Community engagement and communication from inception through to delivery
- Service: Community engagement and communication
- Client: Cottingham Parks Golf and Leisure Club
Previously, the Wiles family had developed plans to widen their current offer at Cottingham Parks Golf and Leisure Club. Shared Agenda’s role resulted from the Wiles’ family acknowledging that they required development expertise to further their aspirations to create a deliverable development.
Part of Shared Agenda’s role was to organise public consultation events to engage the public’s cooperation and views on the proposed development for the Cottingham Parks site.
Communications with key stakeholders in the early stages of a planning application is an essential part of any development as it can often reflect how your scheme is viewed by the public and how you, as a company, are perceived within the community.
Due to the nature of the development, and the personal connection between the clients and the development, the organisation of the events meant that the clients had to be fully engaged and actively involved with all aspects of the consultations. By involving communities at an early stage in the decision-making process it helps to resolve issues, minimise unnecessary and costly conflict, and speeds-up delivery.
A full stakeholder matrix was developed very early in the discussions with key influencers and decision makers, alongside potential objectors and supporters, identified and actions developed to enable them to each be dealt with appropriately.
To help find an affordable and deliverable solution, we:
• Assisted with the formation of the Cottingham Parks vision, making it into a viable, robust and deliverable scheme
• Initiated discussions with the Planning Authority to fully understand the likely statutory position
• Provided assistance to develop a strong economic case. Creating a strong and viable planning argument that demonstrates the benefits of Cottingham Parks Scheme despite in an area that isn’t highlighted for development in the local plan.
• Overcame potential public objection, through extensive efforts to engage with the public adapting the development plan accordingly.
• Kept certain activities ‘in house’ ensuring a better value on expertise was given to the client
Cottingham Parks values its members and understands they’re at the core of all their business. Therefore it was key that we understood the client’s business. We needed to accommodate their current customers at Cottingham Parks throughout the consultation period. It was crucial that members only consultation times were provided along with member specific updates to encourage them to voice their concerns and in turn allow Cottingham parks to retain their members loyalty throughout the process.
These members’ only sessions incorporated the client’s main focus of appeasing their customer’s best interests throughout the consultation phase, making them feel valued and part of the journey.
We also ensured that local Parish and Ward Councillors benefitted from separate early briefings to ensure that they had the opportunity, as early as possible, to give their views on the scheme.
To meet the needs of the client and engage the key stakeholders related to this development, we had a clear strategy and plan to deliver on.
Engaging with the key stakeholders throughout the communications process allowed a good relationship to be built, with all stakeholders becoming fully aware of the different perspectives, opinions and insights of the local community during the process.
Below demonstrates the key stages of the consultations we provided with the stakeholders such as parish councils, planning committees, and members.
• Pre-application public stage
• Website launch – Commonplace site launched on 18th October; this enabled open debate on the scheme and access for the public to the most current information
• Key press briefings – Hull Daily Mail attendance at one of the consultation events. Cottingham Times advert.
• Leaflet / poster campaign and Press Release – leaflets and posters displayed in Cottingham Parks and also pubs and shops within Cottingham.
• Two rounds of public consultation events to show the developing masterplan and encourage further debate
We took the initiative to trial a new innovative form of communication with the key stakeholders and public. This was in the form of the website, Commonplace.
This tool enabled us to transfer any information regarding the development plans to the public and offer further chance for comments on these plans. This allowed us to target a wider audience such as those who weren’t able to attend the consultations and receive additional engagement from them.