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Plymouth City Council wins big at RTPI awards

Words: Laura Edgar
RTPI Awards 2016

‘Plan for Homes’, by Plymouth City Council, was tonight (5 May) announced as the 2016 winner of the RTPI’s Silver Jubilee Cup at the institute's Awards for Planning Excellence.

Held at London’s Milton Court and Concert Hall, 13 other winners were announced, including in two new categories: International Award for Planning Excellence and Volunteer Planner of the Year.

Plymouth City Council’s ‘Plan for Homes’ aims to deliver 5,000 new homes over five years. The homes will be built on council owned land identified and released for development and the scheme will target institutional investors to attract funding to build the necessary infrastructure.

The council is working with the local community, local councillors and private companies to achieve its plan, which supports the council’s aim to be “one of Europe’s most vibrant waterfront cities where an outstanding quality of life is enjoyed by everyone”.

Roisin Wilmott, RTPI awards adviser, said Plymouth’s plan is an “innovative” solution to the city’s housing problems.

“It is a comprehensive city wide planning framework that considers a range of issues including land release, infrastructure and delivery. The very high quality of finalists this year made selecting the winners in each of the categories challenging but the high quality of this entry made it stand out.”

Phil Williams, RTPI president, added that the plan addresses the serious housing issues in the area, with half the amount it is looking to deliver designated as being affordable.

“The plan is an example of the major contribution planners are making to tackle the nation’s housing crisis.”

‘Plan for Homes’ also won the Excellence in Planning to Deliver Housing category, while Plymouth City Council won the Local Authority Planning Team of the Year award. 

The winner of the International Award for Planning Excellence is Tana River Delta Land Use Plan and Tana River Delta Strategic Environment Assessment, Kenya.

Wilmott said the development of the plan had to contend with ethnic clashes, a terrorist attack, drought and legal wrangling between developers and communities. Additionally, a national election saw a change of government who subsequently transferred planning functions from national government to county councils.

“These planners faced adversity to deliver a plan that provides a sustainable balance between industry, resources and wildlife and offers a model plan for other similar regions to adopt,” she explained.

“This outstanding entry strongly addressed all of the criteria and the judges were impressed by the entry’s ability to draw inspiration from other planning projects and tailor them to their unique situation. In doing this they have left a legacy for future planners in the area.”

AECOM and Savills were headline sponsors of the event.

The winners of the RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence are:


Excellence in Planning for Built Heritage

Winner: Nottingham Heritage Strategy

Submitted by: Locus Consulting

Commended: Pontypridd Lido Restoration

Submitted by: Rhondda Cynon Taf CBC

Excellence in Planning to Create Economically Successful Places

Winner: University of Southampton Boldrewood Innovation Campus 2005-2015

Submitted by: Luken Beck mdp Ltd on behalf of the University of Southampton and Lloyd's Register

Excellence in Planning for Community and Well-Being

Winner: Hadleigh Park Olympic Mountain Bike Legacy Project

Submitted by: Chris Blandford Associates

Excellence in Planning to Deliver Housing

Winner: Plan for Homes (Overall winner of the Silver Jubilee Cup)

Submitted by: Plymouth City Council

Excellence in Plan Making Practice

Winner: London Legacy Development Corporation Local Plan 2015-2031               

Submitted by: London Legacy Development Corporation

Commended: Planning Policy Division, Department of the Environment Northern Ireland

Submitted by: Planning Policy Division, Department of the Environment Northern Ireland

Excellence in Planning for the Natural Environment

Winner: Revealing the Roch

Submitted by: Rochdale Borough Council

International Award for Planning Excellence

Winner: Tana River Delta Land Use Plan and Tana River Delta Strategic Environmental Assessment (Kenya)     
Submitted by: Royal Society for Protection of Birds, Nature Kenya, Government of Kenya, Inter-Ministerial Committee on Sustainable Management of Deltas in Kenya, Governments of Tana County and Lamu, County and Planning Green Futures


Seychelles Strategic Land use and Development Plan (Seychelles)
Submitted by: Seychelles Planning Authority, Ove Arup and Partners, Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council
Semporna Marine Spatial Plan (Malaysia)     
Submitted by: Borneo Spatial Planning Consultancy
Post-disaster Reconstruction Plan of Caojia Village, Baoxing County (China)     
Submitted by: Shanghai Tongji Urban Planning and Design Institute

Employer Award for Excellence

Winner: Cornwall Council

Commended: Savills

Local Authority Planning Team of the Year

Winner: Plymouth City Council

Small Planning Consultancy of the Year

Winner: HTA Design

Planning Consultancy of the Year

Winner: Iceni Projects

Commended: Savills

Young Planner of the Year

Winner: Emma Lancaster

Commended: Adele Maher

Volunteer Planner of the Year

Winner: Joanne Harding         

Commended: Richard Hammersley