Andy Smith Head of Countryside, Hampshire County Council

Project – Basingstoke Canal – Visitor Research, Vision and Action Plan.

“Surrey and Hampshire County Councils jointly commissioned Planning Solutions Consulting Limited to develop a Vision for the future of the Basingstoke Canal. The Canal is a 30mile navigable waterway owned and managed by the two County Councils. The proposed approach from Planning Solutions in response to the brief stood out in terms of value but also, importantly, in terms of fully understanding the context for the work and what we needed to achieve. In commissioning this work, we knew at the outset, that building a vision which all the stakeholders and interest groups could support would be a considerable challenge. In order for this to be seen as a credible piece of work it was essential for the consultants to have the confidence of the stakeholders from the outset. The initial research of the subject matter, both locally and in a national context and the open approach taken by Planning Solutions throughout the exercise ensured that this credibility was established.

As the client, it was pleasing and reassuring that Planning Solutions regularly provided progress reports, checked the approach being taken and tested their initial findings with us. Planning Solution’s experience of managing these projects clearly came through as they were able to suggest the most effective methodology but were also responsive to our particular needs as clients. The research undertaken regarding catchment area demographics, social and economic data and the examples of good practice nationally were all clearly and helpfully presented and relevant to the task. Planning Solutions did respond well to feedback from the clients throughout the project but particularly to points made at the draft and final draft stages.

It is testament to the quality of the work and the final outcome that the Vision was fully and formally endorsed by the Basingstoke Canal’s Joint Management Committee.” Andy Smith Head of Countryside, Hampshire County Council.