Pre-application Community Engagement

Palm Green, Modbury, Devon

Client: Bloor Homes

Modbury is a small, historic market town, east of Plymouth, with a very proactive community. The Place Studio team managed all aspects of the pre-application community engagement for a housing development of around 85 homes on an allocated site on the western edge of the town. The client’s objectives were to arrive at a quality, locally responsive development through community involvement in the design process. Learning from our award-winning work with Bloors for Baltic Wharf in Totnes, the client understood the value of starting the engagement from ‘day one’, rather than (which is more common) through presentation of a detailed design just before an application is submitted, when it is too late to change anything of importance.

The engagement process broadly followed an approach agreed with the Parish Council, based on an integrated and varied programme of activities to engage the widest possible range of people, generating results to feed into and shape the evolving design work.

A particular success of this project was the use of community-generated sketch plans developed in workshop sessions. These were combined by our team to produce an overall site sketch to illustrate key spatial, community aspirations for the site. The design team was then able to take this information forward very clearly into design proposals. The direct line from this early sketch to the final, overall plan led many local people to comment on how they could see their input respected in a locally distinctive design at the final drop-in session.

The final masterplan submitted to the South Hams District illustrated how the pre-application engagement had informed the design approach, leading to a speedy permission.