Customer story: Brighton & Hove City Council, UK

Spatial Planning Process
'screenshot of 'Brighton & Hove City Council, UK
'screenshot of 'Brighton & Hove City Council, UK

A city by the sea

The last 30 years have seen a transformation in Brighton and Hove, thanks in large part to a major seafront development in the 1990s. The new artist’s quarter, clubs, bars and restaurants revitalised the area and helped make it one of the most fashionable and iconic beachfronts in Britain. A subsequent population increase of over 10% has made it England's most populous seaside resort and the largest city in South East England outside London. There remain areas of deprivation however, and high levels of homelessness.

In planning consultation exercises, Brighton & Hove are keen to get the balancing act right between all of their diverse inhabitants, businesses and communities. They use Citizen Space to engage on many local issues: they’ve run 67 consultations in two years, which is more than one every two weeks.

Going the extra mile

Brighton & Hove’s consultation hub on Citizen Space provides information in a welcoming and inclusive way, in crystal clear English, and in a range of formats. When it comes to spatial planning, people can download the plan or be sent a paper version, watch videos or read video transcripts, or download Easy Read PDFs. These are supported by maps showing areas affected, and public meetings (held via Zoom during the pandemic). A range of ways to respond is also offered.

Transparency is also a priority. The ‘We Asked, You Said, We Did’ section of Brighton & Hove’s Citizen Space site shows how people have made a difference by submitting views: a great way to demonstrate that their input matters.

Citizen Space encourages democratic involvement by providing features that help respondents navigate complex proposals and make it easy to review past consultations and their outcomes.

Reaching out

Spatial planning is complex, with many overlapping issues. Engaging communities on planning decisions inevitably involves presenting a lot of information, which can put off the very people that need to be reached.

Citizen Space and its features, such as the ability to embed rich media, interactive maps and documents, informs at the point of response, allowing citizens with little or no prior knowledge of an issue to take part. Citizen Space forms a key part of how Brighton & Hove reaches out to and collaborates with its diverse communities.

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