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Berry Hill Mansfield

Repositioning an historically controversial development scheme

Background

The Lindhurst Group has been working to bring Berry Hill Mansfield – a mixed-use development scheme set over some 480 acres in north Nottinghamshire – to market for more than 25 years.

The scheme has a controversial history peppered with legal challenges and vocal opposing local residents which, twinned with issues with dust and vibration affecting those living nearby once work started on site, required a proactive PR, crisis and community engagement strategy.

Approach

Engaging in a positive way with local residents was an essential part of the PR and community engagement strategy – but the historical controversy also meant developing a robust crisis plan.

Our PR and communications strategy focused on the development of an engaging suite of materials – website and hard copy newsletter to be delivered to nearby residents – and the organisation of a public event to give those people with questions the opportunity to speak to both the developer and contractor to find out more. Cartwright developed a detailed briefing pack for project representatives for use during the event. We also acted as a central call centre for resident complaints to ensure a consistent approach to any issues.

We developed a series of agreed responses and acted as the first port of call for telephone calls and emails, signposting enquiries as appropriate – not only for resident issues but also as a press office dealing with the media.

Ahead of the public event, we also engaged with a handful of local residents to form a liaison committee through which important topics can be raised, discussed and appropriate responses sought.

Results

The result has been a highly effective and honest PR and community liaison campaign, which has engaged with long-standing opponents of the scheme and fostered goodwill between residents and developer.

Local people were given the opportunity to meet the developer, ask questions and find out more at the public event, which was attended by more than 150 people including residents, politicians and other stakeholders. A significant reduction in complaints were received following the event.

Crisis Communications

Crisis communications is the management and protection of the reputation of an individual, organisation or brand during a negative situation, event or story.

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