Every successful pre-planning application community consultation event needs to get some basics right to be a success. Effective messaging, clear visual displays and well thought through answers to any queries and feedback received from attendees are all absolutely crucial, as is a detailed, well-orchestrated plan to bring everything together on the day. But how best can such an event be given an edge, so that it stands out in the minds of attendees?
While it’s crucial that people don’t get distracted from the content of the proposals on display, it’s well worth considering how picking the right location can show them off in the best possible light. At a recent community engagement drop-in that Indigo supported the Royal High School Preservation Trust (RHSPT) to deliver in Edinburgh, the choice of the historic Canongate Kirk, on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, was a no-brainer.
Not only was the kirk close to the communities neighbouring the Royal High on Calton Hill – the school actually became a physical feature of the exhibition itself, beautifully framed in the rear window of the kirk. The space also gave us the opportunity to add a musical backdrop, with visitors enjoying instrumental recitals from the pupils of St Mary’s Music School, which hopes, subject to the success of the RHSPT’s proposals, to make the old Royal High its new home.
All in all, a great event, with unanimously positive feedback for both the RHSPT proposals, mixed with praise for turning what could have been a dry statutory pre-application session into a celebration of the possibilities that the scheme could have on the cultural and architectural profile of the city as a whole.