Context: Homes in Pelton
Looking to invest in affordable housing while making a difference in local communities? Look no further than Karbon Homes. As a profit-for-a-purpose organization, Karbon Homes is committed to providing innovative, customer-focused solutions to their clients. With the help of the PlaceChangers planning toolkit, Karbon Homes and the consultant team around JDDK and Hedley Planning delivered insightful consultations and community engagement, ensuring this project was responsive to the concerns and needs of local residents.
Karbon Homes applied for permission to build a 107-home development in Pelton on a long-vacant former school site. With the site's central location, it was crucial to generate positive relationships with the community and seek meaningful feedback. It was key to generate rapport with local people about the design direction and to ask for meaningful feedback that can help the project team finalise the site design.
After site analysis, the initial layouts for the Roseberry project comprised new affordable homes, ample greenspace, and a walkable layout to cross over to a nearby sports court. By gathering thoughts and ideas, residents were invited to aid JDDK in enhancing the existing links through the site and create a final design that includes the needs of existing residents.
What was done: Set up of the interactive consultation for the local community
Working with Hedley Planning, Karbon Homes utilized the PlaceChangers platform to create an interactive, mobile-friendly consultation that allowed local residents to explore and comment on the draft site layouts developed by JDDK. Alongside this work, Hedley Planning prepared a health impact assessment using place analytics on PlaceChangers, read more here: Health impact assessment for new homes in Pelton accelerated by PlaceChangers toolkit
The interactive consultation included a guided tour of the proposed site layout, allowing respondents to easily identify and comment on critical aspects such as vehicular and pedestrian access points, open space provision, and boundary treatments. Respondents could also leave anonymous feedback on specific parts of the proposals and add ideas directly on the map to highlight areas of concern or share their own suggestions.
Unlike traditional planning documents, respondents didn't need to download any complex files or attend in-person meetings, making it more accessible and convenient for them to participate. After reviewing and commenting on the site layout, respondents could leave their participant details to allow the project team to better understand their backgrounds and perspectives.
Thanks to the innovative Print & Sent service provided by PlaceChangers, every household within 800 meters of the proposed site received a personalized consultation invitation. And to reach an even wider audience, the project team also set up a targeted Facebook ad campaign to engage with the local community.
Outcomes: Feedback for the designs
Local resident input has been invaluable to the Roseberry project team. Through the innovative PlaceChangers platform, 80 residents had the chance to explore the proposed site layout and leave their thoughts and feedback. And the results speak for themselves: 101 comments on 65 specific locations on the site, and an additional 11 idea annotations on the proposed layout.
While opinions were varied, the consultation received a balanced level of support, with 32% of respondents in favor of the project, 44% against, and 13% neutral. Respondents expressed support for the proposed space design between the new houses and the road, as well as additional trees along the western boundary. There was also enthusiasm for the proposed boundary treatments, and some residents even suggested additional walkways to the site from the northern edge.
Thanks to the power of PlaceChangers, Hedley Planning and the wider team could quickly and easily access convenient consultation summaries and generate a comprehensive report with visual summaries to complete the Statement for Community Involvement.
This project was granted full planning permission in late 2022.
Senior Development Officer, Karbon Homes
"Ensuring members of the local community get the chance to have their say on plans for developments that affect them, is a top priority for us at Karbon. As in-person consultations weren’t able to take place during the pandemic, we were keen to find an alternative that would still allow people to share their thoughts. Taking the consultation online and delivering it through a digital platform with PlaceChangers was a great option.
We were really pleased with the results we got from the digital consultation. The platform was easy for residents to use and we got lots of engagement and some really useful feedback over the two weeks it was open for. We would definitely recommend it to others looking to do something similar."
Planning Consultant, Hedley Planning
"We use PlaceChaners regularly. It is easy to set up projects, it gets us the insights we need, and ultimately helps us service our clients better."
PlaceChangers tools used
Karbon Homes is a housing association in the North East of England with an ambitions new built programme. Their footprint covers the North East of England and Yorkshire, with almost 30,000 homes across diverse communities, all facing different opportunities and challenges.
Hedley Planning is a leading SME planning consultancy in the North East with focus on residential projects and renewables.
JDDK Architects is a leading SME architecture firm in the North East. JDDK have a particular interest and have gained considerable experience in environmentally low impact design, the principles of which we apply to our work in all sectors. Their clients and development projects are located across the UK and we have worked in both Ireland and mainland Europe.