June 18, 2014 | Community News
Property and energy firm The Banks Group has recruited a new member of its development relations team to further enhance the public engagement work it carries out across the communities in which it operates.
After spending four years as Parliamentary Assistant to Gateshead MP Ian Mearns, Jeannie Kielty has joined the Durham-based, family-owned business as a Development Relations Officer.
Jeannie, who comes from Gateshead, is now working with the project teams responsible for a number of Banks’ schemes to identify the most appropriate ways in which to work with individuals and groups in the communities around Banks’ developments.
Her work is predominantly related to the firm’s planned property and surface mining projects in South East Northumberland and Tyne & Wear, but she will also be involved in other projects in County Durham, Cumbria and Scotland.
Banks’ community work plays a central role in the development, refinement and finalisation of project designs before, as and after they go through the planning approval process, and is designed to give people living near a proposed Banks site the chance to express their opinions and ideas about it directly to the company, so they can influence how it is shaped from an early stage in the design process..
Twenty-six year old Jeannie, who volunteers as a girl-guide leader and school governor in her spare time, says: “Having dealt with a very wide range of constituents’ queries and problems in my last job, I’m well used to listening to and working with residents, community leaders and local organisations, and hope my experience will be useful to everyone with whom we work.
“It’s absolutely essential for Banks Group that we communicate and listen to local people around our projects in the correct manner, and their strong reputation for working effectively with local communities meant that I jumped at the chance of joining the Banks team.”
Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at The Banks Group, adds: “Banks is acknowledged as a leader in our industry for the robust, creative and effective ways in which we work with the communities around our schemes, and the emphasis we place on working with the local communities is one of the most important parts of the way in which we bring forward new development proposals.
“We fully recognise the responsibilities we have to people living in and around our schemes, and work hard to live up to them, investing a great deal of time and resources in ensuring we establish effective two-way means of communications with individuals, groups and community representatives in the areas where we’re working or looking to work.
“Jeannie’s expertise from her previous role adds a great deal to our already-strong community team, and we’re looking forward to seeing the impact we know she will make.”