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Property industry urged to support communities

Tuesday 31st May 2011
The independent Land and Society Commission, established by RICS, has published a report into how the property industry can support local communities to take on additional powers and responsibilities under the Government's plans for localism in England.

Its 24 recommendations describe a radical new basis for the relationship between the property industry and local communities to help to deliver increased and better development.

Evidence to the Commission highlighted the need for greater cooperation between developers and communities, with a view to dismissing preconceptions that community involvement can hinder private sector investment. The Commission found that by consulting communities before initiating proposals, developments could be constructed more sustainably and to a higher specification.

Other recommendations include the need to re-examine the role of local authority planning officers - recommending they move away from the town hall and into their local communities.

Through working with local people on a regular basis, they will find it easier to make informed decisions which are of long-term benefit to the community and local business.

The Commission also recommends the property industry should do more to support the community-led housing sector by engaging with local authorities, housing associations and community groups to help build the large scale community-led housing programme that would enable volume lending to the sector.

Trevor Beattie, Land and Society Commission Chairman, said: "The professions have much to learn from communities as well as much to share with them. Early and active community engagement is good for business and good for communities. Developers and planners should not fear greater community involvement and accountability since this can speed up the planning and construction process, reduce risk, and add considerable commercial value.

"The Commission's report, which is the result of a series of evidence sessions, workshops and consultations, contains twenty four direct and practical recommendations. We now invite RICS and other professional bodies, as well as central and local government, to respond positively to our proposals to create new ways to deliver development in the interests of communities and businesses throughout England."

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Mike Jones





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