Our PR agency services expand far beyond media relations. And for many of our property and construction clients, this often involves stakeholder relations, political engagement and community consultation. Particularly when supporting high profile or sensitive planning projects.
Tom is a longstanding partner of Team AMBITIOUS and has worked closely with the PR agency since we launched. He has provided invaluable support for our clients – developers, property and landowners – helping them navigate the politics of planning and consult with the communities across a wide range of sectors including development applications, housing, retail and large infrastructure.
Tom’s a regular visitor to the office, helped by the fact we are practically neighbours. For now, work continues over Zoom, Teams and Skype including planning meetings. We recently caught up with Tom to quiz him out more about how he got into planning consultancy, his average day and how he continues to help our clients. Over to you Tom…
“Without knowing it, my path was set when I ‘fell’ into working as a holiday rep early in my career. I ran chalets in France before being encouraged to manage family holidays in Spain. I loved the people side of it but found myself helping more and more on long airport delays, often difficult and emotional experiences for passengers, and for those trying to help. I’d often find myself airside, standing on a desk updating people on the flight situation and answering difficult questions. On one such occasion, after giving bad news, I heard myself calmly telling an angry passenger at the back that he and the whole flight were welcome to hit me if he thought it would help. It was an out of body experience but surprisingly, it totally deescalated the situation. While others hated it, I really enjoyed being able to help and be a friendly face.
It was these experiences that provided me with many of the skills necessary to excel at stakeholder engagement and community consultation. I’m a people person and see my role as the go-between between the development team and local communities.
Development, whether it be building new homes, renewable energy, new roads, is often sensitive and sadly controversial. Working with local communities, being human, building relationships and communicating clearly will help make the best of these opportunities for all sides.”
For Tom, his scope of work is vast and often means that no two days are the same. His day can be spent reviewing schemes and advising clients, meeting with community representatives or neighbours through Zoom or in person, hosting virtual or more traditional exhibitions, or analysing feedback.
He has worked on a huge number of schemes from Sainsbury’s new store programme in the South West, to garden towns, solar farms, HS2, city centre PRS schemes and Bristol Sport’s stadium expansion.
If you’re business needs planning PR support, contact us today to find out more about how AMBITIOUS PR and our partners can help.