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News in brief: Finalists for RTPI Research Awards 2021 announced; Scottish heritage projects get funding

Words: Laura Edgar
2021 RTPI Awards for Research Excellence / RTPI

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 3 August, 2021

Finalists for RTPI Research Awards 2021 announced

The RTPI has announced the finalists for its 2021 Awards for Research Excellence.

A number of the finalists in the four award categories consider the relationship between sustainability, climate change and town planning.

Forty-nine submissions were submitted across the four categories: the Sir Peter Hall Award for Excellence in Research and Engagement, Early Career Researcher Award, Student Award and the Planning Practitioner Award. Twenty have been shortlisted as finalists.

The Student Award category contains several sustainability focused projects, reflecting the priorities for the next generation of town planners.

Wei Yang FRTPI, president of the RTPI, said: “Entries for the RTPI Awards for Research Excellence 2021 were incredibly strong, with entrants putting forward fresh and innovative research topics which grabbed the attention of our judges. We would like to thank everyone who submitted an entry.

“This year the judges were impressed by the standard of entries which came from a variety of organisations covering a multitude of vital topics.

“A number of the research projects which were shortlisted offered unique insights into the relationship between planning and sustainability. We believe this is an area of planning that will grow in future as planners become an integral part of the fight against climate change.”

The winners will be announced at the online Planning Research Conference on 8 September. Information about the finalists can be found on the RTPI website.

The awards have been sponsored by Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group) and Idox Knowledge Exchange.


Scottish heritage projects get funding

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has announced funding for more than 20 projects as part of the Historic Environment Support Fund.

Among the projects to receive a share of £241,995 are a historic Tolbooth steeple in Fife, the B-listed former Govanhill Picture House and a traditional skills training programme targeting disadvantaged people in Perth and Kinross.

More than £1 million has been distributed since the fund was launched in 2016. The fund is used to support various one-off, heritage-related projects in Scotland and has been running since 2016, with over £1 million distributed since it was launched.

The next application deadline for the fund is Tuesday 30 November 2021. More information can be found on the Historic Environment Scotland website.


Council submits application for leisure centre

Calderdale Council has submitted a planning application for a multimillion-pound swimming pool and leisure centre in Halifax.

The complex would be built on the site of the existing North Bridge Leisure Centre. It is expected to offer a wide range of facilities for the whole community, including a gym, a six-lane pool and a sports hall/dance studio.

Jane Scullion, Calderdale Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and strategy, said the leisure centre “is one of the key projects within the Calderdale Next Chapter transformation programme which is investing in major improvements right across the borough”.

The plans include feedback from public consultations held in the summer of 2018 and March 2020.


Wolverhampton joins circular economies agreement

Wolverhampton has become the first English city to sign the European Circular Cities Declaration, an environmental agreement designed to accelerate the adoption of circular economies across the continent.

Helsinki, Oslo, Prague and Florence are also part of the agreement committed to creating resource-efficient, low-carbon and socially responsible societies.

The Springfield Campus at the University of Wolverhampton will be Europe’s largest specialist academic centre for Architecture and Built Environment, offering teaching, research and training in modern methods of construction (MMC) and “revolutionary” remediation techniques to unlock brownfield development. The city will also be home to the £17.5 million National Brownfield Institute.

Alongside construction, manufacturing and food production have been selected as priority areas under a new West Midlands Circular Economy Routemap, which is due to be published later this year.

It is being developed by the West Midland Combined Authority’s dedicated Circular Economy Taskforce. The route map is expected to demonstrate opportunities for innovation, investment and growth across the West Midlands economy.

Ian Brookfield, leader of City of Wolverhampton Council and portfolio holder for economy and innovation at the combined authority, said: “Our city is at the helm of the sustainable revolution in construction, with the National Brownfield Institute and best-in-class research from the University of Wolverhampton putting us on the map as a unique centre of excellence for environmental development and regeneration.

“These strengths form a critical lever for enhancing our economy post-pandemic, opening up opportunities to unlock new investments, create jobs and boost skills training for local people in a sector that is becoming increasingly vital to achieving a Green Industrial Revolution. We are proud that Wolverhampton is a city where building back better isn’t just a promise, but a strategy in action.”

Image credit | RTPI