Context: Homes in Pelton
Karbon Homes invests in affordable rented housing in local communities in the North East as a profit-for-a-purpose organisation. Karbon Homes is an innovation leader in their sector with an agenda to set objectives based on clear customer insights. They could efficiently deliver on that objective with insightful consultations for community engagement and site analysis via the PlaceChangers planning toolkit.
Karbon Homes applied for permission to build a 107-home development in Pelton on a former site in Pelton, which lay vacant for many years. Due to the site's central location in Pelton, the project attracted considerable interest from residents for the consultation. 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 robust site analysis, the initial ideas for the Roseberry project comprised new and affordable homes including ample greenspace and a walkable layout. JDDK, the project architects, developed a high-quality mixed-tenure site layout for Karbon Homes that utilised and enhanced the existing links through the site. The design provided passage to the playing fields on the eastern boundary, open spaces suitable to the local population.
What was done: Set up of the interactive consultation for the local community
On behalf of Karbon Homes, Hedley Planning used the PlaceChangers platform to create a mobile-friendly interactive consultation for the local community using the draft site layouts developed by JDDK. The map highlighted critical aspects of the proposed site layout, including vehicular and pedestrian access points, open space provision, boundary treatments, and the range of proposed housing types.
In the interactive consultation, respondents could explore the proposed site layout using an interactive guided tour and leave ideas and thoughts on specific parts of the proposals. Respondents did not need to download a series of complex planning documents, and they could respond anonymously online.
Using PlaceChangers interactive consultation, respondents could also add ideas directly on the map to point out specific locations for which they had a concern or an idea. After they reviewed and commented on the site layout, respondents could leave participant details so that the project team could understand their background.
To generate awareness of the consultation, the project team sent personalised consultation invitations to all households within 800 metres around the site. PlaceChangers provided a convenient Print & Sent service for those postcards and set up a Facebook advert for the local area.
Outcomes: Feedback for the designs
The consultation was highly successful. Eighty residents took the opportunity and left 101 comments on 65 locations on the site. The consultation received a balanced level of support, with 32% of respondents favouring the project, 44% were against, and 13% neutral.
Residents appreciated exploring the designs in detail and leaving feedback on specific aspects. There was support for the space design between the new houses and the road and additional trees planted along the Western boundary. The site featured a sports pitch on its eastern side, and some suggestions were made for additional walkways to the site from the northern edge. Some residents also voiced support for the layout of proposed boundary treatments.
Using PlaceChangers, Hedley Planning and the wider team could tap into convenient consultation summaries and generate a consultation report with visual summaries to complete the Statement for Community Involvement.
The project remains accessible online: https://app.placechangers.co.uk/campaign/201/overview
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.