Redbridge Council proposes launch of ‘growth’ commission to understand ‘what people really want from development’

Redbridge Council is considering launching a "growth commission" to better understand what residents

Redbridge Council is considering launching a "growth commission" to better understand what residents want from development and regeneration in the borough. Picture: PA/Gareth Fuller - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Redbridge Council is proposing to launch a new commission to understand “what people really want” from development and regeneration in the borough.

The growth commission would be independently chaired and would welcome round table discussions from residents and stakeholders.

Currently, the only opportunity for residents to express concerns is on individual planning applications, the council said.

"The lack of connection between local people and the planning process has given rise to a number of petitions, organised campaigns, multiple requests for town hall-style meetings and occasionally combative scenes at planning committee," a council spokesman said.

It is proposed that the new commission would be tasked with "ensuring that Redbridge realises the economic, social and environmental benefits of growth".

A central theme for the commission would be to "broker a better understanding of what constitutes quality for residents" and how the council can "deliver high quality outcomes for the built environment and wider aspects good growth".

The views of residents and stakeholders would be gathered in a series of meetings over a six-month period, starting in January, 2020.

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The commission would consider the council's role in shaping and controlling development, what people really want from development and regeneration and also how they want to be involved in the process.

"The intention is to better understand their hopes and fears around growth and to gain a collective understanding of what we need to do to address and/or explain our challenges and how we may mitigate them," the council said.

"A series of round table discussions with developers and community representatives would provide an opportunity to test the issues that have been raised with them through public engagement and seek resident perspectives on how they feel able to influence or challenge development either through consultation or the planning process."

Outcomes from the sessions could include improved code of conduct for engagement, more clarity over the things that people want to be able to influence and potentially a revision of local representation at planning committee meetings.

If the council agrees to launch the project, the commission would begin its meetings in January next year and conclude in June, with key findings and recommendations published in September.

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