Foysel Ali, James Foreman, Penny Gilg and Joe Stafford, who comprised team ‘TSP York’, were commended by the judges for their imagination in predicting what the audience wanted to know, which ultimately won them the prize money.
The Yorkshire and Humber regional final consisted of three mock public consultations (a presentation and questions and answers). Mott MacDonald Bentley (MMB) from Leeds took on the alias of Bright Homes and explained their urban development plans. Next up Mott MacDonald’s Sheffield team represented the fictional Klev Rail to explain how plans were progressing to close a level crossing in Springfield. TSP took to the floor last, presenting a scheme with which the audience were now somewhat familiar – a level crossing closure in Springfield.
Luckily the minimal information given in the brief allowed each team to develop its own plans and dictate the direction of the presentation. So, whereas Mott MacDonald Sheffield explained a lot of history to the project, TSP’s presentation looked more at proposed construction sequences and plans to mitigate disruption.
Following all the presentations questions were posed by ‘members of the public’, the audience members relished taking on this role and put their own imagination to work representing local residents, shop owners, commuters and bird watchers, getting more emotionally involved and louder as the night went on.
The judges then stepped aside to consider the evening’s entertainment as well as pre-submitted leaflets and consultation strategies. In announcing the results the judges commented that last year’s regional heat had a clear winner (the team went on to win the national final), but this year's was much closer between the three teams. In the end the TSP team came across as the “most trust-worthy team” to be undertaking construction works on the judges' imaginary doorstep.
The TSP team took home a prize of £250 and will now progress to the national semi-final representing Yorkshire & Humber. Good luck!