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JUDGES-REPORT-2007

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					                        RTPI PLANNING AWARDS 2007

                    Presented on Thursday 7 February 2008




                               JUDGES’ REPORT




The Royal Town Planning Institute established its Annual Awards for Planning
Achievement in 1977. The purpose was twofold: to mark the 25th Anniversary of the
Queen’s accession to the throne; and to throw a public spotlight on the positive
achievements of the town and country planning profession.
INTRODUCTION

The Royal Town Planning Institute‟s National Planning Awards 2007 demonstrate the
excellence that can be achieved when planners are able to apply their imagination and
skills to the ever-widening range and complexity of issues necessary to deliver
sustainable communities. The diversity of the submissions was perhaps greater than
ever before, reflecting both the wider “spatial” approach to planning and the recognition
that good place-shaping is fundamental to delivering a range of public policy objectives.

It is good to note that entries were submitted from all the English regions, Wales,
Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Overall there were 87 entries in
the 13 categories. Whilst this is a similar number to 2006, several local authorities and
consultants submitted more than one entry so the number of entrants is smaller. The
judges are keen to encourage more people to participate and to put forward projects for
consideration. Entries from districts and smaller authorities are particularly welcome
because their experiences will be of value in many other areas. Similarly, the judges are
concerned to ensure that the maximum benefit is derived from the good practice
identified through the awards process. More detail on this is included below.

Whilst entries are required to indicate the award category under which they are
submitted, the multifaceted nature of many of the projects means that they could be
considered under several headings. In addition the judges retained their discretion to
make awards under whichever category they considered appropriate. As previously the
judges carefully considered whether any conflicts of interest arose in relation to any
project with which they had recent past or current involvement so that they could absent
themselves from the judging process. Happily no such conflicts arose this year.

In deciding their initial short-list, the judges looked very closely at how the submissions
met the award criteria. To merit a national award an entry should demonstrate
outstanding achievement that has advanced significantly the art and science of town
planning. So the degree of originality and innovation, and the extent to which the project
might serve as a model for others, are particularly important considerations. Projects
involving newly-built facilities which focused on the architectural merits of the building
and did not adequately address the wider planning issues were not shortlisted.

In all, 32 entries were shortlisted. They included projects with a wide geographical
spread – from Tiverton in Devon to Wisbech in Cambridgeshire and from Brighton in
East Sussex to the Isle of Gigha in the Inner Hebrides. The judges visited, or received
presentations, on all of these and they are very grateful to all of those who provided
hospitality and helped make the visits such a success. The judges valued presentations
that were succinct, which really addressed the reasons why a national award should be
given and which allowed us to probe issues that we needed to understand better. It was
also good to have the commitment of the partners, including members of local
communities, demonstrated by their presence at the judging event.

In all 22 entries have received awards or commendations.

The winners in the Planning Process and Spatial Strategies categories demonstrate the
degree to which the various recent reforms of the planning system are now being
reflected in practice. Several take the opportunity presented by spatial planning to create
a more effective, integrated approach to sustainable communities. The Health and


RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                                2
Urban Planning Toolkit seeks to integrate spatial and health planning to ensure that
health issues are tackled appropriately in plan-making and development management.
The London Borough of Barnet‟s Primary Schools Capital Investment Programme
Planning Strategy integrates educational investment with spatial and corporate
planning to deliver a new programme of primary school building.

The “spatial strategy” winners demonstrate the different scales at which the approach
can be applied - Marine Spatial Planning to the marine environment in general,
demonstrating the role of planners in being innovative, facilitating development of a
robust, flexible and adaptable policy framework for decision-making, and the Redcar
and Cleveland Local Development Framework, which shows how an authority with
limited resources but lots of imagination and a pragmatic approach, can deliver effective
forward planning documents under the 2004 Act system.

The judges were also pleased to reward projects that demonstrated the value of
effective community engagement. These included Burnley Borough Council's
programme for Community Engagement in Area Action Plans, where the planners
showed real imagination and energy in engaging diverse communities; and the
Docklands Light Railway Langdon Park Station, which was finally built only after the
operator worked with the local community to build a social and economic business case
for the station which enabled them to harness non -operational sources of funding. The
judges also made an award to Celebrating 30 Years of Planning for Real. This
submission, by the Neighbourhood Initiatives Foundation, drew attention to the
contribution made over many years by the Planning for Real technique as a pioneer of
effective citizen participation.

The judges have also rewarded under the e-government category projects that help
facilitate the planning process for planners, developers and the community. These
include The Northamptonshire Environmental Character Assessment and Green
Infrastructure Suite, a powerful and impressively flexible rural data management tool
which attractively presents a vast amount of data which can inform plan making and
development management; and the Ancoats Urban Village Virtual Model which uses
computer-aided design and virtual reality technology to enable users to design and
assess the impact of proposed schemes in a dense urban environment. The judges also
liked the Environment Agency‟s Building a Better Environment - A Guide for
Developers. It is good to see a statutory body changing its way of working to meet new
demands and taking a facilitating approach through early engagement with developers.

By contrast with 2006, only one project is rewarded in the climate change category.
Tackling climate change requires a new approach to waste, its minimisation and
management. The judges felt that the Cambridge Waste Management Park was an
exemplar to other authorities in how to adopt an integrated approach to disposal and
recycling. However, in deciding which projects to reward in other categories the judges
looked for evidence that they incorporated measures to reduce impacts on the
environment. Thus of the projects rewarded for protecting heritage, Mercedes Benz
World at Brooklands incorporates sustainable building, energy conservation and green
transport and drainage techniques and Tiverton Pannier Market, in addition to finding a
new use for an important listed building, is helping to revitalise a town centre, reducing
the need for travel.     The Rainham Marsh RSPB Reserve, which receives a
commendation in the rural category, has a state of the art Environment and Education
Centre which incorporates innovative technology to provide the highest standards of


RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                               3
water and energy efficiency. The award winner in that category is the Broads
Sustainablity Guide which provides easily accessible advice to the community on the
steps that can be taken to make any project, from house extensions to new commercial
developments, greener.

As regards urban development, the judges were impressed by the way in which a
housing developer, Redrow Homes in Debut – Willans Green, Rugby, had pioneered
in the private sector a unique approach to the delivery of affordable market homes.
Modern construction methods have kept costs down but the scheme has still won a
BREEAM eco-excellent rating. The scheme enjoys open space, good design and a
layout that belies the densities achieved. It is being rolled out to other Redrow
developments. The Brighton New England Quarter is a good example of partnership
working between the private sector, the local authority and the community. It has
buildings of quality and distinctiveness, which fully incorporate the principles of
sustainability in all its facets. It is a vertically and horizontally mixed use quarter, which
links to and integrates with the surrounding townscape and enhances the settings of
listed buildings. The Sheffield Gold Route demonstrates the important role an improved
public realm can play in stimulating a city's economic and cultural renaissance. It
exemplifies the benefits of integrated planning and management, and what can be
achieved through having a long term vision and sticking to it. The Nene Waterfront,
Wisbech shows how a small local authority can punch above its weight and set high
quality standards by using initiative and marshalling appropriate resources from the
public and private sectors to deliver a major neighbourhood regeneration project.

However, three projects perhaps most successfully demonstrated in 2007 how positive
spatial planning can deliver sustainable communities. The Upton Sustainable Urban
Extension, co-ordinated by English Partnerships, is a 6000 home extension to
Northampton. With the help of a design code a high quality, sustainable urban com-
munity is being created in which energy efficiency, sustainable urban drainage, housing
at the eco-excellent rating and green technologies are central features.

The Isle of Gigha Masterpan and Design Guide demonstrate positive planning in an
entirely different context. Consultants were commissioned by the Isle of Gigha Trust
after the islanders bought the island from their landlord and took the lead in planning the
island‟s future. Developments include a wind farm, new housing and workshop
developments while preserving the outstanding scenery. As a result population decline
has been reversed and the island is thriving, providing a model for similar remote
communities.

The Sherwood Energy Village was established after the town of Ollerton lost its colliery
and two textile factories. Local people resolved to develop their own industrial provident
society to focus mixed-use development on the former colliery site. They were
determined to adopt “green” development practices as an antidote to the carbon based
previous use. Twelve years on, there are as many jobs on the site as before. Eco-
friendly construction and profits channelled through the society produce substantial
community benefits.

All three projects receive awards, but the judges were particularly impressed by the
Gigha and Sherwood projects. In both cases the community had taken the lead in
initiating the re-planning and regeneration of their areas, commissioning the required
professional input. Both projects demonstrate the importance of governance and local


RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                                   4
leadership in creating fully sustainable solutions. After much deliberation by the judges
it was decided that the scale of the transformation of the site and the future of Ollerton in
a little over ten years by committed local people determined to be in control of their own
destiny meant that the award of the Silver Jubilee Cup should go to Sherwood Energy
Village.

As indicated previously, the judges want the good practice represented by all the entries
that receive awards or commendations to be made widely available. At present there is
publicity for the awards when they are presented, and a copy of the Judge‟s Report is
posted on the RTPI website. However, from 2008 the RTPI will require all entries to be
submitted in electronic format so that those projects which receive awards or
commendations will be included in full on the website. Indeed the judges may, with the
agreement of the entrants concerned, also post details of short-listed projects which do
not receive awards but which contain useful examples of good practice that should be
made more widely available.

The judges thoroughly enjoyed their visits to schemes around the country and wish to
thank, once again, those responsible for organising and participating in visits and
presentations. Whatever negative impression may be created by reports in the media,
the overwhelming evidence from the award entries is that good planning is valuable to,
and valued by, the communities it serves.

Mike Ash, CBE BA MRTPI (Chair)
Diana Kershaw, BSc MPhil MRTPI
Kay Powell, BSc MSc MIHT MRTPI




RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                                  5
SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES (sponsored by The Crown Estate)

Award for Sustainable Communities
to
“ISLE OF GIGHA PHYSICAL MASTERPLAN AND DESIGN GUIDES”
Submitted by Anderson Bell Christie Architects together with Isle of Gigha
Heritage Trust, Fyne Homes, Mike Hyatt Landscape Architects, ODS, CP
Architects and DPC Consortium

The Isle of Gigha was one of the first communities in Scotland to be purchased by its
residents. The Isle of Gigha Trust (“the Trust”) set out to secure the economic and social
viability of their island, and to do so in a sustainable way.

Gigha is the most southerly of the Hebridean Islands. It is seven miles long and half a
mile wide, lying 3 miles, 20 minutes by ferry, west of the Kintyre Peninsula, and 3 hours‟
drive from Glasgow. With a small scale and sensitive landscape, it is well known as the
“Garden Isle”.

The island was put on the market by the existing Laird in 2001 and the islanders, with
the aid of grants from a variety of agencies, seized the opportunity to determine the
future of their own community. All those living on Gigha - 90 in 2002, now over 150 - are
actively involved in making decisions for the island‟s future - those over 18 being
“members” of the Trust and eligible to vote on all major issues put before them by the
Board of Directors (“the Board”).

A Business Plan drawn up in 2001 had shaped the case for community ownership; this
set out the overall aspirations of the islanders. They wanted to turn round a situation in
which people had to leave to find work and a decent home, and those remaining lived in
unacceptable conditions. However, development could have had a negative impact on
its outstanding scenic qualities which made it vital to ensure that the new housing,
businesses, crofts, and related infrastructure were well designed and sited appropriately.
The Board worked in partnership with Fyne Homes and Argyll and Bute Council to
ensure this, commissioning Anderson Bell Christie with Mike Hyatt Landscape Architects
to prepare a Masterplan and Design Guides to form the detailed spatial framework for
the island.

The Masterplan was developed via an innovative process involving firstly holding a
session for residents to contribute photographs, then to “map” the island on a large scale
photomontage. This ensured that proposals were informed by past development and an
understanding of Gigha as a whole, for example using traditional farm steadings as a
model for future development instead of the more usual, but less appropriate, cul-de-sac
or street pattern. As a result of this exercise, islanders picked a “cluster model” as their
preferred solution. This pattern has the advantage of minimising the impact of
development and the need for new infrastructure, maximising energy efficiency including
solar gain, maintaining the character and use of the land, dispersing parking, and
encouraging walking and cycling.

The mapping session was followed by a presentation of initial ideas and options to the
Trust‟s Board as a basis for identifying development sites. Each site identified at this
stage was then visited and any constraints and suitable densities noted on individual site




RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                                 6
information sheets. A draft zoning plan was produced, including all possible sites and
indicating those that the community did not wish to be developed.

This plan and all the information gathered were set out in a public exhibition on an Open
Day, when residents were asked for their further views. The strategy received
unanimous approval, as did a proposal to consult all residents on all the sites to
establish preferences. Each person was asked to vote on those sites they considered
most suited, and those least suited, to development. Over half those eligible voted.
Unpopular sites were ruled out altogether; those favoured by the majority but to which a
significant minority were opposed were put on hold, to be reconsidered should future
development needs arise. The final allocation was approved by a clear majority vote at
a subsequent meeting of members of the Trust. In this way the plan evolved to reflect
the views and aspirations of the community as a whole.

In broad terms the locations chosen were in much the same locations as those identified
in the local plan, but the process had involved local people and so gained legitimacy and
ownership. The Design Guides took planning a stage further, providing a flexible
framework to enable discussion of design options between the community and potential
developers, balancing innovation and the need to integrate new buildings into the
landscape.

Following a design competition, Fyne Homes commissioned CP Architects to design 18
new homes. These were built by consortia of local builders and each has been occupied
by local residents, those returning to live on the island, or newcomers with key skills.
Three private houses have been completed, one funded by a Rural Home Ownership
Grant; a start has been made on refurbishing existing houses; several new businesses
have been started; and the future of the Primary School has been secured.

The Panel was impressed by the commitment of the islanders and the Directors of the
Isle of Gigha Trust. Islanders‟ lives have been transformed and there is a real sense of
optimism. Their achievements show the strength and appropriateness of community-
based planning, a model transferable to other islands and small rural communities.

They receive an Award in the Sustainable Communities category.


Award for Sustainable Communities
to
“UPTON SUSTAINABLE URBAN EXTENSION”
submitted by English Partnerships and EDAW

Work on the Upton Design Code started 7 years ago, and through inclusive working and
consistent application, is delivering a high-quality sustainable urban community. The
project has engaged major housebuilders in designing and delivering new homes based
on place-making principles.

Upton is the south western district of Northampton - a strategic expansion area of 40
acres of land with potential to accommodate around 6,000 homes. It forms part of the
Northampton Growth Area defined in the Sustainable Communities Plan.




RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                              7
English Partnerships (the landowner), The Prince‟s Foundation and Northampton
Borough Council decided to promote and demonstrate sustainable urban growth for
Upton. The Project Partners appointed a consultant team lead by EDAW, and they used
intensive stakeholder engagement to develop a spatial plan for the area, followed by a
Design Code. This, and a strong partnership approach, has enabled high quality to be
maintained through to implementation.

Outline planning permission was granted for the new district of Upton in 2000 based on
a conventional residential layout which repeated the bland character of the adjacent
Upton Grange development with a car-orientated road layout. These principles were
challenged by the project team and the community. A series of intensive “Enquiry by
Design” workshops resulted in the preparation of a far-reaching Framework Plan for the
area – to be delivered using the first practical use of a Design Code in Britain.

Re-working of the concept resulted in a completely new vision for the area that changed
not only how the development looks, but how it works, and this should lead to more
healthy and sustainable lifestyles for residents.

Changes to the layout involved variations to the original planning permission. A second
planning application at the north of the site for a new Weedon Road frontage included
the local centre previously proposed to be embedded in the development, with at–grade
controlled crossing points. This will make the local facilities accessible to future
developments to the north of Upton, and form a link between communities.

The Working Group established to take the work forward reports to a Steering
Committee including the development partners, a local councillor, a member of the
parish council and an enthusiastic local resident. All development proposals meet a
quality threshold, provide an easily walkable permeable urban structure, a safe
environment, good quality local facilities (a primary school, shops, offices and community
uses) and a useable public transport system, provided from the earliest phase of
development.

The Design Code expanded on the principles established via the Enquiry by Design
process, and was published in May 2003 as Supplementary Planning Guidance. The
Code, together with individual site-specific Development Briefs and Constraints Plans,
provides the developers with a clear set of rules. It also promotes the use of quality
materials to add value, and encourage the continuous improvement of energy and water
efficient design. All developers are required to interpret the local vernacular within their
designs. The March 2005 version 2 of the Design Code incorporates lessons learnt from
the first sites.

The involvement of English Partnerships (EP) as land owner has been key in
underpinning the two-stage selection process, Stage 1 is based solely on design; Stage
2 - 70% on design and 30% on price. EP has also provided advance infrastructure to
improve the speed of development whilst maintaining a high quality public realm.

All buildings are designed to the BREEAM/ Eco-homes “Excellent” standard; some are
carbon zero rated and 22% of the housing is affordable, “tenure-blind” and pepper-
potted throughout the development. A sustainable urban drainage system (SUDS) deals
with surface water run-off. The SUDS form ribbons of green open space, and the swales
allow water to flow down through the country park areas and thence to the River Nene in


RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                                 8
a controlled way that reduces flood risk and provides visual and ecological amenity.
Some sites include solar hot water, photovoltaics, rainwater harvesting, other green
technologies and live-work units. Buildings along the High Street have frontages that
can be adapted to other uses over time.

The Judges were impressed by the leadership and commitment of the key partners, and
the levels of cooperation achieved by working closely with all the stakeholders, including
major home builders. Because of this it provides a transferable model that is of national
significance. Phase 1 of the Upton Design Code project has shown that the approach
can be maintained over a long period (6 years) and through successive delivery phases.
It has proved a practical way of creating a sustainable community that is both inclusive
and forward-thinking.

The judges were interested to learn how the approach has stood the test of time, and
changes to both the people involved and the organisational context, for example the
transfer of development control responsibilities for major applications to the West
Northamptonshire Development Corporation.

The Upton project receives an Award as an exemplar of planning practice in the
Sustainable Communities category.


CITY AND METROPOLITAN AREAS

Award for City and Metropolitan Areas
to
“SHEFFIELD’S GOLD ROUTE”
submitted by Sheffield City Council

The 'Gold Route' is a series of streets and spaces forming a pedestrian network
designed to attract visitors arriving at Sheffield station into the city centre and as a link
between key parts of the city centre. Each of the spaces has its own distinctive character
reflecting its surrounding urban context. However, all of the spaces have common
themes of water features, the consistent use of natural materials such as local Pennine
sandstone and the highly crafted metal that is part of Sheffield's history.

Discussion about improvements to the public realm in the city began with the Heart of
the City project in 1997. In 2000 Sheffield‟s City Centre Master Plan identified a series of
major development opportunities which had the potential to reassert the city‟s role as an
economic driver of growth in the region, as a civic, cultural and historic centre, and as a
centre for shopping and learning excellence. This included an appraisal of the role of
public open spaces and of the main pedestrian routes linking them.

Out of this grew the proposals which now comprise the Gold Route. Most of the projects
required some form of land assembly and this was initiated by the City Council with the
contribution of the site of the Town Hall extension, the Registry Office and surrounding
car parks. Further land was acquired by negotiation with Sheffield Hallam University, the
National Union of Mineworkers, the Regional Development Agency and Network Rail.
Much of the pedestrian route is on highway that has been reclaimed from vehicle
carriageway by careful re-planning of the arterial and local road network.




RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                                  9
The main features of the Gold Route are:

      the dramatic new Sheaf Square, in front of the station, with terraced water
       cascades and the striking Cutting Edge sculpture;
      the pedestrianised Howard Street which climbs past Sheffield Hallam
       University's Pond Street campus with a procession of arched lighting columns,
       illuminated granite table seats and carefully selected specimen trees;
      Hallam Garden at the main entrance to the University with terraced lawns, art
       feature railings, and a stepped mosaic lined water feature;
      Millennium Square including the third water feature 'Rain' by artist Colin Rose,
       which provides the setting for the first completed private investments in the heart
       of the City including hotels and offices;
      the Peace Gardens, with its 89-jet fountain, which has become the route's most
       popular public sitting and meeting space;
      Barkers Pool, where the total refurbishment of the square and surrounds to the
       refurbished City Hall has created a simple and elegant space. Two granite, glass
       and acrylic water features are the main features in the square.

The route links together key civic buildings, transportation hubs, existing and new shops,
offices and hotels and major new public buildings such as the Millennium Galleries, a
major new venue for visual arts, craft and design, and the Winter Garden, one of the
largest glasshouses to be built in the UK during the last hundred years, which provides a
green world in the heart of the city linking the Galleries with the theatres in Tudor Square
and Millennium Square.

A key feature of the Gold Route is the amenity and feature lighting, with considerable
use being made of low energy light emitting diode fittings. Spectacular effects have been
achieved in the water features using coloured LEDs, especially at the Sheaf Square
cascades. Millennium Square is paved in a combination of granite and sandstone
paving, the surface of which is set with hundreds of low energy LED lights creating a
colour wave effect at night.

The judges were impressed by the way the City Council had recognised at an early
stage the important role an improved public realm could play in stimulating the city's
economic and cultural renaissance, by the focus on high quality design and materials
and by the attention to detail. Each space required detailed cross-service planning and
the formation of partnerships that have the potential to benefit the City long after the
works have been completed.

The de-cluttered and unified public realm provides a much-improved pedestrian
environment, no longer dominated by cars and other vehicles, with a safe and
welcoming ambience. Consistent use of robust and high quality materials, which provide
a thematic link between the spaces, combined with skilful design and construction
should ensure the longevity of the structures and minimise the need for regular
maintenance or replacement.

The new spaces are now established as a highly attractive setting for major
developments, both proposed and approaching completion. These developments are a
mixture of residential, new office space, retail and leisure and will bring real and tangible
benefits to Sheffield city centre in the form of new jobs, better facilities for residents and
workers and will inspire further developer and investor confidence.


RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                                  10
For these reasons the judges gave the Gold Route an Award in the City and
Metropolitan Areas category.


Commendation for City and Metropolitan Areas
to
“THE BRIGHTON NEW ENGLAND QUARTER”
submitted by Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd

This new truly mixed development quarter, sited on a large brownfield site, adjacent to
the Grade 1 listed station in Brighton, arose from a rejection, by local people, the Council
and the Inspectorate, for its use as a superstore, a large car park, offices and a small
number of residential units. Arising from the appeal, four criteria were advanced as
guiding the form of development. These were:-
     Support the existing shopping centre and not act as an out of town facility
     Reduce reliance on the car and contribute towards sustainable development.
     Enhance the townscape and listed buildings
     Provide adequate housing.

The developers, Sainsbury‟s, chose not to run away from a difficult situation but, with the
landowners, Network Rail, and in conjunction with the City Council, embarked upon an
alternative approach. The New England Quarter Consortium was formed which selected
Urbed to design a mixed use urban community which would provide a sense of place,
and high quality environment for residents and the workforce, and which would be based
on sustainable principles.

Extensive public consultation began in October 1999, resulting in an agreed planning
brief, adopted as Supplementary Planning Guidance in October 2000. This in itself was
a major achievement given the obvious antagonism that existed because of the previous
proposals. Further consultation followed, resulting in the submission of a hybrid outline
application which sought consent for the development of the entire site based on the
masterplan which identified the mix of land uses, design and planning principles, to
guide development of 11 parcels of land. A planning framework document accompanied
the application which set out the criteria for each parcel of land and the delivery of wider
public realm benefits, a sustainability assessment and proposals, retail study,
transportation study and ecology appraisal. Yet more public consultation resulted in the
Council approving the application in September 2003, with a section 106 agreement
covering affordable housing, contributions towards provision of community facilities such
as the training centre on site, public art, a town centre manager, enhancement of a
greenway corridor and securing 40% savings in energy emissions for each block on the
site. Horizontal mixing of uses has been achieved by developing over the supermarket
and shops/cafes, and the original concept has been developed to achieve high quality
design and massing. The team has worked with the contours of the site to create
attractive pedestrian spaces and routes, improved vehicular access, and has provided a
fully covered retail servicing area which minimises impact on adjacent residential
properties.

In June 2004, Sainsbury‟s with Barrett Homes started development on their core site,
which was completed and occupied by June 2007, along with the language school and
replacement station car park. One of the hotels and some more residential


RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                                11
development/community use are under construction. The second hotel is subject to
appeal as, in the view of the Council and master planners, it does not conform to the
agreed development principles, by reason of its excessive height.

The result is a modern, imaginative, well designed, vertically and horizontally mixed use
quarter, which links to and integrates with the surrounding townscape and enhances the
settings of listed buildings. The Council responsibly negotiated a section 106 agreement
which delivers a good level of affordable housing and other social and community
benefits. The sustainability credentials, as well as the energy savings mentioned above,
include schemes for reduced water and car usage, green transport plans and increased
waste recycling. 1000 jobs and 355 new homes will ultimately be provided.

This is the first major mixed use integrative development of its scale, in which
Sainsbury‟s has taken a leading role. It has given the firm confidence and knowledge to
undertake further similar schemes. The Council must also take credit for working closely
with Sainsbury‟s and the Consortium through difficult times, restoring public confidence
into believing that a development which met their needs and aspirations could be
achieved. The section 106 requirements were innovatory yet realistic and appropriate.

The resultant development has transformed the appearance of this previously
underused, polluted and sloping site, creating a vibrant city quarter with buildings of
quality and distinctiveness, which fully incorporate the principles of sustainability in all its
facets. It nestles extremely well into the surrounding urban fabric and has opened up
links between itself, the station and the nearby shopping centre. This has all been done
with the full endorsement of local people who must be proud of the outcome.

It is for the above reasons that the judges have awarded a Commendation in the City
and Metropolitan category.


TOWN REGENERATION

Award for Town Regeneration
to
“SHERWOOD ENERGY VILLAGE”
submitted by Newark and Sherwood District Council

Sherwood Energy Village (SEV) was established in 1995 as an Industrial Provident
Society. It arose as a result of the closure of Ollerton Pit in 1994 which was compounded
by the subsequent closure of two textile factories. The 15,000 population of Ollerton was
devastated by the abrupt loss of both male and female dominated jobs and incomes but
also by the large tracts of contaminated land at its heart and by the degradation of the
shopping and commercial facilities. It was also severely hampered in its regeneration
prospects by its relatively remote location from the nearest major towns of Mansfield and
Newark, low car ownership and lack of educational qualifications of its young people and
former workforces.

This is a scenario not unique to Ollerton – many coalfield towns and villages had
suffered the same fate. What is different is the way in which a group of local activists,
very ably led by a former trades union convenor, came together determined to make a




RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                                    12
future for their town from their own efforts, rather than be at the „beck and call‟ of no
doubt well-meaning external decision makers.

Following extensive consultation, it was decided that the town would focus effort on the
former colliery site, providing housing, employment, retail and recreational facilities. They
did not want to provide yet another „industrial park.‟ Central to the concept was that,
firstly, future development would not have the polluting side effects that mineral
extraction had involved. Therefore energy efficiency, renewable energy, biodiversity and
sustainable urban drainage schemes lay at the heart of development requirements,
which, in 1994, was ground breaking. Secondly, local people would be the developers
and any profits would be reinvested in the site and the wider town. Hence the formation
of the Industrial Provident Society by the core group of stakeholders, overseen by an
advisory group of local people.

Against all odds and without a track record, they convinced British Coal to „do a deal‟ on
the 39 hectare site in 1996. This included the reclamation of the site in partnership with
Nottingham County Council. Newark and Sherwood District Council assisted them with
positive allocations in the local plan and producing a planning brief. The relentless
passion, energy and commitment of the core group, led by their charismatic and
tenacious leader, meant that all of the preliminary work such as feasibility studies, grant
seeking activity, engineering and legal support work (which usually involves considerable
fees) was carried out by volunteers and others „conscripted‟ to the cause. Funding was
sought and obtained from all arenas, with SEV determined not to go into partnership to
obtain the funds. At all stages local people were kept informed of progress.

By 1999, SEV had a clean site, supportive local plan policies and a rigidly adhered-to
planning brief, permission and funding for infrastructure and supportive deals with
commercial developers, with a start on-site programmed for 2000. In itself this was a
massive achievement for a group of local people initially not well acquainted with
development economics and procedures.

By August 2007, the site had been transformed. More than half is occupied by
commercial development in modern buildings incorporating sustainable building
techniques and energy efficiency measures. They have managed to attract high quality
end-users, such as the head offices of Center Parcs, and an Acquired Brain Injury Unit,
along with locally based firms. Their own building, the E-Centre, includes small business
units and visitor facilities and acts as a „marketing suite‟ showing future end-users what
is expected of them and how it can work. Current occupiers are confirmed advocates for
what is being achieved in quality design and carbon reduction methods, and are at ease
with the governance principles and structure for the site. 600, mainly local, people are
now employed on the site, the same number as were employed when the pit closed.

196 houses comprising 13 different house types, with eco homes “excellent” rating as
minimum, are currently under construction in a neighbourhood, to be known as SEVille,
which abuts existing housing and is linked to the High Street, which is now fully occupied
by shops and commercial businesses.

The site also incorporates recreational areas including a Central Park on the former pit
head. Other housing and commercial sites have planning approval and are proving
popular with developers and businesses.




RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                                 13
With a highly successful model, SEV are using the profits not only to invest in the site but
also to purchase and upgrade ex-coal board housing off-site so residents can benefit
from the lower costs of heating and maintenance. Plans are also afoot to sponsor local
people through university.

SEV have shown that to truly achieve sustainable communities, the issue of governance
structures is as fundamental as the other 3 pillars of economy, environment and social
factors. They have proved how low carbon developments can be delivered on a large
scale with a quality product. As a result, SEV is widely used as a best practice example,
not only in this country but in Europe as well. The possible concern that the model will
fail when key movers and shakers move on, is being addressed by training and
grooming successor officers in the Society, and by closing the number of investment
stakeholders to prevent „outsiders‟ possibly taking advantage of the profitable future.

The transformation of the site and the future of Ollerton in a little over ten years by
committed local people determined to be in control of their own destiny truly merits an
Award in the Town Regeneration category and is the overall winner of the Silver
Jubilee Cup.


RENEWED NEIGHBOURHOODS

Commendation for Renewed Neighbourhoods
to
“DELIVERING DEBUT – DEBUT@WILLANS GREEN RUGBY”
submitted by Redrow Homes (Midlands) Ltd

'Debut' is Redrow Homes‟ approach to meeting affordable housing needs. The company
recognised that the difficulty faced by many people in affording their first home has
become a deep and growing problem. During 2003-4 Redrow Homes liaised closely with
ODPM (now DCLG) and English Partnerships to develop a product which would be new
and represent a genuine attempt to help people gain a foothold on the housing ladder.

The first 'Debut' scheme at Willans Green in Rugby is built on 2.3 acres of industrial
land, formerly owned by Marconi/GEC. It was previously a foundry sand tip. The scheme
was designed on a site which had already received Outline and Reserved Matters
consent for a conventional housing layout. The re-planned 'Debut' scheme was granted
planning consent in March 2005 and was launched for sale to the public in May 2005.

The scheme consists of 103 dwelling units of various sizes built at nearly 50 dwellings
per acre, in a low rise setting, grouped to form a cluster of homes around a central
space. Willans Green is within walking distance of the shops and facilities at Rugby town
centre and has good access to bus routes. The main Rugby railway station is not far
away.

The use of modem methods of construction to improve build efficiency meant that prices
could be pitched at levels well below orthodox starter homes - ranging from £50,000 for
studio apartments up to £110,000 for two-bedroomed apartments with an additional
study room (including the 10% deferred purchase option). The layout with its communal
open space was designed to optimise land use and created a genuine sense of
neighbourhood and community. The development has a BREEAM “eco excellent”


RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                                14
rating.

Units are constructed using a galvanised light-weight steel frame which is assembled on-
site. These construction techniques lead to reduced delivery and build times, giving
savings in energy consumption and associated emissions. Roofs are constructed using a
timber truss, sandwich of insulation and plasterboard, reducing home heating
requirements and carbon emissions. Traditional ceilings for upper floors are discarded.
Lightweight steel tiles are 100% recyclable and contain around 30% recycled material.
Ground floor wall construction comprises brick outer leaf. Upper walls comprise cement
particle-board cladding which is inert and completely recyclable. The resultant
construction presents a modern contemporary appearance which is generally pleasing to
the eye, with the layout belying the densities achieved.

High quality and well-maintained landscaping with shared outdoor space is an integral
part of the scheme. Communal open space with outdoor seating and a barbecue acts as
a neighbourhood meeting place. Cycle storage facilities are provided around the site to
discourage reliance on the private car. There are also facilities for materials and refuse
recycling on-site.

The Willans Green 'Debut' scheme at Rugby was a first. However, it has been followed
by a number of similar schemes elsewhere in the region. Redrow have built on their
experience in designing and marketing later schemes. They are growing 'Debut'
production from 500 units in 2007 to at least 2000 per year by 2010.

The Rugby scheme has proved to be a great success. The judges were impressed by
the fact that it is a market product, not benefiting from public sector support, as well as
being a genuinely affordable product - it therefore meets the essential needs of those on
low incomes, particularly young people looking for their first home. It seems to be
original and ground breaking within the housebuilding industry. Whilst many previous
attempts have been made to produce low-cost starter homes, particularly during periods
of high house prices, to lower the cost of home ownership, they have often resulted in
poor quality construction or poor design. The 'Debut' product breaks this link between
low cost and poor quality.

The scheme has dramatically enhanced the appearance of the site and created a
pleasant and welcoming environment, replacing formerly derelict land and giving new life
to this traditional urban quarter of Rugby. The 'Debut' product raises the standard in
terms of meeting 'sustainable development' objectives. The Rugby scheme was built on
brownfield land consisting of surplus foundry sand which is now being reclaimed,
recycled and re-used elsewhere by the company on a different site.

The scheme is also a good example of the benefits of close working between the house
building industry and the local authority and other agencies. Pre-application meetings
were held with officers and these were essential to ensure that the finished scheme was
'right first time'. It was necessary to convince planners and members about the merits of
an unconventional, untried and extremely innovative product. The developers and the
planning authority invested a substantial amount of time in these discussions for the first
scheme, and it is pleasing that the delivery of the 'Debut' product represents a genuine
example of a planning achievement which arose out of this partnership and combined
effort.



RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                               15
For these reasons the judges awarded the “Debut” project a Commendation in the
Sustainable Communities category.


Commendation for Renewed Neighbourhoods
to
“NENE WATERFRONT WISBECH”
submitted by Fenland District Council

This project shows how a small local authority can punch above its weight and set high
quality standards by using initiative and marshalling appropriate resources from the
public and private sectors. Their aim was to regenerate a relatively large area of vacant
former industrial land adjacent to the town centre of Wisbech, a small (200,000
population) market town in the East of England.

The approach taken by Fenland District Council, and the quality of the planning work it
has commissioned, has laid the foundations for a £47m multi-partner project aimed at
transforming this part of the river frontage into a new mixed-use quarter with 370 new
homes of mixed tenure, a 17-place Foyer scheme; state-of-the-art berth, boar repair and
maintenance facilities to expand the existing yacht harbour; business centre and boat
club; retailing including A3 uses; highway works including a new pedestrian/cycle
bridge; and landscape and environmental improvements.

Wisbech is in a low wage, low skill area, set in an agricultural hinterland and fenland
landscape. Now 8 miles from the coast, it was once a bustling port but its fortunes have
declined.   However, there are good employment prospects and an increasing
population, and the town has some fine examples of Georgian architecture and
townscape – in particular the 3 “set pieces”: The Brink along the north bank of the River
Nene, the Market Place and the Oval.

Work began in 2000, when Fenland Borough Council‟s Economic Regeneration
Committee agreed to pursue regeneration of a 20-acre site in Wisbech, and to allocate
money for land acquisition. In 2002, Tibbalds TM2 was appointed to produce a
Comprehensive Development Framework. In 2004, a Draft Development Brief was
approved and adopted as Supplementary Planning Guidance, and Nene Waterfront
Regeneration became an integral part of the Borough‟s Community Strategy, which is
now informing the Borough‟s Local Development Framework. This provides the
framework for the Council, working with partners, to build on the potential of leisure
boating and other opportunities in the wider services sector, using its powers as a Port
Authority as well as those of a local authority, and providing for housing needs and other
amenities.

The first stage of work started on the Foyer, built by Axiom Housing Association, on a
site acquired by the Council, which opened in December 2006. Meanwhile master
planning work continued to underpin site assembly for the major site. Following an EU
procurement process Taylor Woodrow - now Taylor Wimpey - was selected as
Developer Partner, and a detailed planning application was submitted by the East of
England Development Agency (EEDA). This was approved in December 2006.

A public exhibition of the proposals was held and a Newsletter issued. This public
consultation, and detailed preparatory work undertaken by Tibbalds enabled the in-


RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                              16
house Development Control team to deal with the planning applications within statutory
timescales. It also enabled the Council to argue their case successfully at the
Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) inquiry held in December 2006, even though 2
landowners had wanted to undertake their own development. The CPO was approved
in April 2007, and, following site preparation, including de-contamination of part of the
site, and 1st Phase works on the river frontage, work on the Boathouse business centre
and housing commenced in autumn 2007.

Funding has been attracted from a number of sources including EEDA, English
Partnerships (EP), Cambridgeshire County Council, and ERDF Objective 2. Crucially,
the key funders - EEDA and EP - agreed to allow capital receipts from land disposals to
be recycled back into the scheme.

The scheme will transform this part of the town in a way that respects the strong
verticals of the fine Georgian architecture but doesn‟t seek to replicate it. The scheme
gives the opportunity to open up new public realm along the banks of the impounded
river, improve flood mitigation, and undertake highways work to improve access,
amenity and safety.

The Development Brief, and the Planning Design and Sustainability Statement provide a
basis for creating a new quarter for the town, linked to the adjacent residential
neighbourhood, and enhancing its environment by improving traffic flow and safety -
providing pedestrian links so that people can enjoy the new riverfront walkway and
improving pedestrian access to the town centre.

During preparation of the planning framework and detailed design, Tibbalds have
worked closely with Borough Planners and Technical staff, helping them to deal with
issues of a larger scale and complexity than those normally dealt with in the authority.
Work on this project has thus had the benefit of transferring skills to enable the
Borough‟s Members and Officers to handle schemes of a similar scale and challenge in
future.

The judges were pleased to see the level of commitment and detailed work undertaken
to ensure quality outcomes for the Nene Waterfront, Wisbech, which receives a
Commendation in the Renewed Neighbourhoods category.


RURAL AREAS AND THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT

Award for Rural Areas and the Natural Environment
to
“BROADS AUTHORITY SUSTAINABILITY GUIDE”
submitted by The Broads Authority

The Broads is one of England‟s National Parks and its location between the fens and the
North Sea represents one of the UK‟s most finely balanced habitats because of the
permanent risk of flooding and the effects of climate change. Assisting building
designers and the local community to address this problem was identified as a huge
need in such a fragile area. In addition, research into other guides revealed a lack of
succinct, accessible information about sustainable building design of direct relevance to
The Broads area and its landscapes and climate change impacts. It was also established


RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                             17
that ignorance of the costs involved and the returns achieved often discouraged the use
of sustainable solutions in favour of more familiar ones.

The objective of the sustainability guide is therefore both practical and ethical to ensure
that buildings can contribute to biodiversity and a sustainable future by using natural
local resource and by creating appropriate interventions within the Broadland landscape.
The guide therefore includes shorter term measures to combat flood risk and in the
medium to long term through the promotion of sustainable construction measures to help
slow climate change and lessen the risk from flooding. The guide promotes greater
efficiency in terms of resources, energy generation and reduction of CO2 emissions. It
usefully includes case studies showing how the strategies can be implemented in 4
specific Broads topographies: Waterside, Hillside, Marshland and Boat Yard.

It was launched in the Autumn of 2006 in two formats: a booklet and a CD Rom
attractively packaged in a standard DVD case. Information is presented in an easily
accessible, user friendly style, with the CD Rom mirroring the design layout and
information of the booklet but with the added facility of linking the reader to external
websites giving more detailed guidance. This enables the guide via the CD Rom to keep
abreast with the latest thinking. The guide can be downloaded for free from The Broads
Authority website or a hard copy purchased.

The Sustainability Guide is at this stage advisory only but it does reflect PPS1 and the
draft PPS26. It is intended that it will be adopted as a Supplementary Planning
Document as part of the Local Development Framework process.

One of the guide‟s strengths is that it produces very clear, attractively presented, concise
guidance with the use of photographs of actual situations, clear diagrams and
illustrations and quick reference icons. Whilst it is directly tailored to The Broads
experience, it is also informative about the principles and costs and returns of adopting
sustainable practices which can be transferred to other locations. It is being used as a
template by other National Park Authorities and schools have shown much interest in it;
a testament to its user-friendly language and template which does not overload the
reader with too much text.

It is refreshing and inspirational to see a guide which tackles a complex subject in a
simple but effective manner. A lot of thought and preparation went into the format of the
guide. It was subject to wide public consultation and involvement of a stakeholder group
in its preparation. However the format, quality and clarity of information was such that
hardly any changes were made. It is widely used in pre-application discussions and has
proved a best seller locally and nationally via the web. It is certainly a model that should
be adopted by others, with the sections challenging the notions that sustainable
development is too expensive, being particularly useful.

It is for these reasons that the judges consider that The Broads Sustainability Guide
merits an Award in the Rural/ Natural Environment category.




RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                                18
Commendation for Rural Areas and the Natural Environment
to
“RAINHAM MARSHES – FLAGSHIP FOR A GREENER THAMES GATEWAY”
submitted by RSPB

Strategies for the Thames Gateway have always recognised Rainham Marsh‟s potential
to provide a “green lung” for this area of otherwise major development. That potential
has now been realised with the RSPB's Rainham Marshes nature reserve. By
developing Rainham Marshes, the RSPB hopes to provide:

      a flagship green space for the Thames Gateway and a contribution to the green
       infrastructure of the East London Green Grid:
      a valued resource at the heart of the community, integrated with its surroundings;
      a model of sustainable development and heritage/archaeological conservation.

Rainham Marsh represents the largest remaining expanse of wetland bordering the
upper reaches of the Thames Estuary. However, over the years, development proposals
have been made that would have impacted on the marsh and the retention of much of
the area as open land was due in large part to its ownership by the Ministry of Defence
and its use as a firing range.

The site (of just over 350 hectares) was purchased by the RSPB from the Ministry of
Defence in July 2000. Areas of wet grassland, marsh and open water are being
maintained and created, supporting birds, scarce invertebrates and mammals, such as
the water vole. Over 250 bird species have already been recorded at Rainham.

A state of the art Environment and Education Centre has been built incorporating
innovative technology to provide the highest standards of water and energy efficiency.
It includes low flush toilets, enhanced insulation, passive solar heating, naturally
illuminated office and public areas, rainwater collection for the toilets, roof mounted
photovoltaics and a ground source heat pump for meeting heating demand. The building
is aiming for BREEAM 'Excellent' status and aspires to be a carbon neutral operation
with the planned addition of a small wind turbine.

The project will have wide community benefits. 'Discovery Zones' will provide
opportunities for people to learn about the wildlife, as well as improving understanding of
the military and social history of the site. New access and viewing facilities include an
extra 1.5 km of footpath/cycle trails. The reserve will provide health benefits as a
resource for informal leisure activities. The site aims to involve more than 100 volunteers
from the local community and have attracted 112,000 annual visitors by 2008/09. The
centre will host 4,500 schoolchildren for out-of-classroom learning visits per year by
2008/09.

The reserve will enable local communities to connect with wildlife on their doorstep, will
improve quality of life and liveability in the Thames Gateway and contribute to its wider
regeneration. The reserve has excellent rail and road links from both London and Essex,
with 1.3m people living within a 30-minute drive and 5.6m people within 60 minutes.

As a former MoD firing range, the site contained unexploded ordnance. This has been
safely removed. Local support for the scheme had to be fostered, so a community
consultation was undertaken to determine local people's views on the use of the site,


RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                               19
and a Community Officer appointed to further build community support and involvement.
Planting and landscaping have been incorporated to reduce the landscape impact and
the design and location of the Education Centre had to respect the Environment
Agency's ability to carry out its statutory duties on flood defence.

By 2009, the RSPB expect to complete the first phase of a wider Conservation Park
project. This will involve decontaminating 10 hectares of ex-industrial land and returning
over 80 hectares of previously developed land into use for nature conservation.

Over £8 million in investment has been secured and spending by visitors will support 37
full time equivalent (FTE) jobs in the Thurrock area by 2010. The reserve officially
opened to the public on 13th November 2006, the first time that local communities have
had formal access to the marshes for 100 years.

Although not the first urban nature reserve, Rainham Marshes is unprecedented and
unique in terms of its scale and ambition, set within one of Europe's largest regeneration
areas. It is a bold departure from traditional RSPB reserve policy, developing a site in a
degraded urban environment, something that has not been attempted in the past on this
scale. The example set by Rainham is now being followed by the RSPB in other projects
around the UK, such as Newport Wetlands in Wales and Saltholme on Teeside.

The judges consider that Rainham is a best practice example of an environment-led
urban regeneration project, enhancing the image of the wider sub-region and providing
opportunities for people to experience nature in an area that is otherwise degraded, in a
building that has been built to the highest standards of environmental performance. It is
also a good example of the beneficial effects of positive planning, with early involvement
of the planning authority in the proposals, close partnership working with a wide range of
interests and wide public consultation.

For these reasons the judges have awarded a Commendation in the Rural Areas and
the Natural Environment category.


HERITAGE

Award for Heritage
to
“MERCEDES-BENZ WORLD, BROOKLANDS”
submitted by Terence O’Rourke and DaimlerChrysler Retail (DCR) Ltd

In 1907 Hugh Locke King constructed the first purpose built motor racing circuit in the
world, at his Brooklands Estate in Weybridge, Surrey. The banked circuit achieved
worldwide acclaim as the birthplace of British motorsport. From 1907 until 1933
Brooklands was the only permanent motor racing circuit in Britain, attracting large
numbers of spectators. World land speed records were set at the track and in 1926
Brooklands hosted the first British Grand Prix. Racing continued at Brooklands until
1939. The site is significant in the social and cultural history of the growth of mass
leisure, and particularly the spectator sport of motor racing, in Britain.
Brooklands also played an important part in the birth of British aviation. It was an
aerodrome from 1908 and many early aircraft were built there. It was used in both



RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                              20
world wars for the manufacture of aeroplanes and the training of pilots. More than
2,500 Wellington bombers were built at Brooklands during World War II. Aircraft
manufacturing took place until 1987, with the manufacture of parts of Concorde in the
early 1970s and Airbus, Hawk and Tornado jets in the mid 1980s.
Parts of the original motor course and paddock and the few significant surviving
remnants of the aerodrome are scheduled ancient monuments. The former Brooklands
Auto Racing Club clubhouse is listed Grade II*; other remaining buildings, including an
aircraft hanger, are listed Grade II. The whole of the site was designated a
conservation area by Surrey County Council in 1989. Open areas are within the green
belt. The Brooklands Museum was established in 1991 to celebrate the site and
provide a home for the extensive archive and collection.
However, the site as a whole was in multiple ownership with a variety of uses and
subject to a variety of conflicting aspirations by owners, users and other interested
parties. There had been no co-ordinated programme of maintenance, which meant that
parts of the monument were overgrown and in disrepair. Parts of the site had been
sold for retailing, warehousing and business park developments. The open areas
were being used for vehicle storage, markets and unauthorised uses such as fly
tipping. Overall the perception was of a marginal, degraded site.
In 2002 Daimler Chrysler Retail were looking for a location in the UK for a signature
retail, demonstration and heritage centre for Mercedes cars: a “Mercedes Benz World”.
It quickly became apparent that given its size, location and clear links with automotive
history, including that of Mercedes, Brooklands would be the perfect location. Terence
O‟Rourke were appointed to prepare a masterplan for the transformation and
conservation of Brooklands. At the end of 2002 an outline planning application was
submitted to Elmbridge Borough Council for the development of a Heritage and
Technology Centre and new multi-purpose driving circuit, an office building and hotel
and a community park with wide-ranging access, heritage and environmental
improvements. Approvals were completed in March 2004. The complex opened to the
public in October 2006, with the site receiving 100,000 visitors by February 2007. A
major event, involving 100,000 people over two days, celebrating the centenary of the
circuit, was held in June 2007.
Physically, the project has enabled the dramatic transformation of the historic circuit
from a largely degraded wasteland to an environment that is attractive, publicly
accessible and secure. The openness of the 63-hectare site, as well as the integrity
and conservation value of the historic track, have been safeguarded and enhanced
and are now commensurate with the statutory designations across the site. A 60 acre
community park, and a network of pedestrian and cycle links, has been created.

The Mercedes Benz building is strikingly modern, yet evocative of the design traditions
of the early 20th century. It, along with the museum, now constitutes a major visitor
attraction. The building incorporates a range of environmental features to control heat
loss and regulate solar gain. A green travel plan is in place, with regular dedicated bus
services linking the whole site to Weybridge Station. Flood management measures
have been put in place to regulate overflow from the River Wey.
The judges were impressed by the way in which the commercial needs of a developer
have been married with those of an iconic heritage monument to produce an outcome
which benefits both. At its heart was an imaginative, innovative and deliverable
planning framework, developed in partnership with the client, key stakeholders and the


RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                               21
local community. The project was initially controversial in the locality, but once it
became clear that the developers fully understood the heritage importance of the site,
and were prepared to preserve and enhance that, with significant gains for the local
community, there was very little opposition.

Brooklands demonstrates how positive planning for new development can achieve
major heritage conservation objectives and is deserving of an Award in the Heritage
category.


Commendation for Heritage
to
“TIVERTON PANNIER MARKET ENHANCEMENT SCHEME”
submitted by Mid Devon District Council

Tiverton is the main market town in Mid Devon district. At the centre of the town lies the
Pannier Market which was erected in this location in the 1830s. It is a cruciform shaped
building with open colonnades and a central clock tower. The building is listed Grade II
and is within the Tiverton conservation area. The building was the historic heart of the
retail centre of the town.

However, unsympathetic changes were made to the building during the 1960s. The
areas around the market are “back land” - rear gardens and parking areas for shops on
the main streets. The market stood in the centre of a middle size car park, with tarmac
surrounding the entire building. The trading spaces were inflexible and insecure. The
building was showing signs of the need for major restoration work. Economically the
market was in decline and could not compete with supermarkets. Trading numbers had
dramatically reduced as had customer numbers and rent returns.

The Council had for several years wanted to improve the market, economically,
aesthetically and socially. It sought external professional project management advice
and an economic analysis was carried out of the town's shopping habits. It was decided
to kick-start economic growth for the market, and the town centre more generally, by
creating a better physical environment for trading, shopping and social interaction

Three public consultations were carried out which gave a clear and realistic view of the
problems that needed to be addressed. As much early investigatory work was carried
out as possible - feasibility studies, archaeological research, discussions with the
Environment Agency, the local Safety Partnership about 'safe design' and with access
groups, English Heritage and funders. The aim of the working group was to achieve
planning and listed building consent with no objections. In the end, one objection was
received for the whole scheme in the formal planning process.

The design chosen re-enclosed the main market building with glazed panels -
reintroducing the l830s plan form of stalls. The Grade II listed building was repaired and
extended and unsympathetic alterations removed. New, simple and complementary
designs were introduced in the old and new areas of build.                   More flexible
accommodation has been provided for traders with storage space, toilet and cleaning
facilities. Seating areas have been added to encourage people to linger and relax.
Paving and hard landscaping was introduced to identify the various car or pedestrian
zones and to soften the views to and from the market.



RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                              22
The expanse of car parking which previously had no visual breaks or relieving patterns
has now been redesigned. This has led to a much safer area both for cars (drivers can
see spaces and have a clear one-way route) and for pedestrians (who now have obvious
pedestrian-priority areas and pedestrian-only zones). Semi-mature trees have been
planted to enhance the setting.

A brownfield site lying immediately to the east of the market has subsequently been
developed into private rented housing with a zero parking allocation. Two local theatre
groups have had their accommodation updated and made fully accessible and the
Market Youth Centre has been updated and improved. These social uses of the
immediate surrounding buildings were considered vital in creating local pride in the
scheme and also providing out of hours uses (which then increases security).

The work was made possible through funding from the Council, the Heritage Lottery
Fund, the European Regional Development Fund and the South West Regional
Development Agency. Physical works started on the site in November 2004 and were
completed in March 2006. The works were undertaken whilst the market continued to
operate, as closure might have made it difficult for some of the businesses to survive.

The Pannier Market project has had a major impact not only on the building and its
immediate surroundings, but on the wider town centre of Tiverton. Subtle modern design
has successfully been incorporated into an historic site, which is now thriving. The
market trading numbers have increased - approximately 25% increased footfall of
shoppers and 40 additional traders (or traders' employees) have been registered in the
12 months since re-opening.

The judges were impressed by the clear-sighted approach adopted by Mid Devon
District Council‟s planning department, which recognised its own resource limitations and
brought in the necessary professional project management and architectural design
skills. One of the key reasons that funding was granted was the Council's early inclusion
of the scheme in the Local Plan's 'town centre strategy' identifying it as an area for
enhancement. This was set in the context of private sector development intended to
bring environmental enhancement and additional vitality and viability to the area. Early
consultation, frequent communication and the sharing of skills and problems were vital in
the success of this project. This has led to the re-use of an attractive historic building in a
modern, commercial setting. For these reasons the judges awarded this project a
Commendation in the Heritage category.


PLANNING PROCESS

Award for Planning Process
to
“HEALTH AND URBAN PLANNING TOOLKIT”
submitted by NHS London Healthy Urban Development Unit

The Health and Urban Planning Toolkit is an innovative guide focussed on supporting
and enabling a major step forward in the integration of spatial planning and health
planning. It is of immediate and direct benefit to Primary Health Care Trusts and Local
Authorities in London and beyond.


RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                                   23
Developed by a small team (the NHS London Healthy Urban Development Unit, HUDU)
and launched in March 2007, it is already making a major impact.

The project was started in response to the challenge set out in the Wanless report
“Securing our Future Health: Taking a Long Term View” 2004. This required the NHS to
improve health and well-being to tackle a range of health problems such as obesity to
reduce the burden on the health service. The prize is potentially huge – it has been
calculated that achieving the “fully engaged” scenario proposed by Wanless could
release £31bn by 2022.

Three “engagement projects” held to consider the Wanless report, the Department of
Health‟s “Our Health, Our Care, Our Say” (January 2006) and the framework for spatial
planning set out in the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 revealed a mis-
match between the aspirations of integrated planning and the reality of engagement.
This was the result of a variety of reasons including:

       no history of engagement;
       lack of understanding and awareness;
       different timescales;
       perceived lack of capacity;
       different focus (eg PCTs on finance and clinical objectives)
       Local Planning Authorities not seeing health as an objective for Local
        Development Frameworks.

NHS London commissioned consultants to suggest a way forward. They suggested that
HUDU should be set up, offering partnership support, influencing the planning agenda,
and influencing urban development in London. In addition to day-to-day work inputting to
the London Plan and the 32 Borough Local Development Frameworks, and in order to
do this most effectively, the 3-person Unit decided to understand the barriers to effective
working relationships and to provide practical pointers to overcoming these.

A number of documents describe the relationship between health and the built
environment, but the authors found nothing that described the mechanics of how to
ensure that the relationships worked and that health issues were tackled appropriately in
plan-making and development management. They thus set out to prepare the necessary
guide in-house.

The aim was to fill the gap, providing a guide for planners and health practitioners,
setting a clear path for engagement and action, including examples of good practice
showing how better cooperation leads to better outcomes and to better use of scarce
resources.

The process of preparing the Health and Urban Planning Toolkit was innovative, as well
as the product. HUDU ran 2 projects to develop the approach with groups of planners
and health practitioners, and then a third involving a Primary Health Care Trust
contracting a planner from the Unit, so that they could experience the inner workings of
the organisation and gain a more detailed understanding of what would be needed to
enable engagement, and to test the draft approach.

The key elements in the resulting Toolkit are:


RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                               24
      a systematic approach;
      aligned checklists;
      an engagement agreement;
      guidance on how to address health issues in LDFs and planning applications;
      practical pointers to help build capacity; and
      templates to enable PCTs and LPAs to “hit the ground running”

The Toolkit comprises a 75 page document, with an A3 folded Summary. Both are well
thought out with a focussed approach, logical structure, compelling content, and an
attractive and well illustrated page layout. The Toolkit, and the process for preparing it,
should give a good deal of inspiration to others tasked with preparing practical,
readable, planning documents.

In order to ensure take-up in London, HUDU is running a programme of sector
presentations and “one to one” workshops during 2007, prioritised on LDF timetables
and projected housing growth. The Unit provides follow-up support if required.

The Toolkit is already influencing relationships between Primary Health Care Trusts and
Local Planning Authorities in London, and it is attracting interest from elsewhere.
Indeed the level of understanding and co-operation needed to foster spatial planning is
as important outside London as within the Capital, as the general lack of co-terminosity
between health and spatial planning structures adds to complexity. There is substantial
scope to align engagement processes and objectives in health and planning (and
sustainable community strategies, although this is not tackled directly in the current
toolkit). However, use of the approach described should help align policies and
spending programmes across organisational boundaries, delivering more sustainable
outcomes by combining resources and expertise without duplicating effort.

The judges were impressed by the immediate applicability of the Heath and Urban
Planning Toolkit, and the speed with which it was been produced - under a year,
including consultation. Because of this, the impact it is already making on the quality of
integrated spatial planning in London, and the potential it offers for improving outcomes
within available resources, the Toolkit receives an Award in the Planning Process
category.

Award for Planning Process
To
“CELEBRATING 30 YEARS OF PLANNING FOR REAL”
submitted by Neighbourhoods Initiatives Foundation

The desirability of involving communities in the planning decisions that affect them has
developed from the basic “public consultation” requirements of the Town and Country
Planning Act 1947 through “public participation” to “community engagement” under the
Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.              But finding effective ways of
communicating and debating ideas about the development of an area has often proved a
challenge for both planners and communities. “Planning for Real” has become one of the
best known techniques for doing this, so much so that it has become almost a generic
term for many similar forms of public engagement.




RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                               25
Planning for Real was first pioneered in 1977 by Dr Tony Gibson, on behalf of the TCPA.
The technique utilises a physical model of the locality – the neighbourhood, district,
village or town. It was developed in response to the fact that many people found it
difficult to think in the abstract and/or to read maps and plans. The model can show
relief, landmarks, houses, streets and shops and is unique to that locality. The building
of the model is also an integral aspect of the process and can be made by local
schoolchildren as part of the national curriculum. It becomes the catalyst for bringing
people together to discuss their local patch. The model, with notes, and cards, that
people can affix asking for things „now‟, „sooner‟ or „later‟ becomes the focus, rather than
the officer or politician standing in front of the audience. It helps communities learn about
what choices might exist and their benefits, dis-benefits and costs, helping to realise the
difficulties and trade-offs in selecting priorities.

The method from the start was to involve those who would be most closely affected by
proposals and at the earliest stage It has been proved over the past 30 years that plans
and proposals that have been „planned for real‟ are more robust, easier and more
economical to maintain, as they are respected and cared for by the local people involved
in the decision-making process. It has also had the effect of helping to support and even
create community activists and leaders in some of the most challenging areas where
there was a vacuum before. In addition, PfR has exposed children to the concept of
citizenship in a practical way and has been a process whereby professional planners
have learnt how to engage with local people in a positive and creative rather than a
confrontational way.

In 1988, the Neighbourhoods Initiatives Foundation (NIF) was founded specifically to
promote Planning for Real. They continue to train councillors, local activists, officials
and others in the technique so that the activity continues to be cascaded out and
disseminated. Planning for Real is a registered trade mark and a tribute to its success is
that it has spawned many imitators. It continues to attract funding and commissions from
many different organisations and agencies, including those from overseas. It has a small
but dedicated number of staff who have been with the project for many years, ensuring
its integrity and continuing quality.

NIF are investigating extending the concept into the sub-regional scale via ICT, for
example, and have encompassed rural contexts. However, there is much merit in
keeping the technique at a scale and cost and level of simplicity which has proven to
work well. PfR‟s simplicity has taken the planning profession into subject areas and
places where it has not traditionally been, counterbalancing the desire of many planners
to over-complicate matters. The face-to-face contact of the different parties over a simple
model, and the debate that ensues when all parties are brought together, are an integral
part of the process which possible computerisation needs to enhance, not lose.

2007 marks the 30th anniversary of Planning for Real. It was the start of a radical and
welcome departure from the stifling and stilted exercises which were conducted
previously in the name of public consultation. It has stood the test of time and has been
emulated and adapted by many others, making an outstanding contribution to the
practice of town and country planning not only in the UK but throughout the world.

It is thoroughly deserving of recognition by an Award in the Planning Process category.




RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                                 26
Commendation for Planning Process
to
“COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT IN AREA ACTION PLANS”
submitted by Burnley Borough Council

In 2005 Burnley Borough Council started to prepare Area Action Plans (AAPs) covering
five areas that were experiencing significant housing market failure and were
characterised by empty and abandoned properties, high levels of deprivation and
widespread environmental neglect. A major problem identified was how to engage
effectively with local communities wearied by earlier rounds of consultation or who felt
disengaged and alienated by planning and regeneration processes because they felt
that had never had a proper chance to "have their say" about the future of their house,
street and neighbourhood.

The approach taken was to look at more creative ways of engaging all sections of the
community. This started with tours of regeneration areas in Liverpool, Sheffield and
Manchester for residents from all the neighbourhoods in order to try to build bridges
between communities through sharing the experience of visiting other regeneration
areas and talking to some of those involved. An artist/architecture practice was
commissioned to explore new ways of using arts projects to engage local people in the
AAP process and to explore issues such as loss of local heritage and the quality of
design. A community event was held in May 2006 to 'set the scene' by explaining the
new planning system and raising awareness about the Area Action Plans.

A programme of action was developed which included:

      a “Picture This” project in which artists worked with groups of local young people
       to design a slide show of 80 images with key messages, translated into
       community languages. These were projected at night on to the walls and
       windows of boarded up houses and community buildings;
      a yellow consultation bus that was parked in well-publicised locations in the
       neighbourhoods. It helped to give the process a strong, positive brand and was
       immediately identifiable at community festivals and local events;
      young people being invited to express their views by text;
      a major community event, The Planning Factory run by Professor Plan-it to feed
       back on the issues raised during the consultations. A special game was designed
       to explain the complexities of the issues and the process that planners have to go
       through in reaching decisions;
      a public arts project to provide some short term "wins". A series of ideas was
       developed with local community groups around the temporary uses of cleared
       sites, greening residential streets and a blue plaque scheme with quotes from
       people about their neighbourhoods;
      design training events run for local residents by Civic Architects on behalf of the
       Borough Council to assist residents in becoming better engaged in debates about
       the planning and regeneration of their neighbourhoods;
      a newsletter distributed to all households in March 2007 in order to tell residents
       about further work being undertaken for the AAPs and to sustain interest in the
       process.



RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                              27
As a result of these efforts there was a significant response to the Issues and Options
consultation (over 1000) and this interest seems to have been sustained with over 300
people attending the feedback event in November 2006. Furthermore, it is apparent that
there is an increased awareness of the Area Action Plans and what they are seeking to
achieve and this is evidenced by letters from members of the community in the local
press and by discussions at neighbourhood meetings. This work has been recognised in
articles in the professional press and the Council has received requests from other
authorities for the planning game used at the Planning Factory event.

The judges were impressed by the dedication and enthusiasm of the team, its
willingness to try a variety of approaches and not to be put off when there was limited
response (eg to the text message initiative). Whilst some of the approaches used have
been tried elsewhere, others were imaginative and innovative, recognising the need to
engage some difficult to reach groups amongst the young and in ethnic minorities. It is
also rare for so many different approaches to be used in a single programme.

The judges met residents from the AAP areas who were very enthusiastic about the
engagement programme, contrasting it with previous efforts which had produced
widespread cynicism. The programme of action had clearly had a major positive impact
on the relationship between the community and the planners in the local authority. This
was now seen as a partnership and this has benefited other consultation processes
(such as on development applications), resulting in decisions that had improved
community acceptance and had encouraged increased developer interest. It was clear
that Burnley‟s community engagement ideas are transferable to other authorities and
represent an example to others of what can be achieved.

For these reasons the judges awarded a Commendation in the Planning Process
category.

Commendation for Planning Process
to
“BUILDING A BETTER ENVIRONMENT – A GUIDE FOR DEVELOPERS”
submitted by the Environment Agency

Introduction of an innovative “account manager” approach for major developments -
together with improved information - has already demonstrated impressive results and
has proved a better way of working for the Environment Agency, developers and
communities.

By working in this new way with developer St George, planners in the Environment
Agency identified the need for a practical tool that developers could use to guide them
through statutory requirements at each stage of progressing proposals.

The resulting loose leaf folder “Building a Better Environment: A Guide for Developers”
provides practical advice and guidance, together with best practice examples ranging
from managing the risk of flooding, to safely developing on brown field land, to options
for sustainable construction. This information is now on the Environment Agency‟s
website and thus is available to all developers, local authorities and members of the
public. It is already making a major contribution to improving their understanding of
requirements.




RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                            28
The Environment Agency is a statutory consultee in the planning process and aspires to
be a modern regulator - that is, one that influences and negotiates to secure better
outcomes, rather than gets involved too late when designs have been finalised. It deals
with over 50,000 items of casework annually, and needs to do this in a way that delivers
sustainable development, but avoids causing unacceptable delays to delivering the
Government‟s growth agenda. These objectives can only be achieved if developers
work with the Agency from the start of the planning process. By the time a design has
formally entered the planning process it is often too late and very costly to make
changes.     Discussions with developers found a genuine willingness to include
environmental enhancements as part of their developments. But developers need to
know how and when this can be done as soon as their design team starts work.

The Environment Agency found during the pilot study that the account manager
approach, supported by the information in the folder, inspired the developer to find better
environmental solutions. The process involved regular meetings to discuss the
proposals throughout the design stage, seminars for the developers‟ staff on key
environmental issues, and a joint review of the environmental outcomes and process for
the completed development.

The project started in the South East of England, but has now been extended to the
Thames Gateway. The folder was developed by Planners, with input from over 50
technical experts from the Agency, as well as architects and developers. It was
enhanced by good practice examples collected over a 4 month period from over 60
contacts. The focus was to use this information to produce a guide that would be easy
to use and easy on the eye, without compromising or removing the “technical” content.
The team used outside expertise to ensure a high standard of readability and
presentation while retaining its role as a “working document” which enables developers
to check the requirements for planning permission, as well as other relevant consents.
There were two rounds of internal consultation to ensure that it would meet all the
criteria set. The finished product comprises an A4 clip folder that can be used in the
office or on site, and has proved of value for staff both outside and inside the Agency.

The pilot has shown the account manager approach, supported by better information, to
be a practical and innovative approach that supports culture change and leads to better,
more sustainable, solutions. It encourages early discussion and shows that, rather than
being considered as a constraint, the environment can present big opportunities, The
folder describes each environmental issue and possible solutions, giving examples of
good practice. It can be added to over time to provide a continuously evolving tool that
helps to move away from the situation where the first developers hear about a problem
is when they see the planning committee report on their application a few days before
the committee is due to meet. If there is an Environment Agency objection, the delays
involved can be costly and time-consuming.

The Guide and the approach has been so successful that the Environment Agency‟s
national Planning and Environment Assessment Team is looking to extend its use
across England and Wales.

The judges consider that the Environment Agency Guidelines project is an excellent
example of good practice in its field, and it receives a Commendation in the Planning
Process category.




RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                               29
Commendation for Planning Process
To
“DLR LANGDON PARK STATION”
submitted by Docklands Light Railway

When the Stratford Branch of the DLR was first mooted and constructed, a station at
Langdon Park was not developed in spite of local people strongly campaigning for one.
Feasibility studies had shown it to be „uneconomic‟ in traditional transport cost-benefit
terms in spite of the social, economic, environmental and transport benefits that would
accrue. The need for regeneration and the operation of a reliable public transport link in
and around Langdon Park is clearly evident. The area lies within wards in Tower
Hamlets which are in the top 2% of the most deprived wards within the country. The
unemployment rate is 17%, three times the national average. The estates which
comprise the local neighbourhood are currently isolated from public transport links and
services, as is the secondary school which now lies adjacent to the new station.

In 2000, the newly created Leaside Regeneration Agency responded to the continuing
campaign for the station and, with the DLR, commissioned an assessment.
Unsurprisingly, the results showed a strong regeneration case, but the economic case
for the station was not proven, and concerns were raised that a new station would
reduce railway performance on the rest of the line. Undeterred, a feasibility study was
financed via SRB, which showed that the case could be made if Stratford Station was
improved thus enhancing the capacity of the line as a whole. DLR managed to obtain
funding from TfL‟s investment programme for the Stratford improvements, no doubt
buoyed on by the ambitious and major regeneration proposals for Stratford City. The
money for Langdon Park itself still had to be found and this was obtained from the then
ODPM Community Infrastructure Fund as a result of the overwhelming community
benefits the scheme would offer. Indeed the entire funding package was totally unique
for DLR as all financial support was met externally and sourced principally on the strong
regenerative potential of the station.

Detailed consultation exercises were held with local people to involve them in issues
relating to the design, station access, and its setting. The methods and attention to detail
were again unique to the DLR, and probably to many transport operators. The previous
site of the station was dominated by inadequate footways, vandalism, a poorly
maintained footbridge and a number of derelict sites. Public opinion concluded that the
new station should have a clear, clean, transparent look for reasons of public safety and
should also act as a local landmark. A passenger bridge will integrate directly with a
public piazza adjoining the school. The transformation of the local environment has led
to two successful planning applications for residential accommodation of about 1000
units with mixed use units adjacent to the site. Secured Section 106 monies will mean
better lighting and environmental treatment on the wider approaches to the station.

The station is due to become operational in November 2007. The DLR has decided upon
a strategy to launch the station which has entailed the employment of a „local
ambassador‟. The job of this person is to promote the use of the station by liaising with
the local community including for example, giving away Oyster cards to promote their
use as they are difficult to obtain from local shops. They have also involved the school in
launch activities and public art projects around the station.


RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                                30
As a result of their experiences at Langdon Park, the DLR now have a public
consultation exercise, community ambassador, and strategy for each of their stations on
the Woolwich extension and Stratford International new lines, which involves considering
access and environmental requirements well beyond the immediate footprint of the
station. These are costed to enable funds to be drawn down via Section 106 agreements
between the local authorities and developers, arising from surrounding sites which are
coming forward as a direct result of the transport improvements. TfL are very interested
in the approach that the DLR have adopted and intend building this in to early planning
of Crossrail and any other new transport infrastructure additions. It will enable stations to
be considered on routes which might have been previously ruled out as being
„uneconomic‟ in spite of the resulting local community benefit.

It is unusual, if not unique, for transport operators to be involved with harnessing „non -
operational‟ sources of funding to finance „uneconomic‟ aspects of their infrastructure,
and to have a strategy in place for new infrastructure, devised in consultation with local
people, which considers wider environmental and economic impacts, and works with
local authorities and others to implement and fund the proposals.

It is for these reasons that the judges consider that this project merits a Commendation
in the Planning Process category.

E-GOVERNMENT

Award for E-Government
To
“NORTHAMPTONSHIRE’S        ENVIRONMENTAL        CHARACTER                  AND      GREEN
INFRASTRUCTURE SUITE”
submitted by River Nene Regional Park Partnership

The Northamptonshire ECA and GI suite provides a comprehensive, transparent and
strategic tool usable by all those involved in planning and allowing them to take account
of, enhance, and expand the county‟s green infrastructure. The project took 5 years to
develop, was launched in November 2006, and is a first in its field.

Northamptonshire is at the heart of the Milton Keynes and South Midlands growth area,
with the county set to receive around 100,000 new homes by 2021. The challenge faced
was how to deliver „liveability‟ for new and existing communities. Green Infrastructure, a
network of multifunctional green space, provides the opportunity to contribute to a high
quality natural and built environment. The development of these is set out in the ECA
and GI suite and identifies opportunities and corridors for investment and for making
green space more accessible to local communities. These proposals include
opportunities for new leisure, recreational and educational facilities as well as for green
local business. The ECA also identifies those landscape and green infrastructure
characteristics that are „inalienable‟ and should be conserved and enhanced.

In order to identify the locations and functions of appropriate green corridors, it was
necessary to move away from the existing somewhat crude subjective landscape
designations and to adopt a landscape character-based approach that was objective and
detailed enough to feed into the planning processes at regional, sub-regional and local
levels. Regional partners in local and central government, universities and the Regional


RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                                 31
Authority and Regional Development Agency, who all held largely independent data
banks were brought together to form a partnership under the leadership of the River
Nene Regional Park, to pool resource, verify information, and fill missing gaps to a
common format using the latest technology. A methodology was developed which led,
via a series of interactive, hierarchical layers of combined information, to the definition of
the environmental character of Northamptonshire. In all some 600-plus sources of
information were combined which could deliver detailed information on individual
aspects, ranging from field boundary definition to wildlife habitats and corridors, to multi
layered assessments, such as landscape, biodiversity and historic landscapes. The
information is linked to spatial planning policies and strategies at all levels. The data has
been arranged to enable future scenario testing such as climate change variables,
changing „growth‟ assumptions and changes to planning policies.

The green infrastructure aspect is created by combining information that forms the
environmental character assessment with habitat corridors and a sustainable movement
network, the latter linking settlements, leisure, recreational, cultural and natural
amenities. The resultant green corridors can then define the capacity of environmental
investment which assists in defining, for eg, recreational and leisure priorities, their size
and impacts, and those areas which should remain as found. This rigorous assessment
has been very useful in justifying grant applications for projects and in supporting
planning applications.

This vast range of detailed information, whose accuracy was verified as appropriate by
aerial photos, satellite imagery, ground truthing etc., was made fully interactive and
accessible on the web, with an introductory guide. It can be used by the development
industry, environmentalists, special interest groups, and the general public, with the
information able to be customised to meet all sorts of general and specialist needs.
Much of the lower level information is freely available. Should more detail be required,
the user is directed to the relevant agency where a licence fee is payable.

The establishment of the partnership as a community interest company has secured the
future of the project, with a commitment to a five-yearly review of data, policies and
strategies. The method has used IT and techniques that are easily transferable or readily
available at a very high „value for money‟ return. The partnership has actively sought to
disseminate their approach and as a result has interested takers in other sub-regions of
England, and has been included as a partner in a European initiative.

The vast range of users, uses and applications to which this suite can be applied at
varying geographic levels, down to the site-specific, and intimately linked with the spatial
planning system, is extremely impressive. The level of accuracy is of the highest
standard, whilst still being cost effective to establish and also to maintain. It has
combined the resources of numerous agencies very efficiently, yet each organisation still
retains its own integrity and influence. Its future has been assured by the fact that it is
has become indispensable to both its originators and users in an extremely cost effective
way. It is simply the best around.

It is for these reasons that the judges have decided to give an Award in the E-
Government category




RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                                  32
Commendation for E-Government
To
“ANCOATS URBAN VILLAGE VIRTUAL MODEL”

Ancoats Urban Village lies immediately to the north-east of Manchester City Centre and
now forms part of the New East Manchester Regeneration Project. It is a conservation
area and contains a significant number of Grade 2 and 2* listed buildings, many of which
are connected with the early days of the cotton industry, and its association with colonies
in the former British Empire. Many of the cotton workers‟ cottages were cleared as part
of a slum clearance programme. However, a terrace of the earliest municipal rented
homes remains and has been restored. Most of the remaining properties were
commercial mills or occupied with uses supplying the cotton trade.

Because of the importance of the buildings and their historical connections, it was felt by
the partners, New East Manchester Ltd, NWRDA, MCC and English Heritage, that a
physical model should be created to help inform consideration of redevelopment and
regeneration proposals. The problem was that the areas covered some 20ha, so a
physical model would have to be of a considerable size and scale to be of any use and
would thus be impossible to transport easily and use in different locations. It was thus
decided to develop a virtual model which was commissioned from Arups in 2001.

It was decided at the outset that the model should be developed to maximise
interoperability and flexibility, building on systems, hardware and software that are
readily available, such as CAD, Gaming Technology, and Virtual Reality. This enabled
the model to be accessible to a wide range of people. Certain aspects of it can be
accessed via the web so members of the public can see the model of Ancoats with
development proposals inserted. Developers can access the information and basic
system, and for a fee, can then transfer the model to their own design programmes to
inform the final design, materials and internal layouts, for example. The use of gaming
technology allows the user to walk, drive or fly around the model without the need to
purchase additional software. The model has been developed to enable full advantage
to be taken of future new developments in 3D computer hardware.

The model uses the most accurate information available, with the initial aerial laser
survey being supplemented by terrestrial photogrammetry and on site survey work.
Again the model is capable of incorporating the latest positioning information, ever
increasing its accuracy. This has proved its worth in allowing developers to know the
exact dimensions of the site or building, enabling more accurate project planning at the
initial stages without costly adjustments on-site as the real dimensions are realised.

The model has been used primarily as a design tool during pre-application negotiations
with developers. It shows new proposals in context and from every conceivable angle. It
allows all the stakeholders to view proposals remotely, thus avoiding the need for
numerous meetings. Being portable and transferable onto a big screen, it has also been
used to assist consideration by Councillors at Planning Committees and with
consultation exercises with residents.

It is now hoped to extend the model to cover the priority areas in the rest of Manchester
City Council‟s administrative area.




RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                               33
The setting up and maintenance costs of the system, including the retention of the
specialist Arups consultant, were, in the Panel‟s view, very good value for money. This
has been vindicated by the fact that another local authority is now developing its own
version of the Ancoats model using the well-tried and successful processes developed
by the Ancoats team.

Whilst there are other authorities who have ventured into the virtual world, to the Panel‟s
knowledge, none has developed the degree of accuracy, flexibility, accessibility and
range of functions that has been developed here. The adoption of this model, or the
development of their own, by other local authorities, will revolutionise not least, Planning
Committees, where the vagaries of the 2D drawings, the photo collection and the static
computer generated images can be replaced by something that accurately depicts the
proposal on which a totally informed judgement can be made. Well done Ancoats, for
demonstrating how readily accessible hardware and software can be cost-effectively
combined to deliver a tool that demonstrates the Heineken effect of reaching parts that
other methods cannot reach, and rendering the planning process more transparent and
less influenced by subjective decision-making.

It is for these reasons that the Panel awarded a Commendation in the E-Government
category.


SPATIAL STRATEGIES

Award for Spatial Strategies
To
“MARINE SPATIAL STRATEGIES”
submitted by Terence O’Rourke Ltd

This project was commissioned by DEFRA to research and advise on the practicality of
introducing a system for marine spatial planning (MSP) for UK territorial waters. It has
demonstrated – via a pilot in part of the Irish Sea - that the principles of spatial planning
are transferable to the marine environment. It has shown that MSP can not only deliver
a context for better planning for the sea around the UK that would complement spatial
planning on land, but that could also provide a tool for dealing with boundary issues
(integrated coastal zone management, ICZM) and a model for the marine planning
processes for our European neighbours.

The project was undertaken by a team led by Associated British Ports Marine
Environment Research, ABPmer. Planning input was provided by Terence O‟Rourke
Ltd.

The project‟s findings were overwhelmingly supported in consultation on the Draft
Marine Bill issued in March 2006, and consequently formed a major influence on the
content of the Marine Bill White Paper. When introducing the latter in March 2007 David
Milliband, then Secretary of State, DEFRA, said that the proposals represent “…a first
for the UK (raising) planning for the management and protection of our seas to a world-
leading level.” The Marine Bill will enshrine the concept of a statutory planning system
for the marine environment, which when implemented will lead to a more sustainable
approach to the management of the UK‟s territorial waters.




RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                                 34
 The project evolved over 16 months from December 2004 to February 2006, but has
 continued since including further work for DEFRA and advice to the Welsh Assembly
 Government. It considered means of:

        protecting marine ecosystems and biodiversity;
        providing a strategic integrative mechanism for the wide range of existing
         piecemeal legislation to facilitate better long-term planning and management of
         the marine environment;
        dealing with increasing pressure for development, and balancing competing
         demands including conserving marine environmental resources, mineral
         extraction and fish farming;
        dealing with the three-dimensional and dynamic nature of the marine
         environment, associated uses and activities;
        incorporating Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA);
        deciding on an appropriate scale and time-frame for marine plans;
        providing a logical, creative, repeatable and inclusive plan-making process;
        clarifying marine objectives;
        simplifying consents; and
        responding to EU initiatives.

The pilot study enabled consideration of an appropriate process and format for a marine
spatial plan for part of the Irish Sea. It involved data gathering, use of GIS and sieve
mapping techniques, and extensive stakeholder consultation.

MSP provides a framework for planning and managing the marine environment and
dealing with sometimes conflicting uses, together with practical issues such as the
feasibility of zoning in 3D (ie in the three-dimensional marine environment), and
managing the interface between the sea and land. The development of the pilot plan
highlighted the fundamental importance of integration of policy as a pre-requisite for
achieving sustainable development. Being eco-system based, it addresses issues of
the marine economy and marine societies whilst allowing for protection of both its
cultural and ecological heritage.

The pilot plan was the first attempt in the world to develop an MSP at regional level and
to establish how this would nest and integrate with policies and objectives at EU,
International, UK, Devolved Administration, regional and local levels. It also tackled the
requirements for examination, adoption, monitoring and review of these plans. In linking
the process and the framework for MSPs to terrestrial plans at a similar scale it has
taken strategic thinking about plan-making to a new level.

Although developed separately from consideration of the appropriate organisational
context, it requires establishment of a Marine Management Organisation (MMO) to take
ownership of the MSP framework, and - working with the Devolved Administrations - to
commission the required MSPs.

The Judges were impressed by the ability of the partners to scope the project and
undertake the detailed work necessary on the pilot project to prove the value and
practicality of developing an MSP framework for decision-making.           The pilot
demonstrated the robustness of the process, its ability to accommodate change and to
provide lessons for terrestrial planning. The latter include intelligent use of IT,



RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                              35
compelling visual presentation of data, and stakeholder and community involvement in
analysis and conflict resolution.

They concluded that the project is an international exemplar. It promotes the concept of
spatial planning and the value of applying it to complex marine environments to ensure
more sustainable development. It amply demonstrates the role of planners in being
innovative, helping to make sense of complexity, and facilitating development of a
robust, flexible and adaptable policy framework for decision-making.

As a first in the new and exciting field, the judges had no hesitation in giving Marine
Spatial Planning an Award in the Spatial Strategies category.

Commendation for Spatial Strategies
To
“REDCAR AND CLEVELAND LOCAL DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK”
submitted by Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council

Redcar and Cleveland is a small unitary authority, pop 140,000, in the North East of
England at the South East corner of the Tees Valley City Region. It contains the eastern
part of the Middlesborough conurbation, the South Tees industrial area, which contains
Teesport steel and chemical complexes, the main town of Redcar, the rural parts of East
Cleveland which includes former ironstone mining communities and attractive seaside
resorts, and the historic market town of Guisborough. It is therefore an area of great
contrasts with high quality coastal, inland and historic environments yet also
experiencing considerable regeneration challenges. These include responding to areas
of industrial decline with contaminated land, pockets of abandoned housing and
communities experiencing multiple deprivations. For too long the area had suffered from
a poor environment and poorly designed development. The area therefore suffered from
a poor image and has had difficulty attracting the right quality of inward investment.

The Local Development Framework was seen as a fundamental and integral part of the
process of raising the stakes for Redcar, raising the standards for new development and
generally reinvigorating local expectations. It was also important to raise the profile of the
planning function within the Council and with local people and organisations. This was
done by:
     developing strong links with the Local Strategic Partnership to understand their
       work and aspirations and for them to understand the role of the LDF and how
       important their contribution and commitment was;
     developing imaginative, memorable and fun consultation events, training staff in
       consultation techniques and project management;
     securing the continued active engagement of key department heads and
       Councillors;
     working closely with the Government Office, the regional assembly and Regional
       Development Agency and adjoining authorities.

With the local plan needing to be reviewed, the appointment of staff new to the authority
helped in the decision to totally supersede the old plan with a suite of new documents.
This was a bold decision for a small authority with limited resources in the absence of
national guidance on how to proceed to meet the government expectations of what the
new system would deliver. Seven development plan documents (SPD‟s) were decided
upon as the local development scheme, each with a realistic target for delivery. These


RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                                  36
DPDs comprise a Core Strategy, Development Policies, Communities, Proposals Map,
Economic policy, and a joint authority Waste and Minerals Core Policy and proposals.
These documents are supplemented by a design Supplementary Planning Document
and area spatial strategy Supplementary Planning Documents. Sustainability appraisals
also form part of the suite of documents, as required by legislation. The team wanted
clear, robust, flexible and locally distinctive documents that were easy to understand and
free from jargon, and were visionary yet very capable of implementation.

The first two documents comprising the LDS, the Core Strategy and the Development
Policies DPDs have been subject to Examination in Public. A member of the LSP
described the documents as saying „twice as much in half the space in an easily
understandable way.‟ The Inspector‟s reports on the 2 DPDs, issued in May 2007,found
both to be sound, needing only minor changes and commenting on how well they
accorded with PPS3 which was published, in its final form, less than 2 months prior to
the opening of the EIP. No mean feat for the Policy team to keep their documents up to
date with emerging policy. The wholehearted endorsement of the approach and the
policies is already reaping benefits, giving certainty to development proposals, providing
a co-ordinating framework for the partners in the LSP, and enabling insistence on high
quality design and adherence to sustainable development principles and policies.

As one of the first LDFs to go through the system with endorsement of its Core Strategy,
Redcar‟s achievements have been recognised by the profession, being on the Planning
Officers Society High Speed Group and Spatial Plans in Practice Project, giving
feedback to PINS on their experiences of the EIP and lecturing at Planning Schools.
Calls for assistance from other local authorities are readily responded to.

Redcar and Cleveland have demonstrated that when a place is clear about what it wants
to achieve, and how it wants to do it; when the vision and resultant policies and
implementation proposals are succinctly presented and jargon free thus enabling the full
support of local people and organisations, then the LDF schema is very fit for purpose
and can be managed with relatively limited staff resources. Redcar and Cleveland have
demonstrated how the flexibility of the system can be used to respond to local
circumstances over a time frame that suits local needs and resource constraints. They
were sufficiently confident on what their outcomes should be not to have to wait for
detailed guidance before taking the plunge. The only question mark the judges had was
the ability to sustain 7 DPDs and the number of resultant examinations in public.

It is for these reasons that the judges consider that a Commendation be given in the
Spatial Strategies category.


Commendation for Spatial Strategies
To
“LONDON BOROUGH OF BARNET PRIMARY SCHOOLS’ CAPITAL INVESTMENT
PROGRAMME – PLANNING STRATEGY”
submitted by London Borough of Barnet

The London Borough of Barnet has integrated development of its education capital
investment programme with spatial planning and corporate planning to produce a spatial
strategy with wide public support to deliver a new generation of primary schools for its
growing population.


RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                              37
Barnet is an outer London borough that will be the largest in population terms by 2016. It
has a strong economy and a diverse population. One third of the area of Barnet is
designated as Green Belt or protected open land, it has 18 Conservation Areas,
excellent schools and attainment, and the second busiest Planning Department in
London. However, the borough has uneven growth and is not high up in the
Government‟s spending priorities.

Work started on the Primary Schools‟ Capital Investment Programme (PSCIP) in
September 2002. By 2004 the Education and Planning professionals started working
together on the issues. Many of Barnet‟s school sites are too large, and represent an
under-used asset. However, it was soon recognised that considering alternative uses for
part of or all of these sites would be controversial. The Council needed to make the best
use of its resources, replace dilapidated school buildings, provide extra capacity in the
most suitable locations that could serve its expanding population, and to do this in a
sustainable way.

The strategy involved reconfiguration of school sites in a way that released some of the
assets for reinvestment, and aimed to be acceptable in environmental, economic and
social terms. The aim was to secure new primary schools for Barnet to BREEAM
“excellent” standards and to finance the building work required from the proceeds of
land sales plus minimal prudential and short-term borrowing. There was extensive
consultation as part of the process of developing the strategy - initially with the key
stakeholders and later, as the detail became clearer, with local communities and
parents. Barnet Members and Officers listened to, and incorporated the views of, all
stakeholders including its residents, before finalising the spatial strategy and
procurement proposals.

The Borough‟s Unitary Development Plan was comparatively up-to-date, but did not take
account of issues of school capacity and location, so proposals arising would need to be
considered as departures from the development plan. Therefore it was clear that the
delivery of the programme would depend on addressing the requirements and preparing
a robust planning framework that would provide strategic guidance on spatial
development sustainability criteria and land use planning issues. Timing of this work
coincided with a more integrated approach across the local authority than had existed
before this date, and this supported departments in working together within a clear
organisational framework. A Project Board, which included a Planner, was set up to
consider all the issues involved in this programme, from planning to procurement and
delivery.

In summer 2006 planning consultants Hepher Dixon, supported by the Borough‟s Major
Projects team from the Planning and Environmental Protection Service, and colleagues
from the Education Service, were commissioned to draft a strategic planning report and
individual planning briefs for each of the 11 schools in Wave 1 of the Programme.

Early stakeholder consultation was undertaken with the Greater London Authority (GLA),
Government Office for London (GOL), Sport England, and the then Department for
Education and Skills. The initial response was very positive, subject to a number of
criteria. The fact that this support has continued, particularly from the Mayor of London,
has been vital to continued progress being made on the Programme, and the eventual
delivery of the required new school buildings.


RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                              38
The work commissioned form Hepher Dixon was delivered in autumn 2006, and
following further work by the Major Projects Team they were agreed for consultation
purposes which started early in 2007.

Public consultation took the form of road-shows held at all the affected schools and
these were attended by education and planning officers. The Leader and Cabinet
Member for the Capital Programme explained the policy and the strategy designed to
deliver it. Attendance at the road-shows was good, and comments received were taken
on board before the strategy and briefs were approved by the Council‟s Cabinet in April.

Four key planning issues were resolved by producing these documents: the need to
address the fact that proposals to rebuild these schools were departures from the
adopted UDP; that they would involve building in the Green Belt or Metropolitan Open
Land; that the applications would need to be referred to the Mayor; and that they
involved loss of playing fields. The work involved was crucial to obtaining the go-ahead
to proceed with the procurement process.

The judging panel was pleased to see that Barnet‟s planners were instrumental in
developing the spatial justification and sustainable policy support for this major
community and education infrastructure programme, facilitating buy-in from strategic
and local stakeholders, and engaging effectively with elected members.

The London Borough of Barnet receives a Commendation for this work in the Spatial
Strategies category.


CLIMATE CHANGE

Award for Climate Change
to
“2010 – A WASTE ODYSSEY : DEVELOPMENT OF A SUSTAINABLE WASTE
MANAGEMENT PARK”

Cambridge Waste Management Park is a 135 hectare site some 6 miles north of
Cambridge, operated by Donarbon Ltd. Historically a mineral extraction and landfill site,
it now comprises a key facility designed to achieve Cambridgeshire‟s target for a 75%
reduction (from 1996 levels) in biodegradable waste deposited to landfill by 2020/21.
Given that the county will also experience significant levels of population growth over the
same period, the waste challenge facing the council and available waste management
infrastructure is huge.

Biodegradable waste in landfill is a major producer of methane. Due to its high potency
(21 times that of carbon dioxide) methane's global contribution to climate change is
second only to carbon dioxide. Methane emissions can be reduced through effective
capture, when it can be used as an energy source, or through the diversion of
biodegradable waste away from landfill. Recycling reduces the need for virgin materials,
using less energy and producing fewer emissions. Carbon dioxide emissions from waste
collection vehicles can be reduced by decreasing vehicle miles by reducing the
frequency of collections and selecting appropriate locations for waste transfer, treatment
and disposal sites.


RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                               39
The Cambridge Waste Management Park addresses these issues by providing a range
of co-located waste management technologies (both disposal and recovery),
undertaking waste processing and energy from waste production through the practical
application of new technologies to reduce potentially harmful emissions, engaging and
educating communities on waste management activities, being good neighbours through
effective site management, and providing a major waste management facility in a
sustainable location near to waste arisings.

The established waste disposal site was granted permission in 2001 for recycling of
wastes and aggregates, the treatment of household waste, composting, and works for
the remediation of old land-fill and the restoration of parts of the site for agriculture and
nature conservation. Since then the operator has developed a range of waste
processing techniques, including an open-air facility for the recycling of mixed
construction and demolition waste, and a pilot digester plant for the anaerobic treatment
of certain waste streams together with the utilisation of energy generated by landfill gas
to produce 'green' hydrogen.

The design and operation of the household waste facility, which involves delivery of the
waste into a transfer shed obviating the need for external collection vehicles to enter the
landfill site, has increased safety and efficiency, saving one district council over
£100,000 in one year by reducing turnaround times.

The site was identified in the Cambridge Waste Local Plan (2003) as a major waste
management park. Development of the proposals for this site informed the production by
the authority of a design guide for major waste management sites (adopted 2006). This
seeks to secure the integration of high quality waste facilities without adverse impact on
the street scene or, in less developed areas, the local landscape.

The principles set out in the design guide will be reflected in a major new mechanical
and biological waste treatment plant to be erected on the site. This will boost recycling of
the county's residual mixed waste to reduce its bio-degradability prior to reuse or
disposal. The entire waste treatment process will take place inside a large, purpose- built
building, which includes office accommodation and an education centre to promote
waste minimisation.

These proposals were the subject of extensive public consultation. Three public
exhibitions were held in the local community to advise residents of the emerging
proposal and to provide advice on the planning process. In December 2006 the Waste
Planning Authority undertook a further public exhibition and open forum during the 6-
week public consultation exercise on the planning application. There were no sustained
objections to the proposal and permission was granted in March 2007.

The judges were impressed by what has already been achieved in the Park, through the
extent of recycling and waste minimisation activities which will help deliver a wide range
of sustainability and climate change objectives. These facilities will be considerably
extended and improved with the construction of the new treatment plant. However, of
particular note is the way that the Waste Planning Authority and the operator have gone
about the provision of these facilities.

Tackling climate change requires a new approach to waste, its minimisation and


RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                                 40
management. Delivering new major waste management facilities in a timely fashion is a
problem facing all Waste Planning Authorities across England. This project shows how
co-operation by the WPA, operator and local community can overcome historical
negative perceptions and deliver timely decisions. Both the WPA and operator have
engaged with the local community through a regular site liaison community forum and
special briefing meetings to keep local representatives up to date with site
developments. The company has also been proactive in the field of hosting visits to the
facilities on-site and has held a number of public open days with conducted tours and
fun events for visitors.

As an exemplar to other local authorities and waste management companies, the judges
decided that the Cambridge Waste Management Park deserved an Award in the Climate
Change category.




RTPI Planning Awards 2007                                                           41

				
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