In 2020, Local Dialogue was asked by Ask:Patrizia to provide consultation advice and stakeholder engagement support for a flagship £300 million arena-led development plans for Gateshead Quayside.
The disused site has been used as an open-air car park, and, although stakeholders largely agreed that development on the site was necessary, there were sensitivities around the site, particularly with neighbours which needed to be managed during the consultation.
Local Dialogue created and implemented a communications and engagement strategy to support the consultation around the plans. This included providing weekly insight reports, which highlighted any relevant news stories and social media posts related to the arena-led scheme, and any other relevant development news in Gateshead. The reports including strategic advice based on the conversations taking place around the scheme around the focus of the campaign, stakeholders to target and responses to issue.
Local Dialogue also advised that without a bank of supporters for the scheme, the plans would be more difficult for councillors to support at planning committee, damaging the reputation of both the developers and Gateshead Borough Council. The client agreed, and Local Dialogue was tasked with harnessing support for the scheme.
We also liaised with the client, project team and Council regarding response to media and stakeholder enquiries, agreeing the key messaging to ensure the reputation of both the scheme and the developers was managed.
Local Dialogue facilitated virtual meetings with local businesses and neighbours to present the plans, which enhanced the reputation of the developers and dispel any myths around the development, and we reached out to local organisations and residents about their willingness to support this scheme, which led to almost 30 letters and statements of support being uploaded onto the planning file.
Overall, our client, Ask:Patrizia was pleased with the strategic engagement advice and implementation, and the plans were approved by Gateshead Council Planning Committee unanimously.