Unique consultation websites.
The COVID pandemic has demonstrated to the world the vital importance of the internet. Almost all aspects of life now involve visiting a website whether it be online shopping, paying bills, reading your daily newspaper, or watching TV. Face-to-face meetings can’t take place and we have to rely on services such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams to conduct meetings.
This has actually made things a lot easier for consultation and engagement as virtually the entire population has been forced to go online and learn how to navigate their way around websites for their day-to-day existence.
We have seen a huge increase in website traffic on our consultation websites and they have become the pivotal tool in any consultation or engagement strategy.
We have very carefully studied a large number of websites and has devised a formula that has proved to be extremely effective in engaging with residents:
- Easy domain name with a dedicated website:
- We always recommend getting a dedicated domain that establishes the identity of the proposed development. This helps to build the identity of the “new neighbourhood” and can be transferred to the sales team later and eventually to the local community once the site is occupied.
- Additional Information and updates:
- The newsletter provides essential information to explain to a resident with a passing interest what the proposals are without an “information overload”. The website is then used to provide additional information i.e. wider highways improvements, design details, environmental improvements, ecological surveys and improvements to biodiversity, sustainability etc. The website can also be updated easily with information.
- Hosting the Virtual Exhibition:
- We started developing Virtual Exhibitions and Information Films before the COVID pandemic and used it to great effect. This is hosted on the home page of the website and is the first thing residents see when they visit the website. We invite them to watch the Virtual Exhibition that helps us to get the information over in a very effective way where residents simply sit passively with the easily accessible information provided to them.
- “Voting” on infrastructure preferences:
- To really highlight the huge infrastructure contributions, we have introduced running votes and petitions of support on these infrastructure contributions to further highlight the benefits and demonstrate to the planning officers that residents support the benefits the proposed development will provide. Quite apart from that it also engages residents on actively recognising and supporting the proposals.
- Hosting the Feedback Function and contact details:
- The website contains a feedback function with set questions and then free areas for other comments that site outside the set parameters of the feedback. The set questions are specifically aimed at gathering essential information to strengthen the application while the free” section provides a space for the resident to express any other views or ask questions. We also provide a dedicated telephone number and e-mail address that is monitored in real time.