Workspace Group owned and operated The Rainbow Industrial Estate, Raynes Park, which housed a number of light industrial businesses. The state of the site was not conducive to high levels of employment or high levels of use in general.
The triangular site was bound by train lines on all three sides with one point of access, and was situated in very close proximity to Raynes Park mainline train station.
The site was subject to a Planning Brief (SPD) adopted by Merton Council in 2013. The planning brief outlined the intended use for the site, including the provision of combined employment and residential use, and the provision of a new ‘kiss and ride’ facility at Raynes Park Station.
Workspace Group played a hand in the original adoption of the site-specific planning brief and as such were looking to implement a community consultation programme leading to the submission of a planning application in aid of finally providing an employment led mixed-use development for the site.
Snapdragon Consulting were appointed to provide a community consultation programme, including a public exhibition and importantly, meetings with key political and local stakeholders.
In light of previous consultation undertaken to formulate the site planning brief, it was important to engage with a wide range of stakeholders including those that were previously consulted. The site is prominent within the local community and thus any plans for development needed to be presented at an early stage and to a wide range of stakeholders.
The principles of development for the site were clearly established through the consultation on, and eventual adoption of, the planning brief (SPD). This meant that the engagement programme had to be tailored to offer a robust and significant consultation with the local community, whilst being careful not to deviate from the principles established in the SPD.
Alongside a two-day public exhibition, meetings were held with the leader of Merton Council, the MP for Wimbledon, and a range of local community groups. As the planning brief was adopted and promoted by Labour members of the council, continued political engagement was a key aspect of the programme.
After a successful consultation programme and positive levels of engagement with stakeholders, two separate but associated planning applications were submitted to Merton Council and were approved by the council’s planning committee in September 2015.