Communicating contentious issues

Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board John Wilkinson Wilkinson PR & Comms Community Housin...

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Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board John Wilkinson Wilkinson PR & Comms Community Housing Cymru – PR Network – 18 March 2014

Welcome to my worst nightmare

Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

…in which, no matter what you say, this…

Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

…to some people, will always mean this…

Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

Community Engagement is second nature to most RSLs

Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

…but pre-planning consultation is different

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well-informed vs misinformed resistant to your messages who’s agenda? NIMBY vs genuine concerns Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

We’re not lying!!

Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

It’s up to us to fill the information vacuum

Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

Trevor Bowen Court, Monmouth

Thornwell Road, Chepstow

Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

Trevor Bowen Court Monmouth •  •  •  •  • 

55 ‘room’ sheltered housing scheme Bedsits / shared bathrooms 33 residents – aged 69+ Not fit for purpose (WHQS) Options appraisal – demolish and rebuild – replace with 25 bed ‘older persons’ scheme, plus 12 houses for sale on open market

Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

Trevor Bowen Court Monmouth •  Tenant and family engagement •  Decamp programme – fully-managed – dedicated neighbourhood officer – but within normal bidding process •  Involved in design process for new scheme •  Given ‘first dibs’ on new scheme

Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

Trevor Bowen Court Monmouth •  •  •  •  •  •  • 

Existing tenants …and their families Neighbours Community groups Elected members Planning officers Media

Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

Trevor Bowen Court Monmouth •  Local community informed of plans at earliest opportunity – door drop letter / invite to see plans •  Exhibition near site – posters, mentioned in door drop, advert in local papers, PR •  Lots of staff at exhibition – able to speak one on one •  Simple feedback form – addressed issues ahead of planning application Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

Trevor Bowen Court Monmouth •  Community engagement report submitted with planning application •  Traffic concerns addressed •  No objections •  Permission granted as delegated decision

Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

Thornwell Road, Chepstow •  90 garage complex with green space surrounded by former Council properties now mostly in private ownership •  Many / most properties surrounding site have established ‘access’ onto garage site •  Green space within site •  Proposals to demolish garages, build 19 units and retain most (65%) of open space

Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

Thornwell Road, Chepstow •  •  •  •  • 

Local residents Garage leaseholders Elected members Planning officers Media

Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

Thornwell Road, Chepstow •  Local community informed of plans at earliest opportunity – door drop letter / invite to see plans •  Exhibition near site – posters, mentioned in door drop, advert in local papers, PR •  Lots of staff at exhibition – able to speak one on one •  Simple feedback form Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

Thornwell Road, Chepstow •  Acquisition of property at entrance to site and alterations to garden taken place – rumours •  Significant resistance to ‘social housing’ •  Significant disquiet about loss of green space •  Rabble-rousing by local Councillors •  Accused of lying and pre-determination

Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

Thornwell Road, Chepstow •  Technical issues raised (flooding, density, not NIMBYism) were addressed before planning application submitted •  Green space issue under-estimated – Council swayed by impassioned pleas by resident re green space •  Plans reviewed to reduce number of units and retain all open space •  Permission granted following revisions and re-submission Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

Lessons to learn •  •  •  •  •  • 

Advise and consult early Be transparent Provide clear information Involve community leaders early on Be open to ideas and critique Be sympathetic to needs and concerns

Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

Neil Ingham, Communications Director Seren Group

Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

Seren Group: Loftus Garden Village

• !City!Centre! • !Brownfield! • !Business!Park! • !Access!Issues!

Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

“Access!to!the!area!will!be!via!nearby!Telford! Street!and!Lliswerry!Cllr!John!Griffiths!asked! for!assurances!that!exisCng!residents!who!live! in!surrounding!streets!would!not!be! inconvenienced!by!the!reopening!of!a! number!of!blocked!off!roads,!which!have! been!culIdeIsacs!for!around!20!years.! ! He!said:!“If!there!was!any!aOempt!to!open! them!up,!there!would!be!uproar!and! pandemonium.!It!would!be!totally!unfair!aPer! a!long!length!of!Cme.”! ! His!colleague!Cllr!Allan!Morris!echoed!his! concerns!and!said!he!hoped!industrial! vehicles!would!not!be!able!to!use!the! surrounding!streets!as!ratIruns.! ! Members!were!assured!by!planning!officers! that!Telford!Street!would!be!the!only!access! to!the!site!and!permission!was!granted!with! five!votes!to!one.!

Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

Mobs....!

Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

MeeCngs....!

Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

“A!separate!session!for!Wednesbury!Street! residents!was!held!on!Monday!night!where! ward!councillor!Allan!Morris!said!residents! were!supporCve!of!the!scheme!in!general!but! were!opposed!to!access!via!their!street.! ! He!said:!"There!are!a!few!specific!issues!that! concern!people!and!we!will!work!with!the! residents!and!the!developer!to!come!to!the! best!soluCon!possible.!This!really!is!all!round! posiCve!news!for!Lliswerry.!There!is!potenCal! to!clear!up!an!eyesore,!create!jobs!and!put!a! roof!over!people's!heads."! ! Mr!Barber!said!they!will!review!the!responses! from!this!week's!consultaCon!before!a! detailed!planning!applicaCon!is!submiOed!to! Newport!council!in!the!spring.! ! Another!exhibiCon!will!be!held!at!the!Mary! Dunn!Club!today!between!2pm!and!6pm.”! Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

Resident!Julie!OOon!said:!“I!like!the!sound!of!the! plan,!but!my!concern!is!the!impact!of!traffic!on!the! exisCng!streets!surrounding!the!new!houses.! ! “Residents!on!Wednesbury!Street!are!a!close! community!and!I!fear!this!maybe!lost!as!the!street! is!extended!into!the!housing!development.”! ! Seren!Group!representaCve,!Neil!Barber,!assured! that!the!main!access!to!the!site!will!be!from!Telford! Street,!and!traffic!calming!measures!will!ensure! that!other!routes!are!not!used!as!main!access! points.! ! Following!the!meeCng,!Cllr!Allan!Morris,!who! arranged!the!meeCng,!said:!“This!is!a!very!exciCng! and!overdue!development!that!will!enhance!an! industrial!eyesore.! ! “We!want!to!ensure!the!best!deal!possible!and! minimise!the!effect!on!residents,!by!working!with! them!and!the!developers.”! ! Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

Concerns!had!been!raised!by!residents!in!May! 2013,!about!access!and!the!increase!of!traffic!on! Wednesbury!Street.! ! But!these!fears!were!answered!by!Seren!Group! representaCve,!Neil!Barber,!who!assured!residents! that!the!main!access!to!the!site!will!be!from!Telford! Street,!and!traffic!calming!measures!will!ensure! that!other!routes!are!not!used!as!primary!access! points.! ! Allan!Morris,!a!ward!councillor!for!Lliswerry!said:! “The!development!has!been!a!long!Cme!coming! and!it’ll!be!nice!to!see!lovely!buildings!that’ll!bring!a! posiCve!element!to!the!area.! ! “We!have!a!very!good!working!relaConship!with! the!Seren!Group!and!we!will!work!together!should! any!issues!arise.!A!once!industrial!eyesore!will!very! soon!be!buildings!to!be!proud!of.”!

Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

Any questions? Any comments?

Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

John Wilkinson Wilkinson PR & Comms 07967 967463 @johnnyprboy [email protected] www.wilkinsonpr.co.uk Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

and while I’ve got your attention… Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

Training •  Media Interviews – being prepared •  Public Speaking – working with your audience •  Business Continuity Planning – communicating during a crisis

Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

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Open Course exclusive to CHC / RSLs Partnering with CHC (venue / catering) Bespoke to current issues (CHC advising) Peer groups of 4-6 people Reduced cost negotiated by CHC

Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board

John Wilkinson Wilkinson PR & Comms 07967 967463 @johnnyprboy / @wilkinsonpr [email protected] www.wilkinsonpr.co.uk Community Housing Cymru PR Network – 18 March 2014 Communicating contentious issues and getting the community on board