Andrew L Smith
Director of Planning, Transportation and Economic Development, Leicester City Council
When we unveiled plans to demolish Belgrave Flyover in January 2014, community engagement was a priority. The iconic arterial route, used by thousands of motorists every day, had dominated the cityscape for residents, traders and shoppers in Leicester’s famous Golden Mile for over 40 years. Its demolition had potential to be a highly contentious issue. On behalf of Sainsbury’s, GBW worked closely with Leicester City Council and key stakeholders to ensure that good community relations were upheld throughout the demolition process, clearly communicating the benefits of a new city gateway and the wider regeneration of the area.
Stakes were high; not only politically but also in terms of time pressure and access. It was critical that works to remove the flyover ran as smoothly as possible and that communications were properly managed.
The GBW team ensured a co-ordinated approach and consulted on demolition options, issued regular letters to a large community database, held successful face-to-face consultations with local businesses, managed a Freephone and developed a suite of marketing display materials, including billboards.
They handled the complicated project with skill, understanding and a steely determination to ensure all messages were conveyed clearly and all audiences engaged. They worked effectively and in a timely and sympathetic manner and we were not disappointed – local residents, businesses and key stakeholders felt that they had been fully engaged and informed.
Head of Property Communications, Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd.
Gough Bailey Wright was retained by Sainsbury’s Property team for approximately 15 years to carry out community and public affairs. During that time the GBW team supported our development programme by overseeing the communications for a range of medium to longterm projects for over 100 sites across the east and west Midlands. At any one time they were dealing with up to 20 ‘live’ projects.
GBW’s team demonstrated excellent account management skills, including the flexibility to attend on-site briefing meetings and regular team meetings in London/Coventry, as well as out of hours resident and stakeholder meetings.
Typically, a full communications campaign for Sainsbury’s new developments would include producing communications strategies, extensive political and stakeholder engagement, PR, press adverts, door-to-door literature, websites and appropriately branded public exhibitions and other materials.
GBW’s team used a number of processes and materials to facilitate the smooth running of the account and ensure that we had the management information that we needed. With excellent knowledge of the planning process, they adopted a pro-active approach to ensure full and proper consultation on our planning applications, whilst also responding quickly to issues when they arose, developing imaginative ways of dealing with unforeseen situations and able to advise on the best course of action.
Team members were able to build excellent relationships and networks at every level. Their personable and approachable manner also made a real difference when consulting and communicating with members of the public and all key stakeholders, particularly on more controversial schemes.
The team worked exceptionally hard to help us achieve our targets and, although GBW is not currently retained due to the change in our programme priorities, they are still working for us on some major mixed-use developments.
Norman J White
Deputy Project Director Retail, Land Securities
Gough Bailey Wright was engaged by the Harvest Partnership (a joint venture between Land Securities and Sainsbury’s) in respect of our sensitive development in Selly Oak, Birmingham.
A large number of stakeholders required address over an extended period, including MPs, local Councillors, the local authority, retailers, community and special interest groups, as well as individuals. Consultation took the form of focused presentations, exhibitions, a managed website, letter drops and supporting calls via a helpline.
GBW performed to a very high standard; from development of a communication strategy and plan, through to delivery of our message to the various groups and individuals. We appreciated their guidance on many occasions – particularly as our message needed to develop through the course of consultation.
We obtained our Planning Permission in October 2013 and have re-engaged GBW on further works as we embark on site remediation activities, which are both interesting to the local community and potentially disruptive. Liaison with schools in respect of hoarding design has been just one of the recent success stories. We also intend to engage GBW for the next stage of works: delivery of the new scheme, which consists of retail and student accommodation, commencing in February 2016.
We have no hesitation in recommending GBW for their professionalism and support, but also to recommend the positive and amiable people they employ. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if anything further is required.