As part of its national strategy to remediate and release land for reuse, National Grid Property appointed Copper to devise and implement a communications and engagement strategy around its plan to dismantle a gasholder in the centre of Bury St Edmunds.

Objectives

  • To gain local support for (or acceptance of) the redevelopment of the historic industrial site
  • To recognise and capture the gasholder’s place in the hearts of local people and former employees
  • To promote the economic, social and community benefits of bringing new life to a disused site
  • To protect and enhance National Grid Property’s reputation and develop a positive platform for the regeneration of the site

Audience

Our stakeholder mapping and modelling identified these audience groups:

  • Nearest neighbours and ward councillors
  • Families with direct historical links to the site
  • Environmental, heritage and wider interest groups local media
  • Developers, housing providers and businesses keen to see a high-quality redevelopment
  • Local media

Strategy

Our strategy was to capture people’s memories of the past, celebrating and preserving the history of the site for future generations, and encouraging the community to focus on the opportunities associated with bringing the site back into use.

Implementation

  • Developed a narrative for the site – visual materials and the spoken/written word
  • Held a heritage event to encourage people to share memories, photographs and artefacts for a heritage booklet and video
  • Developed a proactive media relations campaign to generate positive press coverage for the project and National Grid Property
  • Kept neighbours, ward councillors and the wider community informed about site works and responded to direct enquiries via an 0800 number and project email

Outputs and outcomes

  • No issues of complaints during the campaign linked to issues about the site
  • 60 copies of the booklet and film were distributed to local people and the local history website
  • 100% positive media coverage with reports on TV, online and in the Bury Free Press
  • Campaign is used as a best practice example by National Grid Property and to demonstrate its credentials with expert bodies like Historic England
  • Campaign won the inaugural CIPR Excellence Award for Construction, Property of Infrastructure