Public exhibitions form the backbone of most engagement strategies but do not always represent the most appropriate way for communities to actively participate in the evolution and design of a major development. This is particularly relevant when local community support is a key consideration in a site’s allocation in a development plan or in determining a planning application.
The principal role of the engagement exhibition is to both feed back and inform large numbers of community members. When used appropriately they can be a useful technique for starting a structured engagement programme, to mark keep milestone in a project’s evolution or to provide local residents and businesses about an imminent planning application. If a proposal is particularly significant in terms of scale or complexity they provide only a limited opportunity to generate support or to explore technically challenging and complex themes. Consequently their use in conjunction with other types of event is usually essential.
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