Enventure Research, working with S4W Ltd., an independent business consultancy, was appointed by Keighley Town Council (KTC) to undertake a public consultation and to draft business plans and a strategy for the future of the Civic Centre in Keighley.
The Civic Centre in Keighley was a former police station that was purchased by the Town Council in 2011. The building was refurbished to house Town Council offices, catering facilities, a café, a police contact point, and a Police Museum and Forensic Education Centre. The Civic Centre also offered rooms for hire and office space to rent. However, the Town Council was forced to cease trading from the building as a result of lack of clarification about the legal powers the Council had to trade.
In order to decide how to best manage the facility to most benefit Keighley in the future, the Town Council appointed a Civic Centre Strategy Committee, tasked with developing a strategy for the Civic Centre. This committee identified four potential options for the future of the building, including ideas such as encouraging public and private sector organisations to relocate to the Civic Centre, enabling social and not-for-profit enterprises to manage elements of the building, relocating the Town Council offices and selling the building, and allowing social enterprises or private sector organisations to take on some of the functions in the Civic Centre and trade.
Enventure Research, S4W Ltd. and the Town Council designed a questionnaire to explore the views of Keighley residents, business owners and managers of not-for-profit organisations. The questionnaire sought residents’ views on topics such as perception and awareness of the Civic Centre and the services provided there, past experiences of visiting the Civic Centre, interest in potential Civic Centre functions, preferred options for the future of the Civic Centre, other suggestions for improvements and ideas for raising additional revenue. The questionnaire also elicited the views of business owners and managers of charitable or not-for-profit organisations to explore potential interest in use of the building.
Paper copies of the questionnaire were distributed to the Civic Centre and were handed out on the streets of Keighley. The survey was available for residents and business owners to complete online to further encourage participation. Posters publicising the consultation were also displayed around the town. The consultation ran for a 12 week period between June and September 2016 and during this time 419 people took part.
In addition to the survey, a series of focus groups was held with residents from Keighley to explore their views, attitudes and ideas in greater depth, to enrich the consultation findings. A researcher from Enventure Research used a tailored discussion guide to facilitate the discussion without constraining the flow of conversation. A series of in depth telephone interviews was also undertaken with business owners and managers from local not-for-profit organisations to explore their views and ideas in greater depth.
Results and Benefits to the Client
Upon completion of both research phases, Enventure Research undertook detailed statistical and thematic analysis on the qualitative and quantitative data, providing a detailed written report and presenting the key findings to the Town Council.
The findings from the consultation will help shape subsequent business plans for each area of the Civic Centre and a high level strategy plan. The Town Council is working with S4W Ltd. to develop these plans, with the aim of re-invigorating the premises and ensuring that the future use of the building benefits the population of Keighley.