Bell Yard advised the Executive Committee of a large group of concerned residents from across Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire who opposed a proposed new town at Long Marston since the site was shortlisted in April 2008 as part of the then Government’s flagship eco-town programme.
This programme was subject to a great turnaround in popularity since the idea was first announced in 2007. BARD, through Bell Yard’s assistance, was instrumental in highlighting the flaws in the process used to determine the Government’s choice of shortlisted sites. Similar criticism has been articulated from local and national politicians, environmental experts, planning, architectural and regeneration experts, transport advisors, legal advisors, celebrities, media commentators and – most vocally – the public most affected by the proposed new towns.
Bell Yard worked closely with BARD’s legal team in helping to highlight the legal failings of the Government’s eco-towns programme. BARD took the Government to the High Court culminating in a Judicial Review of the consultation process in January 2009, regrettably the case did not succeed.
Working with BARD’s political advisors, Bell Yard devised the Campaign name, structure, messaging, target audiences, tactics and communications delivery and demonstrated the impropriety of diverting much needed investment funds away from areas of real regeneration need elsewhere in the West Midlands region. Following significant polictical and media pressure, including protests at Westminster, the Long Marston site was eventually dropped as an eco-town venue, and the whole eco-town project quietly lost its resonance.