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Spindogs was approached by Berkeley Group to design and create a website to promote its new London development, Oval Village. Berkeley Group builds homes and neighbourhoods across London, Birmingham and South England. 

Berkeley Group specialises in brownfield regeneration and creates unique, sustainable homes for people to enjoy a great quality of life. This commitment to quality of life for tenants gave Spindogs the core focus of making sure Berkeley’s tenants were at the forefront of the property developer’s digital journey.

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A new design featuring an iconic landmark

The brief was a particularly special and emotive one as the project needed to deliver a website that focused on showcasing the community spirit behind the Oval Village development. The Oval Gas Works have been a central part of life in Lambeth, London since their construction began in 1853. The gas works were seen as an iconic landmark with their oval shape. A Grade II building, the Oval Gas Works were one of the largest gasholders in the world. 

Due to the historical and community significance of the gas works, they quickly became the linchpin of the new website’s design. Having such an iconic local landmark central to the website’s design perfectly supported the Berkeley Group’s vision to make a lasting, positive difference to the lives of those in the local community.

The Berkeley Group is passionate about building quality homes that strengthen communities in areas such as Fleet, Tower Hamlets, Ealing, White City and other places. In building these homes, the Berkeley Group hopes to make a lasting, positive difference to people’s lives. We wanted the website to bring in the old and the new, respecting the Oval Gas Works’ Victorian industrial past while embracing the vision of a new neighbourhood.

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Reflecting positive change through images

During the project briefing process, the Berkeley Group explained there may be objections to the new development from existing residents, concerned about increased noise and pollution levels from traffic. At the same time, further concerns were raised around the potential for complaints against more expensive accommodation and the destruction of shops and services that could take away from community life. Given these concerns raised by the Berkeley Group, it became increasingly important to achieve the client’s goal of launching a website that clearly outlined all the company was trying to do, to make lasting, positive differences in the community.

Emphasising the role the Berkeley Group was playing in supporting the local community was achieved by celebrating the history of the Oval Gas Works site. A quote from the Oval Village website explains the significance of the gasworks site:

“When built in 1877, the largest gasholder on this site was the biggest of its kind in the world – a magnificent feat of Victorian engineering and working monument to the great pioneers of British power. Now, the historic site’s redevelopment (and restoration) heralds a new phase in its history: with new homes, jobs, shops, cafes and a proud and tight-knit community. This is a community website, created for people living in and around Oval Village. When construction is complete it will be handed over from Berkeley to the local community.”

Spindogs helped Berkeley to achieve this by designing a website that included images, news stories and more to engage the local community and increase excitement around the project, diminishing concerns.

The Berkeley Group’s marketing team met with Spindogs to raise concerns around a lack of content on the existing website. With Spindogs’ support, new content assets for the site were created to include imagery and a timeline of information to stress the heritage of the site and how it would be preserved and celebrated moving forward.

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News stories to boost community engagement

A news section was also added to the website to further support community engagement. At the same time, Spindogs added blog functionality to the new website that allowed for stories such as “Our first street party” and “Helping young mums in Brixton” to be shared with the wider community.

Both the imagery and the news section created a feeling of community for local people to get excited about and make existing local residents feel like a bigger part of the project. This was important for Berkeley’s mission to make a positive difference to people’s lives, rather than having them see the project as an inconvenience or disruption to the existing community.

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