British Land - Working with the communities of West Euston since 1984
"…ten years of attending Board meetings, often late into the evenings, as well as Saturday events has shown that this relationship is for the long term….I have seen the professional and thoughtful contribution that British Land make through their business expertise applied to appraising projects, strategy debate, actions plans and community events "
Head of Partnership and Neighbourhood Renewal (West Euston)
British Land is one of the UK’s largest property companies; buying, building, managing and selling quality modern properties primarily in the UK, with a growing European portfolio. In 2006 it owned or managed approximately 3.8 million square metres of real estate. They have been engaging with the community in West Euston since 1984 when they bought a large area of commercial property in Regent’s Place, West Euston, a priority Neighbourhood Renewal area with high levels of deprivation and social exclusion.
The area was (and continues to be) home to a number of regeneration schemes many of which are run by small community organisations. It was clear that these could often benefit more from long-term support and advice than from occasional financial contributions. From the beginning British Land invested a significant amount of senior time working with local people on a long-term basis. When they first moved into the area there was a lack of trust locally and so we worked hard to build relationships with stakeholders, particularly the Council, and break down barriers to engagement. We strengthened their knowledge of the area and developed a deeper understanding of different groups. They also established effective ways to communicate with the community and other stakeholders. From the early nineties they started to make real progress on building relationships with local people and having a positive impact on the area.
They have provided skills, ideas, space, financial contributions and volunteers to WEP and a number of community organisations including: the Diorama Arts Centre, a hub for people living and working locally, with a gallery, studio, meeting and rehearsal rooms and media production facilities; the Third Age Project, a multi-cultural centre which offers a range of activities for local people over the age of fifty, such as pottery and tai chi; the WEP One Stop Shop, which provides a range of employment and training services; the West Euston Community Festival which is attended by 2,000 local people each year. volunteers also provide reading support at Netley Primary School and support creative projects at South Camden Community School.
In recent years a community consultation means that local people have provided input into local development and plans include features they want, such as a community theatre and new public spaces. They have encouraged sustainable travel to Regent’s Place, with a Travel Plan in place since 2001. Between 2000 and 2003 cycling to work increased by 50% and car use halved. In 2003 They invested in improving Regent’s Place, creating a public square and providing public artworks and since 2004 they have been involved in a major project to develop West Euston as part of the London Mayor’s 100 Public Spaces Programme.
1984 British Land moves into West Euston and begins building relationships with key stakeholders, such as the Council, and breaking down barriers to engagement
They develop their understanding of the area and its issues e.g. health, unemployment and crime.
British Land works with WEP and local people to make the area a better place to live and work.
1992 the West Euston Partnership is established with British Land as a founder partner along with the police and London Borough of Camden.
British Land support WEP in evolving from an informal forum to a more structured and legally constituted partnership
In 1996 WEP is awarded £6.5 million funding
Long-term term relationships developed with the Third Age Project, WEP One Stop Shop and Diorama Arts Facility
Investment in Regent’s Place e.g. creating a public square
Consultation with local people on development plans for Regent’s Place.
Establishment of a volunteering programme e.g. providing reading support to local children.
Support of sustainable travel to Regent’s Place.
Following two years of consultation planning permission for Regent’s Place is granted.
Start of development project that will include a new community theatre and public space.
Continued support for WEP, the Third Age Project, WEP One Stop Shop, Diorama and local schools.
British Land’s contribution to establishing sound financial, employment and governance procedures at WEP helped it win £6.5 million Single Regeneration Budget government funding in 1996.
A travel plan developed In 2001 to reduce emissions and make Regent’s Place more pleasant as well as safer for pedestrians has increased cycling to work by 50% and halved car use. The plan featured in the Government’s best practice guidelines for travel plans and won a London Cycling Award.
The development at Osnaburgh Street provides residential units with over 50% affordable housing, a community theatre, shops around a new public space, landscaped open areas, pedestrian links and the forecast creation of 2,400 new jobs.
Staff are motivated and developed through volunteering opportunities, with over 30% of employees participating in volunteering projects in the area.
Local knowledge and relationships facilitated the Regents' Place planning as British Land were able to create plans that met local needs and had the support of local people.
Creating a positive environment for their occupiers, and developing relationships with them, has improved occupier satisfaction, enhanced rental income and increased capital value.