Primark – Planning Case

Case Studies

Innovative private forum attracted huge public interaction and helped deliver planning permission

Illuminated Primark storefront signAS ONE of the most recognisable names in affordable High Street fashion, Primark spent years seeking a suitable site in Scotland’s capital city to create a flagship store.

When it secured a site on Princes Street, the location in a World Heritage Site meant it faced a rigorous planning process, scrutinised by both Edinburgh Council and the Scottish Government.

Primark had to demonstrate the most extensive possible public consultation – a challenge for a company which prefers to avoid the media spotlight.

So, we conceived, created and managed a private online network called Primark – Have Your Say which allowed anyone to share their views with other interested groups and individual. It also allowed Primark to provide regular updates on the planning process and artist’s impressions, like that pictured.

The Have Your Say site attracted 10,000 members, the vast majority in Scotland. Each member completed a registration and validation process by providing a genuine email address. Those members:

  • Made 17,200 visits to the site
  • Racked up 77,000 page views
  • Wrote 206 blog posts
  • Participated in 110 separate forum discussions

Artist's impression of Primark store in Edinburgh

The Have Your Say site and its content was submitted in the final planning application as the most important demonstration of Primark’s extensive and successful public consultation. Primark was granted planning permission for its flagship Scottish store a short time later.

PR case study on the publica relations campaign which helped secure planning permission for the Primark store on Princes Street, Edinburgh

Please check out the PDF version of this PR case study which goes into greater detail on exactly how we delivered such outstanding success for Primark during the process to win planning permission for its flagship Scottish store


During the process we also secured the domain name, primarkedinburgh, which redirected to the Have Your Say site.

Then we contacted an extensive list of stakeholders, including heritage organisations, architectural bodies, business and retail groups, community councils, city councillors, MSPs and MPs. All were advised how to use the Have Your Say network and encouraged to voice their support or objections.

Holyrood PR managed all regular updates on the planning process and moderation of the network on a daily basis, throughout the planning process.

Supportive posts on the site included endorsements from Councillor Tom Buchanan, Economic Development Convener at City of Edinburgh Council and from influential heritage group, The Cockburn Association.

Primark's planning website earned major praise. It was part of a public relations campaign by Holyrood PR in ScotlandHolyrood PR also issued a media release to local publications advising the innovative website was going live, reinforcing how Primark was using the latest technology to ensure the widest possible public debate around the application.

News of the Have Your Say site launch was reported positively in the Edinburgh Herald & Post, Business 7 and – all articles praising Primark for its innovative approach and for achieving a planning ‘first’ in Scotland.

Immediately after planning permission was granted, Holyrood PR was appointed to provide PR and media relations support for the main contractor, Patton Construction.

We were also re-engaged by Primark to handle the public relations for the store launch in late 2011 – and we’d urge you to check out the separate PR case study on the success of that consumer public relations campaign.

Find out how your business could benefit from this kind of innovative and highly effective public relations support

We’d love the chance to discuss how public relations services from Holyrood PR could benefit your business.

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