THE GAZETTE has reported on two different public exhibitions this week (page 1 and page 3), both of which deal with planning applications that will have a massive impact on the local area if granted.

But how much weight is giving to the public’s concerns, or even their opposition to plans?

While every developer will insist that they listen to what residents have to say about what they are intending to do to the local area, it is not likely it is high in their list of concerns.

While it is unfair to tar every developer with the same brush, they should always be held accountable to what they are told by those affected most by their actions, the neighbouring residents, and what they do in response.

More often than not slight changes are made to accede to locals’ demands but the plan put forward will be largely the one that goes to council to vote on.

But therein can be the danger for developers. If they have not done at least some work on accepting people’s problems with a proposed development site, they could well be told to go back to the drawing board by those people’s representatives on the council.

In this instance, developers either appeal or go back and revise their plans or even give up altogether. All three are very expensive options.

So it is always worth having your say and bearing in mind what comes out of these public exhibitions to make sure both developers and the council consider the comments properly before a far-changing application is granted.