Flemingate Shopping Centre
Project: Flemingate Shopping Centre
Client: The Wykeland Group
Skills: Planning and public affairs, stakeholder engagement, media relations
After almost 10 years of preparation and planning, the client decided to seek permission to develop this hugely important site, close to the town centre and the historic Beverley Minster, for retail and leisure use with the aim of attracting national High Street ‘names’.
Beverley has for many years been regarded as a high quality market town and tourist destination with a retail base consisting mainly of independent traders. Traffic congestion is a problem but the town remains a sought-after place to live and work.
The client knew the proposals would be stiffly resisted by many residents, the Civic Society, some councillors and especially existing traders.
tprc. was commissioned to deliver a public consultation and PR programme that would eliminate as many negative views as possible, replacing them with positives, all based on the theme that the new Flemingate will bring new life – and more jobs – to this part of town.
We targeted community groups, local government, business and local residents.
Presentations were made to the Town Council, East Riding ward councillors, the Chamber of Trade. We met with the local MP, the Leader of the East Riding of Yorkshire Council and individual traders.
We delivered a letter to 500 local homes and businesses and held a Private Preview and exhibition for those closely affected by the scheme.
An active media campaign provided regular updates on the planning and a leaflet with response tear-off, a website and email link enabled people to submit their views on the proposals.
By focussing on a few key messages, for example the creation of 700 new jobs, the transformation of a former industrial site into bright, attractive retail and leisure outlets, the better management of traffic, providing more than 500 parking spaces etc, all combined to persuade the public (mostly) and certainly the planners and planning councillors that the new Flemingate would indeed be great news for Beverley.
By controlling the flow of detailed, accurate information, by holding meetings with every interested party, by creating communication links between the public and the client, we were indeed able to convert most of the negatives to positives and help the client achieve his planning consent.