PUBLIC SECT0R: Comms head pledge to alter Luton's image

Luton Borough Council's newly appointed head of comms has pledged to turn around the town's poor image.

Peter Morris, who took up the recently created head of comms post last month, said his aim is to halt an image of a town in decline.

He has highlighted the town's Luton First project, a multi-agency initiative, created two months ago to develop ways to better promote the town, as an 'immediate priority'.

Other groups involved in the project include Bedfordshire Police.

Morris said: 'The town doesn't have the reputation or the appreciation that it deserves. It's an area that's good for inward investment and we need to get that message out.'

Luton's image took a battering in March this year when the Vauxhall car plant closed, resulting in the loss of 1,900 jobs.

The council, led by chief executive Darra Singh, put in place a PR campaign at the time in an attempt to allay fears among residents of economic decline (PRWeek, 29 March).

The creation of Morris's role follows a review of the PR function by agency DTW earlier this year. The review recommended more than 90 changes, including the creation of a raft of comms posts.

These include a corporate marketing manager, website editor, press and PR manager and an extra PRO.

Morris said the council has approved a strengthening of the corporate PR function in principle but is yet to make a decision on what budget will be made available.

'That should happen by the end of the year,' he said.

Morris has joined from Silverstone motor racing circuit where he was corporate comms general manager leading promotional campaigns including the handling of comms for the Formula 1 British Grand Prix.

He has previously worked at Milton Keynes Council as marketing and public relations manager.

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