Ten-year transformation of Scottish village wins top UK planning award

websiteA 10-year plan to regenerate a declining fishing village, Stromness, Okney, has won the top prize at a prestigious national awards ceremony.

image RTPI website

RTPI writes:

The plan for Stromness – which included extensive community input – was awarded the Silver Jubilee Cup, at the Royal Town Planning Institute’s Awards for Planning Excellence 2018 held in London last night. It also won in the Excellence in Planning for a Successful Economy category. The Awards for Planning Excellence are the most established and respected awards in the UK planning industry.

… Planners at Orkney Islands Council led a whole-of-council task force to implement the 10-year plan that has transformed the declining town following the community warning Stromness was being ‘left behind’. Over the past 10 years, the plan has resulted in 12 major projects implemented across the town, including new and upgraded public spaces, new shops and businesses and a new primary school. The library was not only rebuilt and moved to a new site – in the centre of the town, at the community’s request – to ensure it was accessible to everyone.

A new fishing pier was built with European funding, and new business and industrial spaces were allocated near the pier.  The council have also begun work for a new international research facility and infrastructure for tidal and wave energy generation.  All this were the result of council planners working closely with the community and involving them from the very start, using a ‘blank page approach’ to establish the community’s key priorities. A draft plan was drawn up, which was then shaped by community events, meetings and surveys, plus well attended community workshops.

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

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

This remarkable ‘place-based’ approach could be used as a blueprint to revive declining towns across the country. Running for over 40 years, the RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence celebrate exceptional examples of planning and the contribution planners make to society. This year saw a nearly record number of entrants and the judges shortlisted 78 finalists across 13 categories.

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

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

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