PRESS RELEASE: “Planning for the Future” by Empowering Future Generations

  • The Government’s latest planning reform document suggests automatic planning approval for many building uses and the scrapping of Section 106 obligations;
  • Concern has been raised across the construction industry regarding environmental responsibilities, affordable housing, place-making and a lack of focus on retrofitting;
  • This provides an excellent opportunity to give young people an active and meaningful voice in the future of their area as they become taxpayers, tenants and commuters;
  • Youth activism, co-creation and collaborative planning are also powerful ways to showcase the breadth of construction and address misperceptions of the industry


LONDON, UK: Built Environment Skills in Schools (BESS) today urged construction employers to grab the opportunities provided by the Government’s shake-up of planning regulations as an opportunity to engage young people in the exciting challenges of the industry and tackle some established misperceptions of construction’s roles and responsibilities.


The “Guerrilla Stakeholders” framework, delivered by BESS, targets young people whose views are not formally sought by construction, but who will be the future product-users and taxpayers of work that is delivered under these new guidelines. Guerrilla Stakeholders empowers young people as active citizens of their built environment, using existing relationships with schools to share consultations with simplified proposals and project details in the form of lesson plans. BESS also provides schools and pupils with a database of live consultations collated from sources across the UK.


Kathryn Lennon-Johnson, founder of BESS, said, “The built environment matters. It has consequences. The things we build affect generations to come and making the wrong choices now will compound the impact of climate change and create slum towns of the future. ‘Guerrilla Stakeholders’ encourages students to engage in consultations and give their thoughts on carbon reduction, sustainability, and the green recovery. We don’t have time to waste; we must build the right things in the right way, not just for this moment but with a clear vision of the future in mind. Young people are keen to focus on utilising a circular economy approach for the life of the building, and giving clear consideration to flexible use, energy efficiency, and care for materials choices. They also have understandable concerns about their opportunities as homeowners of the future”


Previous Guerrilla Stakeholder consultations have highlighted students’ views on the redevelopment of high streets and the prioritisation of roads over more sustainable forms of transport. Regional inequality in Britain is higher than in any other OECD country, and social mobility continues to decline so young people’s future job prospects, opportunities and wellbeing depend on our ability to make the right choices. Co-creation and collaboration with young people will not only ensure that construction builds better things, but it will also provide experiential learning opportunities for students that will challenge established misperceptions of the industry.


Construction organisations are encouraged to actively seize this chance to gain feedback, ideas, contribution and engagement from the emerging generation of active citizens. Guerrilla Stakeholders also provides an opportunity to inspire and help address the industry’s ongoing skills shortage and lack of appeal with a potential new workforce.