Positive Engagement Rebuilds Relationships in Doddershall

As Fusion’s works at Doddershall near Quaintain approaches the halfway stage, the organisation is looking back to the initial input from its Community Engagement team, whose work over several months helped calm local concerns..

The Doddershall Grassland Translocation works involves moving approximately 62,000 square metres of soil, to make way for a haul road that will be used by main works contractors. However, with many in the local communities being more familiar with heavy civil engineering works and less aware of the environmentally friendly aspects of HS2, its team’s presence was not met with open arms.

The turning point came following a drop-in session at Doddershall Meadow, organised by Lorraine Kelly, who is now the Community Engagement Manager in C2b & C23 Central, last September at a time of great sensitivity towards vegetation clearance works.

The session enabled Quaintain residents to clearly understand the exact nature of the planned works and was supported by ongoing engagement with the Parish Council, plus liaison with Fusion’s foreman and onsite team. Information was provided as well as assurance that we would address the stated concerns, which included maintaining all footpaths and bridleways for dogwalkers and horse riders, control thistle growth and reinstate turf as close as possible to the verges and hedges. The engagement developed into a series of site tours, led by representatives from subcontractors Ecosulis.

Lorraine, who recently received a message of “thanks for (her) friendly and helpful approach” from a local resident, explained: “We prioritised building good relations, providing consistent updates and sufficient information to maintain a high level of assurance to help pave the way for a lasting relationship, not only with Fusion and our subcontractors, but those in main works that will follow on.

“It was very satisfying to have played a part on this works package.”