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Abbey Road Bridge Closure, Evesham

With the Abbey Road Bridge replacement works given the green light, we were appointed by Evesham Market Town Partnership to undertake a sustained media campaign to off-set the impact on the town - negative media coverage, public perception/understanding of traffic flow, access to shopping and general trading conditions.

A proactive and planned media relations campaign, consisted of regular news stories in local and national media, as well as online/social media interaction with media, residents, businesses and visitors.

The Abbey Road Bridge replacement works were negatively received throughout Evesham, leaving the general public and local press disgruntled with the upheaval.

The Market Town Partnership quickly realised the requirement for crisis management and contracted the agency to shift and alter Evesham’s negative attitude by highlighting all positive developments within the town, including a focus on independent businesses and public events.

We succeeded in:

  • Maintaining regular and effective communication, and sustaining good relations/positive news coverage with local, regional and national media
  • Monitoring and helping to mitigate any negative publicity/comments that the expected bridge repairs brought

A broad approach to PR activity included a combination of media relations, social media and events in the town. Overall, the campaign increased levels of awareness about positive events in the town and brought a continuing 'feel-good factor' to Evesham. This helped minimise and counter local frustration caused by the proposed bridge repairs and resultant issues, such as difficult trading conditions and traffic congestion.

Our media relations work centred on liaison with newspaper, radio and TV journalists.

We partnered with local newspaper, The Evesham Journal, which has a circulation of more than 28,000.

Aside from press releases, other media profiling opportunities included writing letters to the editor of other local newspapers/publications, negotiating exclusive journalist interviews, drafting response or comment pieces on national or local issues and arranging MP visits.

We established an online and social media presence for the town, allowing people to communicate and share views in real time. We further managed Facebook and Twitter activity full-time and throughout.

What they said

"Wychavon District Council appointed Mark and his team to provide PR support to Evesham Town Centre throughout the replacement works of Abbey Road Bridge. In short, the agency was highly effective in:

"Encouraging local residents to be proud of Evesham – even becoming advocates for their town and at the same time, sending clear messages that Evesham’s shops, bars, restaurants, hotels and other leisure attractions were very much open for business.

"The agency promoted Evesham’s unique festival offering and used these to differentiate the town from nearby and other regional destinations. The team maintained regular and effective communication and sustained good relations with local, regional and national media throughout.

"They informed and educated audiences as to the range and variety of retail and leisure outlets, services and facilities available in the town. Most importantly, the team monitored and helped to mitigate any negative publicity/comments that arose throughout the period of the contract.

"They did all this via traditional and digital media. The bridge works overran considerably creating a huge amount of critical comments, especially on social media. The agency was able to respond to this by creating continuing positive media coverage of events, business successes and promotional offers. Many businesses benefited from ‘free’ PR as a result and the resource was very much missed once the works were finally completed.”

Shawn Riley, Evesham Business Partnerships Manager, Wychavon District Council