MPC helps deliver first ‘yes’ vote in estate regeneration ballot for Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing (MTVH)
The idea of residents’ ballots on estate regeneration has been a hot topic in the property industry for the last year or so. MPC was the first comms agency to undertake a programme of engagement on a resident ballot and see it through to a final vote – and the campaign they ran deserves recognition!
MPC undertook an extensive programme of resident, stakeholder and wider community consultation on behalf of Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing (MTVH), for their site at Westhorpe Gardens and Mills Grove in the London Borough of Barnet. Barnet’s decision to allow redevelopment of the site provided the opportunity to deliver a capital receipt to the Council estimated between £3.5m to £4.5m, whilst delivering more homes for the Borough, alongside re-providing and improving the homes that are currently on site. It was a ‘good news’ story – but residents needed to agree.
MTVH were offering the re-provision of the existing 102 Social Rented homes alongside the delivery of 77 new Retirement Living units and up to 80 new homes in a mix of tenures. The team at MPC wanted an innovative and effective programme of engagement, but also needed to consider the Mayor of London’s ‘Guide to Estate Regeneration’ as well as the ‘Better Homes for Local People’ guidance.
In order to achieve a successful ballot result, MPC and the wider project team underwent a series of “Resident Design Drop-ins” across 2018 which started from a launch event outlining the principles of why the estate needed to be considered for redevelopment, through presenting options for the redevelopment, working up a preferred option and ultimately presenting a final plan alongside key commitments agreed with residents. The work ensured all of those living on the estate had an understanding of what their homes might be like as a result of the redevelopment and ultimately allowed these residents to shape the proposals. MPC was also in contact with local political stakeholders throughout the consultation process to ensure they were fully briefed on the plans. Further work was undertaken including a wider public consultation.
The Resident Ballot was the first successfully undertaken of its kind under the Mayoral funding guidance. MPC drafted the Landlord Offer document and took the lead on all liaison with the independent scrutineer throughout the voting process. An extensive programme of door knocking was carried out to again ensure all residents had the necessary information and any concerns were immediately addressed. The voting across the estate resulted in a 75% yes vote returned, with a 66% turnout amongst eligible voters.
The plans for the estate were determined by LB Barnet in July 2019 and the application was approved by the committee. The work undertaken by MPC ensured residents on the estate supported the application and despite receiving objections on the planning file from the wider area, a resident living on the estate felt strongly enough to proactively speak in favour of the proposals at committee which ultimately demonstrated the weight of support for the plans to members.