Project: Ramsden’s Superstore
Clients: The Ramsden Group
Skills: Media relations, stakeholder engagement, planning and public affairs
When the Ramsden Group wanted to regenerate a run-down part of Grimsby, they knew it would involve the closure of their superstore at the cost of local jobs. However, this short–term pain was necessary as the development that replaced it promised to bring new retail opportunities and along with it, more new jobs than the closure would cost.
But the business was aware that getting the messaging wrong could mean negative coverage for their plans and turning planning officials and councillors against them. So, they enlisted the help of tprc. to manage the PR around the announcement up to the planning decision.
As a team of former journalists, tprc. is more equipped than most to sense potentially negative headlines and form a strategic plan to deal with them before the develop. We created and delivered a public consultation presentation on the benefits of the development which was given to all stakeholders affected the development, including current employees at the superstore, the local community and local businesses, as well as local councillors and the regional press.
Although the employees understood that the superstore would close, leading to them losing their jobs, they also welcomed the employment opportunities the new development would bring, including the prospect of advancement and happier, more fulfilling careers.
Taking pains to emphases this to all other stakeholders, including the local authority and the press, lead to support for the development from all quarters. The public were enthusiastic about the prospect of new and better shopping facilities; councillors wanted reassurance on the jobs front, particularly in relation to those who stood to lose out.
Our plan also had the effect of convincing the media to report the benefits of the full scheme rather than concentrating only on the job losses.
The announcement of the development led to positive front page coverage in the region’s press, focusing on regeneration, new job creation and the implications for the future economy of the area.
After getting off to a great start, we continued to update the press throughout the planning process and beyond, securing positive coverage during the construction phase.