Public Consultation at Perrysfield – Digital Engagement

IPS are engaged as project lead and planning consultants, by our clients Knightwood Developments Ltd to bring forward the redevelopment of a farm complex at Perrysfield Farm, Oxted. As part of the application preparation the client engaged with the public via a fully inclusive consultation process that allowed for the public to share their thoughts on the proposed development in advance of its submission to Tandridge District Council.

Following the Covid pandemic, we have seen a substantial reduction in face-to-face meetings and public events. There is much more reliance in all aspects of planning and communication in virtual meetings and consultation to actively engage with stakeholders and members of the public. The consultation was thus proposed to be in an entirely virtual format, utilising the services of Deetu, digital engagement specialists, and an online tool – engaged space platform.

The consultation was communicated via press releases to media outlets, leaflet drops to local addresses, social media, and stakeholder consultation. A publicly accessible webpage explained the current progress with the scheme, rationale for the proposals, and proposed development. This included family homes, affordable homes and accommodation for the independent elderly persons (over 55s). This brought together all members of the project team, in delivering a concise display of information and visualisations to enable a clear understanding of the emerging scheme.

Image courtesy of Deetu / Levitate

The consultation attracted over 807 unique visitors to the website and the completion of 130 survey responses. A freephone number was available for those unable to access the links to call for paper information packs and surveys. 14 virtual drop-in consultation events with the project team were also made available.

The broad response to the proposals was positive. The consultation particularly sought views on the proposed housing mix, including questions regarding availability of rental and new homes, and house types that would suit the local area. Views were also sought of the proposed open space and uses which would be most suited to the proposals.

IPS are working with the project team to finalise the application package, taking consideration of the comments received, for submission in the coming months, and the consultation portal remains active for continuous engagement. This was the first time that we have been engaged in a solely online consultation approach, which enabled the public to gain a full understanding of the proposals through an interactive display of information. We were pleased to see the responses from a much broader demographic of respondents, which was generally not a trend in previous face to face engagement.