The former Peak Freans Biscuit factory is one of the largest brownfield sites approved for mixed use development in Southwark. It is due to deliver over 1,500 new homes alongside major retail and public realm opportunities to connect different parts of Bermondsey. After a complex planning history, Greystar purchased the site from Grosvenor in October 2022 and identified a range of proposed improvements. This followed several years of increasing uncertainty from the community about the status of the plans and their deliverability.

    Kanda was asked to lead on an integrated communications programme that would introduce Greystar to the community and explain the proposed changes to a diverse network of stakeholders who had lost faith in the plans being delivered.

    Kanda immediately brought forward an accelerated engagement programme that exceeded Southwark’s consultation requirements and powerfully made the case for how the proposed changes would benefit the community. We combined doorstep engagement in neighbouring estates with sophisticated social media campaigns across Southwark, but both were driven by our extensive intelligence about local priorities in Bermondsey.

    We worked closely with Greystar to develop a local events programme, regularly showing visibility in the community and building relationships with key advocates. This has led to a Community Investment Programme with identified partnerships that will tailor our socioeconomic benefits offer to the aspirations of neighbours in Bermondsey.

    All of this has been aligned with a local media strategy to promote the benefits of the Build to Rent model and the outcomes of Greystar’s investment in Bermondsey.

    With wide-ranging engagement over the last year, we have established Greystar as an active member of the Bermondsey community who can be trusted to bring forward these long-awaited

    proposals. Influential local advocates now have a direct line of communication to Greystar and are working in partnership to ensure the project’s delivery aligns with local aspirations for community-led regeneration in Bermondsey.

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