TK Associates’ communications work to support the creation of a countryside park has placed second nationally in the Excellence in Local Government Awards, which attracted over 200 entries. This gives us our third award this year.

At the awards dinner in Belfast, the judges recognised the Pebsham Countryside Park work within its consultation category for its thoroughness, transparency and effectiveness in engaging all parts of the community, including hard-to-reach groups.

We ran the consultation, from September 2005 to April 2006, for East Sussex County, Hastings Borough and Rother District Councils. It was designed to help people determine the future of a 600-hectare area of unused open landscape and a soon-to-be-closed landfill tip.

Over a thousand people expressed their views through workshops, exhibitions and questionnaires, with 76% in favour of the scheme. They highlighted a strong preference for nature conservation, walking, cycling, riding and water sports. Young people generated particularly exciting ideas. The client team is now creating park designs and a business plan based on these findings.

First place in the Awards’ consultation category went to South Wales Police for an exercise to ask people how to spend its budget.

We beat many organisations to second place, including finalists Leeds City Council, Essex County Council and East Sussex County Council.