Sharpe’s Corner, consultation management
Lakenheath in Suffolk has been identified by the local authority as requiring improved primary health care facilities and services; open space; and recreational and community facilities, including new care / nursing facilities to replace the existing run-down care home in the village. As such, Sanctuary Group, a charitable organisation, is discussing initial concepts for a residential development including nursing care and key worker accommodation and associated community facilities with the local authority. It is keen to extend this dialogue to existing Lakenheath residents and appointed us to devise a consultation project that would highlight the local community’s needs and wants to help draw up a detailed planning application.
Having devised a consultation strategy and programme identifying appropriate engagement methods based on project aims and setting out associated timings, we organised a public exhibition inviting key stakeholders, local councillors and over 4000 residents in the vicinity of the proposed development site to meet the project team, view early concepts and share ideas.
We produced all consultation materials, with work including the copy writing, design, production and distribution of a press release, an advert, letters to councillors, interest groups and residents; an introductory newsletter and an exhibition pop-up display. We also managed local media relations, securing an interview with BBC Radio Suffolk and key newspaper coverage. For those unable to attend the exhibition, we produced and distributed detailed information packs with a consultation questionnaire. We also handled all enquiries regarding the project (community, media, stakeholders, councillors). Following the event, all comments were compiled and analysed to determine feasible facilities and options for the development layout / design, feeding back into Sanctuary’s plans for an outline application.
We have reached a particularly important phase in the process which requires us to carry out sensitive consultation with the media, members of the County and local authority and the wider community in which this development will exist. Consense were appointed on the basis that they demonstrated wide ranging experience with this type and level of consultation. Their advice on preparation of material, releases to the press and local community have been invaluable.
National Development Manager (Extra Care), Sanctuary Housing