Supporting Bolsover District Council to create their Local Growth Plan

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Discover how PlaceBuilder was used to understand how the community felt about their lives in Shirebrook, what they liked and disliked, to help create their Growth Plan.

For Bolsover District Council, previous consultations showed the town’s community was typically hard to reach. The Council took advantage of the government’s prop tech fund, and trialled the usage of PlaceBuilder, a planning digital engagement platform, in order to increase participation rates and to get more insightful results. 

The objective

Working with Bolsover District Council, our objective was to get high level feedback from Shirebrook residents and stakeholders on different aspects of Shirebrook that could be addressed in the town’s Growth Plan. We also aimed to reach the segment of residents who typically did not engage with local planning consultations, so the demographics of the respondents was similar to that of Shirebrook’s population. 

 

The topics residents were consulted on were:

  1. Working in Shirebrook (the kinds of jobs, travelling to work, working hours)

  2. Green spaces and countryside (quality of greenspace and access, net zero, climate change)

  3. Living in Shirebrook (local facilities, getting around locally, new housing types)

  4. Town Centre and marketplace (shops, services, the look and feel of the place) 

 

We planned to achieve our objective by using a visually appealing poll style consultation and an interactive map style consultation, coupled with targeted, engaging social media campaigns to promote the consultation to the previously less reached segment of the society, and to seek high level feedback.

Solutions

A poll and map consultation with clear Call-to-Action, appealing landing pages and mobile-first design were launched to engage community users on the go. Targeted social media campaigns were launched at the same time, including creatives featuring local young adults explaining the Local Growth Plan and calling for participation, which proved to be very effective at driving traffic to the site, with social media bringing 30% of traffic to the website. 

As a result, PlaceBuilder was well received by the community, resulting in the overall number of submissions (163) for the poll and map exceeding the target (100) set by the Bolsover District Council by 50+%, and the age profile of the respondents was similar to that of the population of Shirebrook - much better than previous consultations which had seen close to 0% of respondents coming from lower age brackets. 

Here’s what they found! 

165 unique poll consultations were submitted and 27 unique map consultations were submitted. There was a noticeable increase in map submissions following the launch of an instructional map advert on social media. The rotation of different copies of creatives played an important role in keeping the community engaged with 80% of Shirebrook’s population reached on social media.

 

Respondents were most interested in how their day-to-day life could change in Shirebrook, with Living in Shirebrook being the most popular topic answered. People were most happy with green spaces and countryside around Shirebrook, with having good access to green spaces and being able to cycle or walk to work being quoted as positive factors influencing their feelings about Shirebrook.

 

Respondents were least happy with the Town Centre and marketplace, with poor choice of shops and services, poor quality of market being the top factors. Respondents also named fear of crime and anti-social behaviour, the town looking rundown, and a lack of entertainment for the younger generation as top negative aspects of living in Shirebrook; these insights will enable the council to address the most concerning issues for the community, tackle crime in targetted problem areas and regain the trust of the local community.

 

The unique location chart in PlaceBuilder enabled the planner to see communities all over Shirebrook were evenly represented, with no particular part of the town unrepresented. The timestamp function within PlaceBuilder also clearly demonstrated to the council the spike in participation following launch of a new social media campaign. 

PlaceBuilder's Impact

Bolsover District Council were pleased with the feedback on the poll and map consultations and decided to roll out the same consultation format to Creswell, a village in Bolsover District Council, to help with the Local Growth Plan. 

 

Bolsover District Council launched the master planning consultation phase in August 2022, following this initial feedback-generating consultation. The council were able to call for participation in the master planning consultation following the publication of the results to the public. Community users were able to contribute more meaningfully in the master planning consultation to address the concerns, views, and suggestions made by the public during this initial stage.