BETTER TIMES lie ahead for the people of Grindsborough and Milton Albion following the adoption of plans to regenerate the area. Gone will be the days of flooding, of dingy concrete waterways, industrial decline and disappearing wildlife.
Proposals from Missing Link consortium of Haswell Consulting Engineers and the local councils will bring a renaissance to the area, with better flood control, new companies moving in, reintroduction of otters and water voles to the rivers and an ambitious fitness campaign, a public meeting heard last week.
Don't worry if you haven't heard of Grindsborough - this was the fictional backdrop for the winning entry in the final of the annual NCE communication competition, held at the AME conference in York last week.
Teams took the role of a taskforce of consultants and local authority officers charged with identifying a strategy for restoration of local rivers as part of an initiative to bring about a renaissance in the area.
It is a tough competition, with the finalists having come through two previous rounds. They made presentations to an audience which was invited to take the part of local people affected by the scheme - and rose admirably to the task with some very awkward questions apparently from aggrevied landowners, would-be house purchasers, mothers and fishermen.
Teams also produced leaflets - one team cannily keeping them back until after the presentation to prevent distraction among an audience which had started the evening in the bar.
Results was based on a combination of scores awarded by the audience and the judges, chaired by AME vice chairman Philomena Bach, engineering services manager with Brown & Root, and also including past winner Tom McCabe, ICE public relations manager Peter Griffiths and NCE international editor Lisa Russell.
The judges singled out the winners for their good teamwork which included varying the pace by having two of the team work as a double act. The slides were particularly effective, with images complementing the words. The style was relaxed and the subject tackled with humour. NCE provided cheques of £500, £300 and £200 for the teams in final.
There was plenty to commend the other teams too. The team from the Department of the Environment (Northern Ireland) was praised for its well-structured presentation. The chairman was very much in control of her team, which was the only one to stick perfectly to time. The brochure was very well structured.
Pell Frischmann's team had given careful thought to the overall strategy for taking forward the project and the role public consultation would play. They dealt well with the technical issues and gave a great air of professional competence.
AME chairman John Bircumshaw encouraged the audience to apply some of ideas the teams came up in their own boroughs, and those proposed in ICE's recent report 'Liquid assets'.