Lodestone Local, the strategic stakeholder engagement consultancy, is delighted to announce that exciting plans for £160-million student residences at Keele University have received unanimous approval from Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council.

The scheme will provide around 1,300 students with accommodation, taking the total to approximately 4,300 rooms within the next four to five years. This will include the construction of approximately 2,300 high-quality, affordable rooms, matching the ambitions of the University and its students as it expands from 10,000 to 13,000 students by 2020.

Community consultation experts Lodestone Local – a unit of Lodestone – led on communications, political liaison and insight for the project together with its client University Partnerships Programme (UPP).

The scheme involved Lodestone Local developing and delivering communications plans for each stage of the various consultation phases. Additionally, it performed stakeholder audits and political analyses as part of its bespoke engagement strategy to support UPP.

Jon Wakeford, Group Director, Strategy and Communications at UPP, commented:

“We have worked with Lodestone since the company was founded and they continue to be our strategic partner of choice for all communication and public affairs activity. Lodestone’s approach to messaging and research, along with their political insight into the region, proved instrumental in assisting UPP and Keele University to gain planning permission. Lodestone has impressed us with its responsive approach and capabilities on all fronts, and we look forward to continue working with them in future.”

Martha Dalton, Managing Director of Lodestone, said: “We are thrilled by Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council’s decision to grant planning permission for this exciting scheme. From the outset, we sought to deliver a responsive, inclusive communications strategy that engaged with the community and allowed all stakeholders to have their say. We provided strategic advice to help reduce planning risks and managed communications that spanned traditional and digital contexts.

“We are very proud to have worked alongside UPP on this project and been able to help them deliver one of their biggest schemes to date.  Huge congratulations to those at UPP and Keele University.”

Lodestone was set up 5 years ago by Co-Founders David Wild, Chairman; Mike Parker OBE, Director; Martha Dalton, Managing Director and Fran O’Leary, Director. Lodestone was listed within the top 15 public affairs agencies by PRWeek in 2016 and Managing Director Martha Dalton was included in the magazine’s ‘30 Under 30’ listing of communications professionals who are bringing new innovation to the industry. Lodestone was shortlisted in 2016 for the PR Moments PA Firm of the Year and the PRCA’s City & Financial Strategic Campaign of the Year. The company has also been shortlisted for the PRCA’s 2017 Ethical Champions award.

“We are very proud to have worked alongside UPP on this project and been able to help them deliver one of their biggest schemes to date. Huge congratulations to those at UPP and Keele University.” - Martha Dalton, Managing Director of Lodestone

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