Earnse Bay Project, Barrow-in-Furness
How We Met Objectives
We started the project by discussing, questioning, and understanding the objectives of all stakeholders including community groups, which then provided the road map for required services.
The objectives were then divided into 4 key areas; business plan for funding, community engagement for scope of activities, site investigations for planning application & cultural context, a vision for the site and how this would be used by the local community & wider public.
Align employed Eden Project International (curriculum, sustainability), PJA (traffic, place making, public engagement, landscaping) and Ludicology (researchers of child and teenage play) as specialist sub-consultants. Their skillsets complimented our in-house team to provide the services that fulfilled the objectives.
How We Ensured A Quality & Timely Result
We regularly presented the vision as it developed to all stakeholders and community groups, who provided both positive and negative feedback and ensured that all objectives were met. The presentations were the key milestones within the project plan to ensure delivery within timescales.
A risk register was developed to highlight and mitigate risks. This was updated following technical discussions with the local planning authority and consultees, where they provided key risks to include within the register. We ensured high quality by using the experience and examples of the Eden Project team combined with the specialist knowledge of sub-consultants to deliver the vision.
How We Overcame Challenges
Our biggest challenge was turning doubters into believers – winning over the 500 elderly residents living adjacent to the site was never going to be easy! Once they realized the individual benefits to them as a local community, their attitude to the project changed. By engaging with them, we identified that including a café that sold milk, newspapers and bread avoided a bus journey into town for most of them. There was a realization that this project would bring many small positives that collectively would have a significant impact on the quality of life for them, their families and the local & wider communities.
How We Learnt From This Project
Assembling an experienced enthusiastic team with a wide variety of specialist skill sets that combined research, design and engagement was very beneficial for this project and something we would recommend in the future.
Make sure to engage with all types of local community groups to identify what matters to them and ensure solutions are included within the proposals.
Providing one or two large magnets to attract visitors, accompanied by a multitude of mini-magnets that draw in the local community on a daily basis, ensures a steady flow of traffic to the site.
Anticipate and embrace change. Develop a twenty-year plan for the project and always consider it a work in progress. Each year, the landscape will mature and the needs of the local community will change.