RDPA Case Study: Taylor Wimpey – Haydock Grange

Posted on August 21st, 2013

Background

Haydock Grange is a housing scheme, aimed at alleviating the lack of alternative housing sites available in Preston. Since being awarded city status in 2002, Preston has witnessed a shortage of housing stock, which has contributed to a slowdown in population grow and an increase in the number of people moving to other parts of Lancashire.

Introduced by Taylor Wimpey, the Haydock Grange proposals included plans for up to 450 energy-efficient family homes to be built on the site, as well as a raft of improvements to local infrastructure.

Brief

RDPA was brought in by Taylor Wimpey to position Haydock Grange as a new Grade A development, that would bring a host of benefits to the local community. Prior to our appointment, the planning application had twice been refused due to negative public perception. With this in mind, we were also tasked with engaging locals and working to mobilise support through a variety of mediums and events to enable the approval of the application, and alter people’s perception of the proposals.

In regard to these aims, we administered a series of public consultations aimed at engaging and strengthening links with the local community. These events were combined with a sustained campaign of media relations that helped to raise awareness of the scheme and its benefits, as well as combat the negativity and apathy that had dominated the previous consultation exercises.

What we did and how we did it

We aimed to go the extra mile with a public consultation campaign that centred around the use of social media as a way to engage and inform the target audience directly. We used channels like Twitter and Facebook as part of a multi-channel campaign of content that would help Taylor Wimpey to connect with key audiences, particularly those who were reluctant to engage with consultations carried out through traditional means.

These activities were complemented by media relations efforts that Taylor Wimpey’s commitment to working as part of the local community. We developed a strategy that took a plethora of media channels into account, ensuring that a cross section of people had access to details of the proposed development and were able to provide feedback in a quick and convenient manner.

Results

  • Our social media campaign was welcomed by the local community, which included 550 connections made through Twitter, 68 influential likes recorded on Facebook and more than 400 views on the Haydock Grange YouTube channel.
  • Using the Haydockgrange.co.uk website as a hub, our efforts drove a steady stream of traffic to the portal. Over a ten-week period, it received more than 1600 visits.
  • We interviewed a range of high-profile figures involved in the planning submission, utilising these videos for a ‘talking heads’ section on the website. These addressed the issues raised by the community and were incorporated alongside social media activity to educate the public and drive further traffic to social profiles and the site itself.
  • Our monitoring tools revealed a 45% increase in the number of positive conversations being had about the scheme since the campaign’s start. Similarly, we found that the influential 35-44 year-old audience had been accurately and successfully targeted thanks to our efforts.
  • Planning permission for the scheme was given in January 2012.