Peakirk 2025: Identity and Engagement

Early last month the Peakirk Neighbourhood Planning Team (PNPT) launched their idea of creating a Neighbourhood Plan, to an eager and interested village. Over the weekend beginning August 30th villagers, and all those interested, were invited to meet with the project team and learn more about what a Neighbourhood Plan is exactly, and how it might affect the village.

The event was a great success, with around 25{8199157a03996f1a7ab1d1caf6f45edc473a1d2aec9e8517e0f1549d1671dba4} of the village turning up over the weekend (over 100 attendees). Project members were on hand to answer questions and note views from conversations. This engagement is vital to the Neighbourhood Plan. All Neighbourhood Plans are legally required to consult with the public, and anyone that would be potentially affected by a plan being implemented. The general regulations in term of consultation are:

  • Publicise Your Proposal – The aim of events like Peakirk’s, is to build a communication between the public and the committee as early as possible, to avoid future discord and to aid the team in shaping their proposal.
  • Tell the Right People – The Peakirk Planning Team is currently at this stage. Neighbourhood Plans affect all living and working in the area, so it is important that they are all consulted. In particular it is crucial that both local and wider, national groups, relevant to the plan, are consulted. Local groups are personal to each Parish. A comprehensive list of national groups can be found here
  • Summarise Your Findings (Consultation Statements) – After you have consulted your local community about your plan proposals you must report on what you have done. In regulation-speak, this is your ‘consultation statement’. Your consultation statement should provide details of the who/what/where/when/how of your consultation process.

Lessons Learnt –

Key to good consultation and engagement is encouraging people to invest their time in coming to events and workshops. This is where a consistent and strong identity is needed, a brand that is recognisable amongst the public. The Peakirk Neighbourhood Planning Team took great time in choosing their logo, for example. There were two options available; one by a graphic designer, the other by an interested villager. The team thought long and hard, and decided to use both to their strengths.

The clear, modern, easily identifiable, flying-v ducks (ducks/birds and wildlife being a close affiliation with the village) was chosen as the basis for the whole brand, being used for flyers, posters, post-cards and newsletters. The more personal design, also a duck, by an interested villager, was chosen to head the social side of the project, i.e. Twitter and Facebook

Branding such as this is a great asset to any plan, as it gives a sense of realism and believability. Where many villagers may have gone on with their lives, unknowing of this potentially influential project, the branding the PNPT put together can’t be missed; banners and posters were placed around the village, each wearing the brand and logo.

From the first consultation to the last, Neighbourhood Plans must narrow themselves so that the final draft is clear, precise, and free of loopholes. A vague idea of what people want would fail on all these terms. The next step for the PNPT is to start this process by conducting a survey with more precise questions, so that a clear idea of what the village really wants can be threaded throughout the final plan.