A change in the residential environment, for example, the arrival of new buildings, new infrastructure, wind turbines or new business activities often leads to concern among several neighbours about the deterioration of the existing residential and living environment, frustration about the course of events and concern about the remaining value of one's own home.
Local residents get together and a lot of energy is put into opposing the intervention, often as an action group with a core of active people directly involved and a larger group of supporters. These may be united in a foundation or association. Information evenings are attended, local government and political parties are approached and sometimes it is possible to participate as a neighbour in a project or sounding board group. In some cases, the aim of local residents is to prevent the intervention, to stop it or to block it for as long as possible. In other situations, local residents want the new initiative to fit in optimally with the existing environment and are looking for consultation in order to arrive at an optimal situation together. Although usually difficult for initiators and local authorities, such actions regularly have a corrective effect.
Setting up a successful group action involves many things that need to be arranged. The group organisation itself is essential, whether or not in the form of an association or foundation. The dossier formation and communication among themselves and externally with, for example, a website must be considered and sufficient financial budget must be generated to cover organisational and legal costs. A clear view of the substantive and procedural legal and political aspects of a case is very important to be able to exert influence in a targeted and timely manner and not to waste time, energy and costs on irrelevant matters. Participating in a form of citizen participation offers opportunities, but can also lead to a lot of frustration if the setting is not clear.
HABITAT supports and advises you on all these aspects and, if requested, acts as a sounding board and director for the targeted organisation of a group and the implementation of a group action.
Share the costs!
It is often difficult for people living in the vicinity of a worrisome initiative to generate sufficient budget for professional support. In practice, we see that the willingness to bear costs depends on the extent to which the contested intervention will affect their own personal living environment.
With HABITAT-COLLECTIVE we put our experience at your disposal for the necessary fundraising, agreements with legal aid insurers and the use of subsidised (environmental) legal aid.