One of the greatest concerns to our clients undertaking a housing development is the process of acquiring neighbour consent when the project is in an occupied area scheduled for construction. In our experience working on projects across the country, we’re aware that – in some instances – developers can often avoid a project altogether if it requires neighbour consent.
While it’s while our team often strives to create a design that will minimise the need for neighbour approval and considers the overall local aesthetic and council requirements, the need for neighbour’s approval is at the discretion of council.
Below, we’ll discuss the importance of knowing your local area, and working with a team who can mediate on issues with neighbours before they stall your project.
Neighbour consultation shouldn’t always be dismissed and seen as a negative. In fact, there have been cases where approaching neighbours in the early stages of a project can actually benefit your development in unexpected ways.
For example, a client we worked alongside openly discussed his plans with his neighbour, which lead to negotiations for the purchase of a section of their land, and ultimately helped extend the client’s development. While unexpected benefits like this may be a rarity, the negative impact of avoiding or refusing neighbour consultation is well-documented.
Three quick tips before approaching neighbours:
Understanding the scope of permitted activities in the area will greatly support your ability to gain consent from neighbours and council, while assessing the future changes and evolution of a community is crucial for marketing your development. Furthermore, showing a consideration for an area’s future will go a long way in gaining the support of local residents.
A recent example where consultation could have been approached differently was seen in Havelock North, a suburb of Hastings, Hawkes Bay. Residents have expressed mixed concern over the proposed development of around 400 new houses on the western side of the suburb, with concerns including noise, pollution, and strain on infrastructure.
Knowing the demographic of the area you wish to develop in will influence not just the layout and design of your plans, but the approach in gaining consent from neighbours and council. For example, you wouldn’t want to build two- or three-storey dwellings in a community where the demand is for single-storey buildings.
In Havelock North, nearly 25 per cent of the population is aged 65 and over, and the general atmosphere is that of a relaxed, inclusive, and quiet community.
Residents are concerned with extensive construction schedules, the environmental impact on native birds and trees, and the pressure that a decade-long development will place on their roads and schools. Many have left a large, bustling city to retire somewhere picturesque, and the appeal of the area for many residents is its untouched and tranquil atmosphere.
The time spent understanding the local area will be visible in the final design you choose – and this will go a long way in promoting the value of your development to a local community. While we can’t speculate on the level of neighbour consultation undertaken in Havelock North, our experience indicates that many of these concerns could have been addressed in a private manner long before the issues became public outcry.
The best way to appease both council and local communities is to create something unique, engaging, and thoughtful. With 500 previously approved housing plans to work from, our team can design and create a one-of-a-kind development project that provides the best chance to win over your local community.
Our team cover every area of the development process, working with local councils on a daily basis and handling neighbour consultation to ensure your project moves forward in the best way possible.
To learn more about our extensive range of services, including neighbour mediation and consultation, contact one of the team at ASAP Plans today.