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Mixed Use – Retail-led

Client Problem

  • Our client’s site comprised two large gas holders, a 1950s office building and approximately 15 old ground floor retail units at the less salubrious end of a town centre
  • Terms had been agreed with a ‘big five’ supermarket for a new store alongside proposed restaurants, non-food retail, 150 residential units, new public open space and improved highways and pedestrian access
  • We were under 18 months from local elections and the immediate local community were against the plans
  • The site’s ward and neighbouring ward were represented by the current and two former Council leaders
  • Scheme viability was a very delicate issue due to high remediation costs and affordable housing
  • Furthermore, the Lib Dem council was very sensitive to d town centre development having made some bad mistakes in the past

Our Approach

  • It was critically important to establish relationships with Council leadership, the GLA and local ward members
  • We targeted one member (an influential ex-Council leader) as our project champion inside the ruling group.  He acted as a useful conduit/sounding board and helped facilitate dialogue
  • Through direct engagement with the Council leader and local GLA member very early on, we were able to ensure our client understood what both the administration and GLA needed from us.  There were some very specific political, commercial and design requests made to which our positive response helped the project through the planning process
  • We executed a very comprehensive public engagement exercise, much lauded by politicians and public alike, which generated support from across the Borough

Result

  • At committee, the president of the local chamber of commerce spoke in support as did the Council leader, the first time she had ever done so during her time on the Council
  • After spirited debate, we won 7:1


“You know, if you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything, wouldn’t you, at any time? And you would achieve nothing!”
Margaret Thatcher, from a Press Association interview on her 10th anniversary as Prime Minister, 1989

Mixed Use – Retail-led

Client Problem Our client’s site comprised two large gas holders, a 1950s office building and approximately 15 old ground floor retail units at the less salubrious end of a town centre Terms had been agreed with a ‘big five’ supermarket for a new store alongside proposed restaurants, non-food retail, 150 residential units, new public open […]