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Hendy - the UK's premier family motor group

Planning decision puts Hendy in the driving seat


  • To assist the Hendy Group, the family-run motor dealership operating across large parts of the South, in securing planning permission for a major development in Tunbridge Wells.
  • To provide a community and engagement strategy for the project.
  • To manage the media on behalf of the company for the project.

Results and highlights

  • The latest project saw Maxim help to secure the go-ahead to redevelop the former John Lewis Partnership site on the outskirts of Tunbridge Wells, over a nine-month period.
  • Maxim advised the Hendy project team, helping to achieve its plans to relocate its sales, parts and servicing departments from its dealership on Mount Ephraim to the 1-hectare (2.4-acre) site in Kingstanding Business Park, which had laid vacant since April 2021.
  • With its longstanding insight of the economic and political landscape of Tunbridge Wells, Maxim worked with Hendy’s team of advisers throughout the planning application process, culminating in the unanimous approval by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council’s planning committee.
  • Hendy’s case was a compelling one. It safeguards 150 jobs at a time of economic uncertainty on a vacant site offering good access to the A21, and close to other motor dealers. It also delivered a net improvement on the level of traffic in the town centre, as well as generating less traffic on the new site compared to when it was a John Lewis.
  • News of Hendy’s plans to transform the vacant site by relocating out of the town centre was well received across the borough, and the story was picked up by the local press and regional business titles.

Commenting on the project, Andrew Metcalf, Maxim’s Managing Director, said: “The starting point for every development project is the ability to answer the key question: why is it important to the local community?

“Once we had a strong story that could stand up to questioning and scrutiny, we engaged with the local community and those with influence over the final planning decision, namely the local Ward Councillors. 

“Every project has an engagement strategy, but there’s always the need to be agile as rarely does everything go according to plan. Maxim was called upon to help ensure the Hendy project kept to the tight timetable.

“This is where our years of experience and long-term relationships with key organisations came into their own, which helped get the application to the last planning committee before the Local Elections, in line with Hendy’s commercial and construction timetable.”

Client reaction

John Hendy, Director – Estates & IT at Hendy Group, added: “We have had the pleasure of engaging Maxim in assisting us with two very complex and important developments in the Tunbridge Wells district.  

“On both occasions their approach and advice has been first class and it enabled the projects to gain the necessary traction and support they needed from all the key stakeholders in the affected areas.  Their knowledge and ability to engage at political and local levels throughout the planning process provided us with all the necessary insight to ensure our messages were effective and targeted.  

“Without their guidance, persistence and dedication I doubt the schemes would have been as successful as they have been.”

Services delivered

Community engagement, event management, media relations, public affairs

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