagement does not stop when consent is granted. We devise communications and community engagement programmes to aid project delivery, supporting clients throughout the construction lifecycle, from initial works, through the build process, topping out, and onward sales. We also provide 24/7 crisis cover, handling site incidents or worse.

Political, media and intelligence monitoring: Everything we do is informed by knowledge. We invest around 10% of our turnover on in-house research functions and tools, with a dedicated research team, identified Borough specialists and an excellent contact network backed up extensive monitoring. We offer a range of intelligence monitoring services across our client base and pride ourselves on providing the highest quality strategic advice.