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We design bold, transformative place and asset strategies

A better approach to sustainable places

Our latest publication with REDO sets out a better approach to sustainable places, with a focus on retrofit and local carbon offset funds
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Learning from the Southwark Land Commission

LB Southwark convened the Southwark Land Commission to think about ways to democratise land use in the borough. We reflect on supporting this process and considers the implications for other public bodies.
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JournalJournal

A selection of our previous work...

  • Waltham Forest Affordable Housing Commission

    We evidenced the impact of development and change on Waltham Forest’s housing market and communities across a 10-year period

    Project overview

    PRD is working with the London Borough of Waltham Forest to support the findings of an independent Affordable Housing Commission. The council wanted external expert scrutiny to understand what it can do to accelerate the delivery of more genuinely affordable homes. PRD provided a wealth of contemporary evidence tracking the impact of development over the last decade to support the recommendations of the Commission. This combined a mix of granular data, which was then tested and validated through resident engagement.

    Waltham Forest is one of the most rapidly changing boroughs in London, having the fastest house price growth since 2012. Using the London Planning Datahub, PRD identified the neighbourhoods within the borough that had seen the highest housing development over the last ten years. From this, we used the 2021 Census to compare differences between 2011 and 2021, showing how the borough’s demographics have changed and the contribution of new housing development towards these changes. The granularity of the Census enabled a detailed understanding of changes at development level in areas of highest housing growth. This provided deep insight into who had moved into new homes and the role that tenure (affordable vs market housing) played in these changes.

    We supplemented this with a programme of in-depth engagement through focus groups in the areas that had seen the highest development, which helped to test the quantitative data and understand how local people were experiencing area change. Marrying good data with rich qualitative evidence provided a deep understanding of the role of development in the borough’s growth story over the last ten years combined with communities’ experience of rapid change.

    Project details

    • Client
      LB Waltham Forest
    • Project Lead
      Will Temple
    • Type
      Data & Evidence
  • Margate Town Investment Plan & Creative Land Trust

    We helped Thanet District Council secure up to £22.2m of central government Towns Fund for Margate and set up a Creative Land Trust

    Project overview

    In 2020, PRD and project partners We Made That worked with Thanet District Council and the Margate Town Deal Board to develop a Town Investment Plan underpinned by extensive community engagement and a widespread desire to transform Margate into a town with a strong year-round economy.

    The TIP charts a 10-year course of improvements for Margate, focusing on scaling Margate’s creative economy and skills through a new Creative Land Trust; tackling deep health inequalities by providing more wellbeing amenities linked to Margate’s coast; improving public realm and connectivity; and making Margate’s nationally-renowned heritage assets more sustainable and inclusive. It is underpinned by PRD’s extensive socioeconomic baseline to ensure interventions are targeted in areas that need them most.

    PRD subsequently worked with partners to lay the groundwork for the Margate Creative Land Trust (MCLT), which now has a fully operational Board of Trustees. MCLT’s purpose is to safeguard sites for creative industries, mainly through purchasing property and taking headleases with a view to subletting at discounted rates. To assist MCLT with this process, we designed a property acquisition decision framework for MCLT to assess the suitability of potential properties for their portfolio. The framework sets out how MCLT can collect and analyse information on available sites, taking into account factors such as site size, price, condition and refurbishment needs, potential number of jobs, businesses, or creative activities it can support, and the extent to which the property’s end use can align with MCLT’s vision and aims.

    Project details

    • Client
      Thanet District Council
    • Project Lead
      Chris Paddock
    • Type
      Inclusive Economy, Funding & Investment Plan, Data & Evidence
  • London High Streets Data Service

    We are working with the Greater London Authority to provide data and research for the capital’s high streets and town centres

    Project overview

    The GLA’s high streets data service brings together dynamic datasets to build a detailed picture of activity across the city’s 600+ high streets, 300+ designated town centres, and 60 Business Improvement Districts. It is intended to help people understand how activity on high streets is changing, initially in light of Covid-19 but also throughout ongoing recovery and the current cost of living and doing business crisis.

    In 2020, PRD advised the GLA on relevant data to consider for the service and developed an outline structure for a London-wide, multi-stakeholder Data Partnership to guide the new data service. The GLA commissioned PRD for ongoing work with the data service. Throughout 2021 and 2022, this involved training new users, running group sessions for users on new data and analysis techniques, and promoting the data service. We also added capacity to the GLA for data analysis and insight. For example, we analysed and visualised seven years of vacancy data and trends for high street/town centre premises across London; performed cluster analysis on spending trendlines to identify different typologies of Covid-19 recovery and how those typologies link to high street characteristics; and provided fortnightly reports with maps and graphs showing Central London footfall and spending to support the Let’s Do London marketing campaign throughout 2021/2022.

    In 2023, we are using the high streets data to research the foundational economy across London’s high streets and town centres to identify places where the foundational economy is or is not meeting the needs of local residents.

    Project details

    • Client
      Greater London Authority
    • Project Lead
      Amanda Robinson
    • Type
      Data & Evidence
  • Newham Green Economy

    We are developing a robust strategic and economic case for investment in the green economy in North Woolwich and Beckton

    Project overview

    As part of the London Borough of Newham’s successful application to the government’s UK Community Renewal Fund, PRD and Useful Projects were commissioned to develop an overarching business case and delivery strategy for green economy initiatives in North Woolwich and Beckton.

    Our work is underpinned by a strong evidence base, where we identify the existing social, economic and environmental challenges of the area. We used innovative concepts, such as the Doughnut Economics framework, and tools such as a high-level material flow analysis (MFA) to determine opportunities for green economic growth.

    Our approach also included extensive stakeholder and community engagement. We conducted a series of 1-2-1 sessions with people in strategic and delivery organisations such as the GLA, ReLondon, Royal Docks, Albert Island and local education institutions. We also took a citizen-led approach for our community engagement to ensure we built on local capacity and that the people living, working, and studying in Beckton and North Woolwich informed the way forward.

    The work has identified a clear vision for Beckton and North Woolwich as Newham’s pioneer for building a future economy that delivers for people and the planet, as well as a set of ‘catalytic’ and ‘enabling’ interventions which will support this evolution. The work will ultimately inform corporate decision making regarding future policy and investment across the borough.

    Project details

    • Client
      LB Newham
    • Project Lead
      Carolina Eboli
    • Type
      Green & Circular Economy
  • Mayday Saxonvale Economic Manifesto

    We provided an economic vision and strategy to underpin one of first community-led masterplans in the country.

    Project overview

    Frome is a thriving market town in northeast Somerset. Steeped in history, the town is home to a wealth of cultural, natural, and economic assets. Frome has a strong economic identity and is well known for its independent retail, manufacturing heritage, and creative industries.

    Saxonvale is the last major development site in Frome town centre. Mendip District council purchased the site in 2018 with the aim of turning an underused part of the town into a new mixed-use community. However, the council’s original proposal sought to maximise housing, with less focus on civic and economic infrastructure. Believing that a better alternative is possible, Mayday Saxonvale has prepared an alternative masterplan for the site. Mayday Saxonvale is a not-for-profit social enterprise incorporated as a company limited by guarantee with the sole objective of developing the Saxonvale site for the social, community, and economic benefit of Frome. Mayday’s alternative approach takes a community-led, balanced approach to development at Saxonvale, marrying the homes that Frome needs with the community and commercial space integral to prosperous and sustainable place.

    To support Mayday’s alternative planning application, PRD produced an Economic Manifesto for the Saxonvale site. Setting out a clear case for change, the Manifesto proposed interventions to embed a new approach to the economy, enabling Frome to become greener, fairer, and more resilient by design. The Manifesto is underpinned by national and international best practice case studies, embedding a more inclusive economy approach from the outset.

    The Manifesto has supported Mayday’s alternative planning application for the site and has been endorsed by a range of local partners including Frome Town Council.

    Project details

    • Client
      Mayday Saxonvale
    • Project Lead
      Will Temple
    • Type
      Inclusive Economy
  • Liverpool City Region Small Sites Programme

    We are building a portfolio of suitable sites across the Liverpool City Region for infill and small-scale housing development

    Project overview

    Liverpool City Region, comprising six Liverpool-area local authorities, commissioned PRD to establish a portfolio of sites that would benefit from Homes England funding for infill and small-scale residential development.

    The Liverpool region has some of the most challenging viability constraints in the country, making development at this scale difficult. PRD identified additional obstacles, such as remediation and demolition costs, fragmented ownership, conflicting landowner ambitions, and costs of utilities/services. We consulted individual local authorities, small developers, landowners, and registered providers to understand their own barriers to delivery, the most effective ways for funding to unlock development, and ideal site types.

    From this, we developed scoring criteria to help whittle down a longlist of 650 sites into a shortlist of 50 best sites that can be delivered in the shortest amount of time and with minimal intervention. We also built a ‘roadmap’ of next steps for LCR and Homes England to begin rolling out a programme of procurement and funding for the first wave of sites.

    Project details

    • Client
      Liverpool City Region
    • Project Lead
      Simon Evans
    • Type
      Delivery Strategy
  • Homes for Lambeth

    We developed a governance structure, financial options, and a business plan for Homes for Lambeth

    Project overview

    The London Borough of Lambeth sought to establish a council-owned housing company to reach ambitious targets for building new social rented housing. PRD initially advised on organisational structuring, delivery strategy and programme management options; undertook extensive engagement and education with councillors, officers, and other stakeholders; liaised with tax, accounting, and legal advisors to test the robustness of the proposed structure against Homes for Lambeth’s (HfL) development goals; helped establish a company Board; and supported the Board to consider messaging and opportunities to meet wider council objectives.

    Since Cabinet approved PRD’s recommendation to establish HfL as a wholly-owned company with a group structure and the detailed governance proposals, we have continued to support HfL at the Board, executive and wider stakeholder levels. With partners , PRD has carried out business and resource planning, co-ordinated legal advice on loans and financing, prepared documents for the Regulator of Social Housing, and developed agreements between the council and HfL.

    Project details

    • Client
      LB Lambeth
    • Project Lead
      Daniel Partridge
    • Type
      Delivery Strategy, Partnership Structure
  • PRD x Redo

    We work with Redo to help local authorities rejuvenate underused assets and monitor impact of innovative asset strategies

    Project overview

    Our ongoing partnership with Redo is a platform to help local authorities create asset value strategies by using redundant buildings for social good, particularly to support co-working, start-up and scale-up businesses, and local enterprise.

    Redo is the consulting arm of 3space, an affordable/flexible workspace provider. Their model for every space let at an affordable rate, another is given at peppercorn rent, while PRD brings expertise on innovative asset strategies and monitoring success once a space is under operation.

    Together, we have delivered and monitored ongoing impact of projects in Brixton, Lancaster, Kensal, and Old Oak & Park Royal.

    Project details

    • Client
      Various local authorities
    • Project Lead
      Daniel Partridge
    • Type
      Asset Strategy