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Better Queensway

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Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is bringing forward proposals for a new residential-led development in the Queensway area of Southend, made up of around 1,300 high quality homes, including a minimum of 441 affordable housing units, commercial space, improved public areas and a new road network.

Copper was appointed by the Council to provide strategic communications consultancy and lead a consultation for this major regeneration scheme in the heart of the town centre.

Objectives

  • To design and implement a communications strategy to promote the Council’s vision for the Queensway site – Better Housing, Better Living, Better Place
  • To effectively communicate the high-level principles and benefits of the scheme, and deliver a robust consultation for the community to feed back their ambitions for the development
  • To clearly distinguish between the housing elements of the scheme, which were in the early stages of development, and the transport infrastructure which had undergone a detailed design process
  • To ensure existing residents and businesses on the Queensway site, who would be displaced by the development, were given assurances over their future and were aware of the options available
  • To protect and enhance the Council’s reputation through an inclusive and robust consultation with a range of stakeholders, including residents, businesses and community groups
  • To support the Council with providing assurance to prospective development partners ahead of the formal process for procuring a joint venture partner

Audience

  • Existing residents and businesses on the Queensway site
  • MPs, councillors, businesses and residents’ associations
  • The wider community including residents, businesses and community groups

Strategy

Our strategy was to develop a strong narrative for the project, which encapsulated the Council’s vision and was designed to ensure the community understood the regeneration potential for Queensway and the benefits it would bring to the local area. This was used as the foundation for all subsequent communications and engagement and ensured that the community could make an informed response to the consultation.

Implementation

  • Developed visual, concise and plain English materials to ensure the community understood the regeneration potential for Southend
  • Facilitated an upfront briefing meeting with existing residents and businesses on the site to discuss the scheme and provide them with a first look at the proposals
  • Developed a media relations and social media campaign to promote the consultation
  • Organised face-to-face meetings with councillors and key stakeholders to directly address their feedback surrounding the project
  • Organised public consultation events and provided multiple communications avenues for respondents to the consultation
  • Created an engaging leaflet summarising the consultation findings, supported by a full consultation report, to demonstrate that community feedback had been listened to

Outputs and outcomes

  • Produced a comprehensive list of aspirations for the site based on the consultation feedback, which Southend-on-Sea Borough Council incorporated into the criteria for selecting a development partner
  • Local people raised concern with the proposed transport infrastructure and new road network so, as a result, this element of the scheme will be designed with a development partner to ensure both the transport and housing infrastructure fit together seamlessly
  • Being open, directly engaging with and listening to the feedback from the key stakeholder groups, particularly those with concerns about the development, preventing them expressing concerns to local media
  • Maintained a two-way dialogue with existing residents and businesses to allay any concerns, a dialogue which is continuing as the project develops

Client testimonial

“Working with Copper has been a pleasure – they went above and beyond with their support, advice and guidance. Our tight deadlines were met every time, no query was too small and the help and advice given when dealing with a few difficult stakeholders was invaluable. I would, and have happily recommended them within our company and will personally be using Copper again in the future. Thank you for helping us get a complex scheme clearly explained to a large audience.” Gemma Webb, Better Queensway Project Manager – Southend-on-Sea Borough Council

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