A 10-year plan to regenerate a declining fishing village in Scotland has won the top prize at the prestigious Royal Town Planning Institute’s (RTPI) Awards for Planning Excellence 2018 last night (24 May)

The plan for Stromness – which included extensive community input – was awarded the Silver Jubilee Cup, at the Royal Town Planning Institute’s (RTPI) Awards for Planning Excellence 2018 held in London last night. It also won in the Excellence in Planning for a Successful Economy category.

The Awards for Planning Excellence are the most established and respected awards in the UK planning industry.

Planners at Orkney Islands Council led a whole-of-council task force to implement the 10-year plan that has transformed the declining town following the community warning Stromness was being ‘left behind’.

Over the past 10 years, the plan has resulted in 12 major projects implemented across the town, including new and upgraded public spaces, new shops and businesses and a new primary school.

The library was not only rebuilt and moved to a new site – in the centre of the town, at the community’s request – to ensure it was accessible to everyone.

A new fishing pier was built with European funding, and new business and industrial spaces were allocated near the pier.

The council have also begun work for a new international research facility and infrastructure for tidal and wave energy generation.

All of this was the result of council planners working collaboratively with the community and involving them from the very start, using a ‘blank page approach’ to establish the community’s key priorities.

Using this, a draft plan was initiated, which was then shaped by community events, meetings and surveys, plus well-attended community workshops.

Craig McLaren FRTPI, RTPI Awards Advisor said:

“Stromness has been regenerated over the past 10 years through a comprehensive, plan-led strategy.  It was spearheaded by the council’s planners who were key to its success through establishing a vision for the town and ensuring commitment from other players to help deliver it.  The dramatic before and after photographs show just how profound the transformation has been. This remarkable ‘place-based’ approach could be used as a blueprint to revive declining towns across the country.”

John Acres MRTPI, RTPI President added: “Congratulations to all the winners and commended entries. This year’s awards have been a true celebration of planners’ passion for creating prosperous places and vibrant communities. Planners and planning make an important contribution to society and these awards highlight outstanding examples of what can be achieved with vision, leadership and expertise.”

Running for over 40 years, the RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence celebrate exceptional examples of planning and the contribution planners make to society. This year saw nearly a record number of entrants and the judge’s shortlisted 78 finalists across 13 categories.

Category winners include:

Excellence in Plan Making Practice

Towards a Stamford Hill Plan
Submitted by: London Borough of Hackney

West of England Partnership
Submitted by: West of England Joint Spatial Plan

Excellence in Planning for a Successful Economy

Stromness Regeneration
Submitted by: Orkney Islands Council

Excellence in Planning for Health and Wellbeing

Seaham Harbour Marina – Water Sports Activity Centre
Submitted by: Durham County Council

Excellence in Planning for Heritage and Culture

Stanton Moor Principles
Submitted by: Peak District National Park Authority

Depot, Lewes Community Screen
Submitted by: South Downs National Park Authority & Burrell Foley Fischer Architects and Urban Designers

Excellence in Planning for the Natural Environment

Caeau Mynydd Mawr SPG and March Fritillary Project
Submitted by: Carmarthenshire County Council

Excellence in Planning to Deliver Homes – large schemes

Nelson Project
Submitted by: Plymouth City Council

Bourne Estate Regeneration
Submitted by: Tibbalds and London Borough of Camden

Excellence in Planning to Deliver Homes – small schemes

Enfield Small Sites
Submitted by: HTA Design LLP

International Award for Planning Excellence

Economic and Urban Multi-site Development Project
Submitted by: INTA

In-house Planning Team of the Year

National Grid

HTA Design LLP

Local Authority Planning Team of the Year

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

Teignbridge District Council

Small Planning Consultancy of the Year

Situ8 Planning Consultancy

NTR Planning
Urban Imprint Ltd

Planning Consultancy of the Year

Deloitte Real Estate

Indigo Planning

Young Planner of the Year

Heather Claridge, Glasgow City Council

Charlotte Morphet, London Borough of Waltham Forest

Andrew Jones MRTPI, Practice Leader Design, Planning + Economics at AECOM said:
“AECOM is proud to be a headline sponsor once again of the RTPI’s Awards for Planning Excellence. Those recognised tonight illustrate the best of the planning profession and demonstrate the impact we have on quality and delivery in every area of the built environment. On behalf of AECOM, I would like to extend our congratulations to all of the commendations and winners.”

David Jackson MRTPI, Head of Planning, Savills said: “Savills is delighted to be a headline sponsor of the RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence. The winners this year reflect the positive impact planning has on our communities across the UK, Ireland and internationally through projects, plans and people. I’d like to congratulate all of those short-listed for awards and the category winners on behalf of the team at Savills.”

The Royal Town Planning Institute champions the power of planning in creating prosperous places and vibrant communities. It represents over 25,000 members worldwide, supporting them throughout their careers.


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