There are signs that the new wave of hyperlocals springing up across the country are having an impact on the decisions and services that affect people’s homes and local areas.
Research for a recent article on Inside Housing turned up plenty of examples of influencing policy at a ‘granular’ level.
Residents of one particular street in Bournville, Birmingham, were disgruntled that Birmingham City Council were no longer planting trees outside their homes due to the higher costs of planting in a paved area. But online publicity on hyperlocal website Bournville Village and a discussion with the local councillor brought about a change of heart.
Site editor and social media lecturer David Harte said: ‘We might have had an impact on changing council’s policy on planting trees in the pavement,’ he says. ‘In some ways it’s trivial, but it’s the kind of thing that gets residents uptight.’
He added that traditional local media would not have covered the issue: ‘The newspaper might be interested in it at the point at which it becomes a row between two councillors, but not at the point of influencing policy.’