Challenge:

    Our client brought us on board to support a project on a highly contentious site. A previous proposal on the site by a different developer was rejected by the community because they didn’t feel their voice was listened too. Our role was to support the new developer to reset the community relationship and unlock the site’s potential. Making this more challenging were well-established ideas on the use, character and design of the site, as well as a highly organised and resourced local community, who remain well-connected and respected by key decision makers.

    Action:

    In collaboration with the client and the design team, we developed a proactive engagement programme that involved a wide range of people from the local community in constructive and influential conversations about the project’s development. This proactive engagement included direct outreach to local amenity and community stakeholder groups, door-to-door resident sentiment testing, and an extensive series of community workshops covering themes of identity, character, live/work/play, belonging, and beauty.

    Our team has worked as the trusted face of the client and design team, supporting public consultation events as well as leading on the outreach community engagement. We have also supported the work of the innovative Public Realm Inclusivity Panel – a diverse group of 15 local people aged 14 years and above that have been meeting for over a year to creatively work through topics to inform design development.

    Result:

    Consultation and engagement on the new masterplan for Earl’s Court is ongoing. Early proactive engagement on the project has resulted in the initial designs being well-received and constructively debated in multiple forums.

    The ongoing workshops are a key part of developing Design Codes for the planning application, which is anticipated to be submitted in 2024.

    While this work is ongoing, this type of innovative engagement demonstrates how we can help shift local perceptions if the community is meaningfully involved in the project.

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