To advise Huawei Technologies on their proposals for a new Research and Development Centre in Sawston, South Cambridgeshire which allowed them to relocate their Ipswich operation to Cambridge. The development of the largely derelict site represents an investment of hundreds of millions of pounds in the area, bringing a range of employment opportunities back to the local area.

Our role

Our engagement involved:

  • Navigating complex, multi-tiered political structures to deliver a targeted programme of engagement with Parish, District and County Councillors.
  • Promoting Huawei as a high-profile investor to the area.
  • Providing media support, including briefings and interviews with the local press to inform the wider area.
  • Fostering links with many relevant interest groups, such as Smarter Cambridge Transport and The Greater Cambridge Partnership, as well as attending local events to promote the plans.
  • Delivering a wide-reaching public consultation programme, including face-to-face meetings and presentations to ten local politicians, nine parish councils and five local interest groups.
  • Given the high-profile nature of Huawei nationally at the time, we monitored national politics and policy to inform strategy, manage Huawei’s reputation and identify risks.


Our extensive consultation approach enabled us to respond to local concerns and set out clearly the benefits of regeneration, including local employment and training opportunities, opening up access to the site, improving links through the site to surrounding villages, the protection and improvement of a local heritage asset and local partnerships. We helped to deliver planning permission for Phase 1.