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We’re constantly trying to find new ways to share the story of the project so far – all the engagement; things we’ve heard, different views we’ve captured from residents. The challenge is to sum up how and where the current design drawings have come from to people just hearing about the project for the first time.

We know that they’ve come from residents expressing concerns about different crossings or junctions, ideas from heated workshop discussions, conversations at cafes or at organised walks or bike rides in the area. But how do we tell this story to the wider community that haven’t yet heard of DIY Porter’s Lodge despite our efforts, leaflets, media coverage and events so far?

All these changes are trying to not only make the area safer and more attractive but also trying to encourage people to walk or cycle for more local journeys more often. Whether it’s popping out for some milk, taking the kids to feed the ducks at MayesbrookPark or getting the paper… We want to try and make walking and or cycling an attractive option in your local neighbourhood by improving the walking experience by making it safer, more fun and more sociable.

Why do we want to do this? DIY Porter’s Lodge is about creating a more ‘liveable neighbourhood’ for everyone to enjoy whether they live in the area or are moving through it. ‘Liveable neighbourhood’s’ are about putting people first recognising that how our streets have developed over the years has devoted more and more space to the car and generally less and less space for people. Local shops on local high streets are struggling, we don’t know our neighbours, we’re walking less and travelling in the car more often at expense to our wallet, health and communities.

At the beginning of DIY Porter’s Lodge last year we surveyed 200 residents living in the area asking them what they think about their streets and what the barriers are to walking and cycling locally. 63% of those asked believed we need to minimise untidy parking and 63% believe we need to reduce the speed of the traffic. 64% of those asked think the sense of community needs to be improved and only 20% of people feel the streets are safe to play in.

So how do we tackle these problems? By asking the residents, like you, to define the problems the project needs to tackle we’re hoping that the designs, drawn up from workshops and meetings will reflect solutions that really will make a positive difference to people’s lives in the neighbourhood. We think that creating better places is all about ownership, if people living on a street decide they want to make it safer or more attractive they can – and we can support you to make this happen in a number of different ways. Streets and spaces belong to everyone and are there to serve the community and all the different needs of those within it. This project is about to deliver £250-300,000 worth of capital investment, from the borough’s transport allocation into the changes that will take place.

With many residents in the area without access to the internet we’re always trying to think of new ways to engage with people and let them know how their views count in this process which will result in significant change in the priority areas chosen by residents. This is why you may have seen the five temporary chalk boards put up at each priority area with designs for a vote, contact details, the aim of these is to tell the story. Do you think this works? How would you share the message with others? Can you tell your neighbours about the project? Leaflets and fliers often get lost in all the post that comes through the door so if you have other ideas we’d love to hear from you. We really want to avoid the situation where people feel they haven’t had their voice or opinions heard when it comes to the designs being built.

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