CAMPAIGNS: Public Sector - Safety to fore as high-rises bite the dust

Client: Preston Borough Council

PR Team: In-house

Campaign: Tower block demolition

Timescale: April - November

Budget: £5,000

To make way for redevelopment, Preston council had to raze 1960s tower

blocks that used to house 600 people.


The PR strategy for the demolition had to focus on keeping local

residents, businesses and the wider public of Preston fully informed

about the demolition process so they had confidence in the demolition,

and participated in the orderly evacuation of their homes and business

residencies on blow-down day.

Anticipating that the event would attract thousands of spectators, the

PR team also wanted to exercise and highlight a tight safety-conscious

strategy so all could view the demolition safely.

The council also saw the event as an opportunity to grab maximum media

coverage for the council and the demolition firms.

Strategy and Plan

Public meetings, leaflets and personal visits from councillors and other

demolition parties to all being evacuees.

Information on blow-down day was to be sent out initially on a monthly


During the final week, the PR team planned to intensify media coverage

and fed event 'exclusives' to the local evening paper.

Stories included public viewing arrangements and a profile of a tower

block resident of 39 years, who was chosen to detonate the


Another story released prior to the event was about the UK's only female

explosives engineer who was to lay the charges.

Measurement and Evaluation

On the day, close media access - just 150 metres away from the tumbling

buildings - supplementary footage supplied by the council from high

vantage points and a detailed press pack ensured the event was well

reported by regional TV, radio and newspapers.


All residents were kept informed as to what was happening and why.

Also, people from outside the town came to watch, which benefited the

local economy.

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