Scotch Corner Designer Village is a proposed 250,000 sq. ft. designer outlet village, to be situated on the A1(M) in North Yorkshire. Following an extensive consultation, both online and offline, the scheme gained planning consent in January 2015.
The site already has planning permission for 135,000 sq. ft. of warehousing and 90,000 sq. ft. of offices.
However, Simon Waterfield, an entrepreneur who has been the driving force behind wide variety of commercial schemes in the South West, East Midlands and Yorkshire, identified the site as being ideally located for a high quality retail outlet. Scotch Corner Richmond LLP was formed and a project team set up, including architects Corstorphine & Wright and planning consultants Peter Brett Associates LLP.
ConsultOnline had period of just six weeks in which to complete the online consultation, working closely with public affairs advisers Polity.
The scheme’s website, http://www.scotchcornerdesignervillage.com/, was set up quickly following a telephone briefing.
The consultation tactics included questionnaires, polls, forums, blogs and the option for users to post images. Information was available as text, video, images, documentation, email updates, Vcards, Googlemaps and a blog. The service was monitored 24/7 – enabling ConsultOnline to become aware of, to understand, and to correct misconceptions immediately; and for those taking part to receive a quick response. A user guide provided step-by-step advice in addition to terms and conditions.
The website was immediately followed by Facebook and Twitter profiles, which were used to promote the website. ConsultOnline posted on a wide variety of local organisations’ Facebook pages and blogs, and established some useful contacts via Twitter.
On its first day, the website attracted over 700 unique users and over the next six weeks, over 3,500 hits. By the day planning consent was granted, over 6,500 individuals had visited the website.
ConsultOnline provided extremely comprehensive analysis and reporting using Google Analytics, WordPress data and other web-based tools including heat-mapping.
Over two-thirds (77.88%) of users accessed the website using mobile and tablets and 27% of hits were returning users.
Almost half (49%) of users found the website via social media; 36% accessed it directly and 13.5% through an organic search.
Demographics revealed that 33.5% of the users were in the 25.34 age bracket, followed by 27.5 aged 18-24, 15.5% aged 35-44 and 11% aged 55 +. Men were slightly more likely to take part in the consultation than women (54.15% and 45.85% respectively).