Hartland Village Fleet, Hampshire by St Edward Homes Ltd
Shortlisted for Brownfield Awards Category 3 - Best Public Engagement and Participation
Effective raising of the profile of brownfield development with all stakeholders and encouragement of community participation in the shaping of brownfield projects.
At Hartland Village in Fleet, Hampshire, we have been working closely with local authorities and community groups to deliver a range of engagement initiatives; these range from community site visits to education around sustainability, careers, and demystifying the world of construction.
Hartland Village has its own dedicated Community Liaison Advisor, focused on three key areas: building a community on site, engaging with local stakeholders, and providing employment and skills support. The outcomes of which will create a sustainable, lasting community both within the new development and the wider area.
We have developed close links with the local Town Council, charities and businesses, where we are offering more value to the community than just sponsorship, such as developing the ‘Fleet 12 Days of Christmas’, coordinating joint-promotion of a series of festive local events. Last year we attended Fleet Carnival and gave out free ice cream, and this summer we are hosting a picnic in our Country Park for local businesses to network in a beautiful environment
We hold regular meetings with local stakeholders to maintain our positive relationships, and distribute a quarterly newsletter to the public and key community groups. These are separate to those distributed by the Sales and Marketing teams, as they focus on site progress, and sustainability improvements, as well as projects we are undertaking with the community. In order to engage and better communicate with local residents we have been hosting site visits tailored to specific interest groups, including the University of the Third Age, Trefoil Guild and Rushmoor Healthy Living. To keep the public informed of progress on site and reinforce positive messages around sustainability, innovation and community, we are holding annual updates at the local Theatre in Fleet. These will take place in the evening to ensure as many people as possible can attend, and are designed to follow on from the engagement work started prior to seeking planning approval. We will be advertising these updates events through our local partners and media to ensure we maximise attendance, as well as making information and answers to questions available online following the event. In addition to hosting our own update events, we regularly attend and present at local community forums, such as the Hart Voluntary Action Forum and Community Matters Partnership meetings. This engagement ensures a consistent presence, clearly visible points of contact for the community and keeps lines of communication open. We have a dedicated community website, www.hartlandlife.co.uk, to ensure that the local community has access to information about the development and answers to frequently asked questions. We will also be sharing information on resident events and initiatives, our wider community projects and case studies, and updates on our progress with supporting local employment as the development progresses.
PUBLIC/STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT FLEET
The Fleet Beekeepers Association have set up an apiary in an area on site rich in wildflowers, which will not only add to the site's biodiversity but also provide future residents with Hartland Honey, which we hope will become a valued community asset. The apiary is located in an area not designated for construction, so the hives can remain in situ for the foreseeable future.
We are converting our old project office bordering our 70 acre Country Park (SANG) into a community venue for residents and local groups to use. We have engaged with several groups who will be using the space; Fleet Beekeepers Association for training new beekeepers, local Scout and Guide groups as an activity base and for residential trips, and by the Hart District Countryside team to run woodland-based activities linked to the Country Park.
BRICKLAYING TASTER SESSIONS FOR WOMEN
In August 2019 we ran an innovative 2 day bricklaying taster session for women only, in partnership with Harlequin Brickwork and Rushmoor Borough Council, to inspire and encourage more women into the construction industry. The course attracted participants from a range of ages and backgrounds; from 18 year old students, housing association residents, and stay at home mums, to women soon- to-be leaving the armed forces. Our furthest attendee came all the way from Essex, as nothing similar was offered locally.
On the first day the group had a site tour followed by hands on bricklaying experience with the Harlequin Brickwork team; building a BBQ and fire pit in the welfare area for those on site to enjoy. On the second day the group met with representatives from different trades, including a number of women working on site from St Edward and the supply chain, so they could learn about various careers and options available to them.
Following this we had a feast cooked on their handmade BBQ to celebrate their hard work. Following the taster days one course participant is now undertaking an apprenticeship with Harlequin Brickwork, one participant enrolled on a training course and received their Health and Safety Level 1 and CSCS card, and another participant realised she did in fact want to work on a construction site and decided to follow up with a plastering company.
As part of our commitment to employment and skills in the local area, we have worked with Hart District Council to draw up the area’s first Employment and Skills Plan (ESP) for the development. ESPs deliver a range of benefits to local communities and cover targets created by the Construction Industry Trade Board (CITB). They include initiatives that create additional training and employment opportunities including pre-employment training, apprenticeships, work experience placements and careers information. Through an ESP, developers can demonstrate their commitment to generating social value for the local communities in which they work.
In addition to the above, we are funding a 2 year Employment and Skills Officer role based within Hart District Council to help support local needs. We are working closely with the Hampshire Employment and Skills Hub, a Construction Skills Funded project led by Hampshire County Council which runs courses in construction for local unemployed, and have successfully found employment for several jobseekers with our subcontractors. We are a named partner in the follow-up funding bid to continue this valuable work.
The Hartland Village team have engaged with over 2,500 young people in the past year though careers fairs, presentations, work experience and site tours, and have been recognised for our work supporting young people into employment with a Gold Award from Hampshire County Council. In order to engage with as many local people as possible and change perceptions of the construction industry we have held site tours for Jobcentre staff to educate them on the numerous career pathways and benefits of working in construction so that they can better advise clients.
SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES
We have established strong links with local colleges, providing students with access to high quality, approved and relevant work placements, apprenticeships and jobs with our supply chain on site, as well as supporting bespoke projects including:
A Numeracy Skills video based around our site and staff, created for Farnborough Sixth Form College to be shown to over 1,800 students each year, emphasising the importance of numeracy in everyday life and the role it plays in a variety of jobs.
Helping students at Farnborough Sixth Form College to redesign the staff room, with the support of our Technical team.
Supporting the Woodland Trust’s Big Climate Fightback by planting trees on site with Tweseldown Infant School.
We have also judged the local school competition to design the artwork for the Fleet Carnival programme, and the Carnival Prince and Princess
Due to the strict health and safety measures on site, we are creating a ‘Safe Site’ to allow younger students and those without CSCS cards to take part in taster days and training. This is an area of land set away from the main construction site where work can be undertaken safely under supervision whilst still being in proximity of the main site, allowing easy access for tours and training. We envisage that this will open up new opportunities for young people looking to get more hands on experience of the construction industry.
We are working with Basingstoke College of Technology to support their students undertaking construction courses with a project rebuilding cabins on our safe site. This will provide invaluable experience for the students, and give them an opportunity to work in a real construction environment alongside qualified tradespeople.
We are have created a new work experience programme accredited by Industrial Cadets, providing more than just a standard placement
The Hartland Village site was previously the National Gas Turbine Establishment (NGTE), a MoD facility dedicated to aeronautical research and testing. Some of the most important historical engineering advancements took place on site, and as such considerate development of the area is of importance in the local community.
We have been working closely with the local Farnborough Air Sciences Trust Museum to ensure that both existing and new residents are aware of the historical importance of the site. As part of the welcome pack given to customers when they move in we have created a document detailing the fascinating history of the NGTE.
We are also working with the museum to schedule talks for residents and the wider community as part of the Heritage Open Days national scheme in September.
In conclusion, at Hartland Village our work with engaging the public local to our development shows how we can deliver a lot more than housing. We can help to create strong communities which offer people a great quality of life, now and in the future