Helensburgh was one of the last towns in Scotland without a supermarket. Plans for a new Waitrose food store were very popular with local people, but faced resistance from some local retailers. The site wasn’t zoned for retail, and there were concerns that the edge-of-town location might have a negative impact on town centre trade. Our role was to help Waitrose gain planning approval by aligning their ambitions with those of the community.
We demonstrated how a Waitrose supermarket would benefit the town by creating jobs, increasing consumer choice and preventing trade ‘leaking’ away to nearby towns. We designed and delivered a community engagement strategy and led a media campaign that highlighted Waitrose’s responsible approach to doing business. Using data from other UK Waitrose branches, alongside rigorous research and support from local suppliers, we showed how the company actually helped promote vitaility in town centres.
A proposal that was initially described as ‘controversial’ by the local authority and recommended for refusal by officers, was passed unanimously, at a packed public hearing attended by more than 500 people, thanks in large part to the presentations from a 30-strong supporters group we’d worked closely with. “Pagoda knew exactly what was required and surprised me with their depth of knowledge and understanding of the planning process,” said Paul Docherty, Director of the Drum Property Group, who built the new store for Waitrose.