A waterfront Leith can be proud of – and the PR campaign that helped it happen

Cala Homes Property PR

The runaway success of Waterfront Plaza needed property PR to get off the ground


The land opposite Ocean Terminal, next to Edinburgh’s waterfront, lay vacant for years, amid the financial crisis and failed council backing.
Luckily, upmarket housebuilder CALA Homes decided to take on the massive project of breathing new life in the site by building a new future for Leith Waterfront.
The area was originally earmarked for commercial use, despite research suggesting there was no need for such development.
So, CALA Homes proposed an alternative – to create housing, which would help address Edinburgh’s critical shortfall of much-needed family homes.
The biggest obstacle to CALA’s ambition was the planning process.


While planning officials had praised CALA’s plans, the fact the area was zoned for commercial development meant they were obliged to recommend it for refusal.
Our north star for the PR project was to make sure that did not happen – by running a campaign to persuade the elected councillors to overturn that recommendation.
From inception to completion our property PR campaign had to be designed to help build public, community, media and political support for the planning application.
It was vital that we identified and worked with a series of credible, third-party advocates who would champion the proposed development.
Working with CALA we agreed the campaign would deliver a minimum of 15 media articles with at least two-thirds carrying 100% positive messages.
We also set out to attract positive commentary from business, community, housing, planning and political influencers

What we did

To focus the conversation on the need for and benefits of a residential development instead of commercial property, we developed simple-yet-powerful key messages to underpin the campaign.
A six-part plan, detailed how to drive and lead the narrative at every step.
That was geared around building the strongest-possible relationship with the Edinburgh Evening News, the key local publication with a large social media following.
Our rolling drumbeat of stories were all accompanied by strong images, highlighting CALA’s progressive new plans and making a virtue of community consultation which shaped them.
We masterminded a story from the CEO of a local Housing Association calling for more affordable homes and worked with Ocean Terminal to highlight the business benefits.
As momentum built, we even persuaded Lord Provost Gordon Munro to provide a comment article highlighting the urgent need for these homes.
We got the right people not only talking about this development, but demanding it.

Results we delivered

Major articles

Positive stories

Opportunities to see

Independent, third-party advocates

At least two key messages

Successful planning application