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Residents in the market town of Hoddesdon in the United Kingdom were extremely unhappy about road safety in their town centre. Inadequate cycle facilities and lack of on-street parking were leading to increased congestion and insufficient public transport access.

To remedy the situation Opus created a Stakeholder Project Board with principal contractor Ringway, Broxbourne Borough Council and local County Councillors to share information about the project’s progress, challenges and time frames.

Opus designed a proactive and collaborative campaign that focused on involving the public and local businesses to keep them informed of the developments at each stage and minimising disruption to the community as much as possible.

The consultation process, which started long before the construction, ensured major elements of the programme were planned around big event days to minimise the impact on the town centre and its businesses. This sometimes meant traffic management had to be changed and works re-programmed, but ensured life for the public could go on as planned.

It was important that the town’s twice weekly markets were not affected and access to the town centre had to be a priority. Opus also had to work against a tight schedule that corresponded with the opening of a new supermarket, leaving just 15 weeks lead time.

Throughout the project we conducted regular 'doorstep' meetings with many businesses, making sure everyone had the latest information on progress and upcoming works, and allowing business owners to bring up any issues or concerns.

"Carrying out the doorstep meetings and proactively engaging with people was a really important way of showing the people of Hoddesdon that we understood the short term impact on their businesses, and were willing to listen and respond to concerns. I believe it was critical to making the project a success." ~ Aziza Jeppe, Opus Group Manager of the Integrated Transport Projects and Safety team.

 Completed in time for the opening of a new supermarket, the new traffic and pedestrian facilities, as well as the spruce up, were praised by the Hoddesdon Town Centre Business Forum for the new life they breathed into the town centre. Opus received its own praise for delivering a safer and more functional town centre with minimal disruption in a truly collaborative manner with both the council and the community.

The Stakeholder Project Board model was a great way to work and made it a really collaborative project. It is now being adopted for other work programmes in the region.