550 houses
Horsham District Council

Background

SP Broadway was instructed by a consortium of housebuilders to undertake political and community consultation for proposals to provide 550 homes, land for a new primary school and other amenities in Billingshurst, West Sussex.

Challenge

Convincing politicians, residents and community representatives of the merits of new development that would enable key improvements to be made to a deteriorating town centre.

Solution

  • Briefing meetings were held with county, district and parish councillors informing them of the proposals and ensuring they understood the benefits.
  • We held a public exhibition over two days. Results showed a broadly positive approach to the development with 50% stating that they supported the principle of planned development in Billingshurst, which would bring with it a package of community benefits.
  • SP Broadway organised three Community Liaison Group (CLG) meetings prior to submitting the planning application. The group kept residents up to date on the proposals and provided a forum for community concerns.

Result

SP Broadway was able to ensure residents, stakeholders and political leaders were aware of the proposals and had a clear understanding of the benefits. We acted as a first point of contact for residents, political, community and media stakeholders and built a solid communication base. The local MP remarked that he thought the consortium’s engagement “very comprehensive”.

Although Horsham District Council rejected the application for 550 homes in July 2012, a revised application for 475 homes – with an extra £1.72m of community investment in lieu of a 5% reduction in affordable housing – was approved in August 2013.