A multi-million pound scheme to revitalise the tired retail centre of Clevedon, Somerset, promoted by Wessex Development & Investments and Fabrix London.
Against a backdrop of pandemic-forced delays, and strong objection from the Town Council, the project was deferred at its first committee when it became clear that many members emerging from lockdown needed greater knowledge about the site and relevant policies. Our task evolved from consultation to engagement as we identified and filled knowledge gaps, and built productive relationships with stakeholders that would help accelerate the planning process for this project.
- The first lockdown clashed with a long-planned in-person public exhibition
- The Town Council steadfastly objected on grounds of non-policy (immaterial) points
- The lockdowns had prevented newer District Council planning committee members from receiving sufficient project briefings or their required planning training
- Vociferous but anonymous minority group of objectors
- Uncontrolled spread of misinformation
- Lack of identified advocates
- Created and promoted a fully-digital exhibition in just three weeks, and provided a central contact point to ensure comprehensive engagement during the first Covid lockdown
- Helped identify knowledge gaps and provide substantiated facts to support corrective and infill briefings
- Deep analysis of consultation responses (client’s and Council’s) to present a compelling case that the community did not object (as was being claimed)
- Established positive relationship with local news and social media outlets, enabling retrospective corrections and ongoing provision of trusted, factual information
- Counter PR campaign to spread fact-based information, and turn the mood tide
- Helped mobilise the active support of three influential business groups
- Lobbied and mobilised political advocates
- Project and team coordination
North Somerset Council voted 9:2 to approve the planning application in November 2021.
‘It was a long and difficult road but Seaxburh’s collaborative approach, diligence and downright persistence helped us achieve our goal in the end!’
Andrew Pegg, Managing Director, Wessex Development & Investments