Wednesday, 3 March 2010

H&F developer PR firm rows with Guardian

An unedifying row has broken out in the blogosphere between the Public Relations firm employed by Capital and Counties (CapCo), the developers that our Council would like to knock down and redevelop the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates next to Earls Court, and Dave Hill of the Guardian. In recent times Dave's London Blog has been paying some interest in our Council's plans for the estates, which in West Kensington's case prompted the extraordinary action of residents to band together and vote to take over the estate themselves,  serving a "notice to quit" on the Council as a "rogue landlord" under new legislation designed to protect people from bad landlords. One of the residents is seen here pictured in a meeting of local residents with John Healey, the Housing Minister, in Parliament last year.

It's therefore a touchy subject to all concerned. So when Dave posted that CapCo had been angered by what they perceived as a shoddy service from PR firm Edelman, to the point that they had asked residents to contact them directly instead of going through their PR people, the Chief Executive of Edelman UK decided to weigh in himself.

You would think that a man in charge of one of the UK's biggest PR firms would spot a bad-PR elephant trap a mile away but no, now we have the two men slugging it out online with Robert Phillips, the CEO, trying to nitpick Dave Hill's article by questioning who sent what email when. View the unedifying spectacle here.

So what's this got to do with Shepherd's Bush? It's an illustration of some of the firms this Council deals with when it comes to the planning and redevelopment of our estates. We have two very good local examples, the Goldhawk Block and 282 Goldhawk Road, of what happens when these people are in charge and residents views seem to come very low in the priority list.

In fairness to the Council they have nothing to do with this online spat, and they can hardly be held accountable for what the developer's PR firm get up to. But are these really the sort of people they should be dealing with when it comes to reshaping the face of our Borough and potentially removing people's homes?


  1. Amusing though it may be to stereotype both PR people and their approaches, I 'weighed in' to the Dave Hill Blog Post yesterday merely to correct factual inaccuracies.

    I am all for open and constructive conversation and debate - but it is important to get the facts right first. One of the joys of Social Media is that it allows corrective comment on stuff that is, quite frankly, plainly wrong.

  2. chrisunderwood3 March 2010 at 09:56

    ..and you're very welcome to do so Robert, but what exactly was factually inaccurate in Dave's article?

  3. Crikey. The whole thing was a bit embarrassing - but to bring that tone over here...?! The worst part of it was the whole bit about Robert Phillips denying that Dave Hill had sent an email to his colleague, because he'd only been copied in on a letter from some other bloke. And then arguing back and forth about it.
    Counterattacking might have worked for Napoleon on the battle field, but if you're attacked in a Blog, you're much better off commenting with a pleasantly-toned presentation of your point of view, not spiky refutations & accusing your attacker of dissembling. Nobody comes out of an intemperate online argument looking good.
    Our local politicians would also do well to remember this...

  4. If Dave Hill can reproduce the letter he sent, then I will happily apologise to him personally and withdraw my comment.

  5. This shows the power of your blog Chris........don't let it go to your head!