Engaging with Regeneration
The CCP was tasked with campaigning on behalf of plans for a regeneration project of 100 new apartments, in addition to commercial space and landscaping, in Alperton. Local residents had come to expect a certain level of engagement and benefits to their community. The London Borough of Brent had launched a vast programme of regeneration across the Borough. The Council led on this programme and had very high expectations of the level and detail of stakeholder and community engagement.
Due to the level of regeneration in the more residential areas such as Alperton, where this site is located, proposals were not always welcomed. Recently a very large application by a prominent developer was refused planning permission.
Infrastructure works are largely pre-determined by the Council’s regeneration policies and residents were consulted on those by the Council. The CCP had to ensure that these infrastructure promises made by the Council were realistic and that expectations were managed with local stakeholders about the delivery of these works.
A Public Exhibition was arranged for 28 and 29 March 2020 that had to be cancelled due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Forced with a potential delay of an indeterminate period of time, the CCP devised a Virtual Exhibition hosted on the website. This was proposed to the Planning Department, who agreed that it would satisfy their requirements for community involvement.
The CCP discovered that this method of a Virtual Exhibition, free from the time constraints of a traditional drop-in exhibition, engaged with much higher numbers. At the conclusion of the 21-day consultation period, the engagement level was 800% higher than what we would ordinarily expect.
What the CCP did:
- An informative community newsletter.
- A website hosting the Virtual Exhibition, with more information about the benefits and an interactive feedback page.
- Virtual meetings with key local stakeholders.
- Engagement with residents.
- A clear succinct message to explain the benefits and manage expectations of the infrastructure contributions.
The Leader of Brent Council and the Cabinet Member for Regeneration praised the CCP’s solution that meant the public could still be consulted extensively despite the social restrictions.