Circle Housing Merton Priory

Circle Housing Merton Priory

MES provide independent, on-the-ground research services to inform your consultation, no matter how sensitive the subject, from project initiation to completion.

In 2010, Circle Housing Merton Priory (part of Circle Housing) took ownership of homes from the London Borough of Merton through a Large Scale Voluntary Transfer. Of these, nearly 1,300 homes across three neighbourhoods (Eastfields, Ravensbury and High Path) in Mitcham and Wimbledon were being considered for major regeneration.

Prior to submitting planning applications for its regeneration plans, Circle Housing Merton Priory commissioned MES to conduct independent research of residents’ views about the proposals across the three neighbourhoods.

WHAT WE DID:

The project commenced in Spring 2015 and covered research methodology and questionnaire design; face-to-face questionnaire pilot sessions among residents; fieldwork and data collection (door-to-door, online and telephone surveys); reminder mailings to boost response rate; data entry, cleansing, processing and analysis; an on-site presentation of findings; report writing; and end-to-end project management.

HOW WE DID IT:

The research centred around a survey of residents consisting of one open and fifteen closed questions.

Prior to fieldwork commencing, the survey was piloted among residents of the three neighbourhoods to ensure the questions were fit for purpose (i.e. they allowed participants to adequately express their views on the proposed regeneration). This pre-engagement exercise also enabled us to gain the confidence of residents. By making this effort, we were able to reassure them of our independent status and of our commitment to conduct the consultation with integrity and impartiality.

Once the survey was signed-off, responses were gathered door-to-door, by telephone, and via online self-completion.

The fieldwork was carried out between 1 and 29 July 2015, and a 52.5% response rate was achieved, with 634 responses collected across the Eastfields, Ravensbury and High Path neighbourhoods.

In order to maximise response and inclusivity, we carried out up to five attempts face-to-face at each resident household. Wherever contact was not made, a personalised postcard was put through the resident’s door with details to complete the survey online or by telephone. We also mailed personalised letters to non-resident homeowners inviting them to take part. Where required, we attended pre-arranged home visits and used skilled translators to conduct telephone surveys for non-English speaking residents. Finally, we sent a reminder letter to all non-responding residents and non-resident homeowners.

Following the fieldwork, all the data was cleansed and processed by our data analysis team. We then produced a detailed and illustrative report highlighting key findings from the survey of residents. Anonymised verbatim comments were also provided, enabling Circle Housing Merton Priory to have full in-depth insight into residents’ views.

OUTCOME:

In October 2015, after consideration of the report published by MES, Circle Housing approved the submission of initial planning applications for the three neighbourhoods.

Engagement with residents continued with workshops, exhibitions and one-to-one meetings held during the preparation of the planning applications in 2016.

What our client thinks

This was a very challenging commission and we chose MES carefully. The whole issue of regeneration in former council estates in London is highly charged. At a local level, residents were understandably concerned about plans which would involve the demolition and replacement of their homes. So we needed research which not only gave us an accurate insight into how residents felt about our plans, but which would be conducted in a sensitive, measured way allowing residents a meaningful opportunity to voice their opinion.

MES performed this function extremely well. They have been approachable, professional and robust throughout, taking on a difficult role with energy and creativity. Highly recommended.

Paul Quinn – Director, Merton Regeneration