As part of the process of developing the Rushmoor Plan, the council said it would monitor how effective social media was as a tool, in order to consider how this could be improved or whether other methods would be more successful.
Social media may be used to allow people, particularly hard-to-reach groups which include young people between the ages of 16 and 25, older people, ethnic minorities and those with disabilities.
This will be beneficial to the Rushmoor Borough Council as it collates its Delivering Development document, which will help shape its planning process in the future.
Hashtags and ‘likes’ on Facebook and Twitter could help Rushmoor Borough Council to listen to the thoughts of the public on how development is handled in the borough next year.
According to getHampshire:
“The document will include details on issues such as Aldershot and Farnborough town centres, housing delivery, and policies relating to Farnborough airport and surrounding employment sites that were previously being discussed as part of the Farnborough Airport Area Action Plan.”
The first session of public consultation on Delivering Development will take next spring, and social media may form an integral part of this for the first time.
Planning policy and conservation manager at the council, Katie Bailey, said:
“We have not discussed it specifically, and we have not used it yet as we have not had a major consultation on planning policy in a couple of years. But social media could be used in the consultation next year, as it is potentially a good tool for us to engage with the public.”
“We have to have regard to the comments that are made, and they are taken into account by planning officers.”
As well as utilising social media, the council intends to involve the Rushmoor Youth Forum and work closely with other organisations that deal with young people, those with disabilities and minority groups.
The most recent census data will also be used to decide how the needs of the community can best be served.
Senior project manager at housing support service, Radian Group, Rob Cummins also commented that:
“Youth engagement is a good idea” but questioned how the success of this would be measured.