GK Strategy in bid to shake up planning lobbying
Agency launches service supported by ex-council leader who oversaw development of The Shard.
GK Strategy has launched a planning communications service as it declares that the sector is "ripe for reform".
GK Intelligent Planning is being set up after an agency restructure last year that saw the integration of GK Strategy’s public affairs, media relations and digital communications capabilities.
The new service aims to "support developers from initial concept through to development, to strip out risk surrounding planning applications, enabling projects to move forward smoothly with stakeholder and public support".
The team will be supported by GK Strategy associate Stephanie Elsy, who is a former director of government affairs at Serco Group. She was also leader of the London Borough of Southwark during a number of major developments including the Shard, One More London, the Tate Modern and numerous housing regeneration schemes.
Elsy said: "As a former Council Leader, I know all too well how important it is for developers to work closely with local communities and other key stakeholders to build coalitions of support around their plans. Achieving this buy-in is hugely important and I look forward to supporting the team to develop and deliver the very best strategies to achieve this."
GK Strategy chief executive Emily Wallace said: "We believe that planning communications is ripe for reform and we want to be the agency to shake it up.
"All too often planning campaigns rely on old fashioned lobbying techniques that do too little to remove risk from the process for developers and those seeking planning permission for large developments. We want to change this.
"Planning cases are more prone than ever before to becoming highly controversial and propelled into the public conscience. Understanding how these issues manifest and preventing them requires a deep understanding of where people congregate online and what techniques to employ.
"This digital analysis and execution is an element too often missed from planning communications services and developers are therefore left playing catch up with community sentiment. Adopting modern techniques will be a vital component in tackling and winning planning applications in the next ten years - GK want to lead the pack in this respect."