Participants in this year's Planning Awards are now being given a further two weeks to submit their entries. The final deadline for entries has been extended to Thursday February 2 from the original date of Thursday January 19, although entrants wanting to take advantage of cheaper early entry rates still need to submit their entries by Thursday January 19.
Previous winners attest that winning an award has been beneficial to perceptions of their team, provided a morale boost for staff and has helped with the process of recruiting new team members. Even drawing together an entry was beneficial in itself, they say.
The Planning Awards 2017, run by Planning and PlacemakingResource, will reward excellence in professional planning work and related activities, such as placemaking, urban design, economic development, housing and regeneration. Spanning 24 categories, the competition will recognise outstanding planning work by councils, consultants, developers, lawyers, voluntary groups and other key players in the UK planning system.
All entries must relate to work either carried out or completed since 1 October 2015. In evaluating all submissions, an expert judging panel will be looking for evidence that entries have improved or are likely to improve the physical or environmental quality of a place or the economic or social well-being of a community as well as other, category-specific, criteria.
The 2017 awards, which incorporate the Placemaking Awards, include a new category, which will reward outstanding masterplanning work (see panel).
Sarah Morgan, regeneration planning manager at Wokingham Borough Council, which in June won last year's award for making development viable for its town centre regeneration project, says: "It was great for team morale to be recognised by the profession and helped improve our reputation both within and outside of the council, including generating very positive coverage in the media."
Marilyn Smith, head of development management at the London Borough of Hounslow, which won last year's award for local authority team of the year, also says that winning an award "provides a good morale boost for staff". She adds: "For a local authority team, it raises your profile in the organisation. Winning also shows us as a forward looking pro-active place to work, which helps us when recruiting."
Roy Pinnock, partner at law firm Dentons, which won last year's planning law firm of the year category, says that Dentons has used the award to further promote itself in the industry, through a combination of PR, tender submissions, use in presentations and emails.
Previous entrants say that even drawing together an entry can be beneficial in itself. Pinnock says: "The awards provide a chance to take stock of the practice, ask where it excels and benchmark it against our peers."
Wokingham Borough Council's Morgan adds: "Pulling together our entry gave us the opportunity to reflect on the all the hard work that the team had undertaken bringing the regeneration project to Wokingham town centre."
Attending the ceremony also provides opportunities to make contact with others in the sector, says Tim Metcalfe, communications manager at architects Pollard Thomas Edwards, which won the Placemaking Award for design excellence. He says: "It's a great opportunity to network with industry peers and planning teams at the boroughs we are working in."
Entrants sending through submissons by the original entry date of Thursday January 19 will be subject to a fee of £130 plus VAT for the first entry submitted. A fee of £105 plus VAT is payable for all subsequent entries. Any entry received after the 19 January deadline will be subject to an additional late fee of £50.
2016 WINNERS REFLECT
SARAH CLARK, partner, government and infrastructure, Bircham Dyson Bell:
"Winning the award provided us - and our client - with valuable and independent recognition for our specialist planning for energy infrastructure team."
ROY PINNOCK, partner, Dentons:
"The awards provide a chance to take stock of the practice, ask where it excels and benchmark it against our peers."
TIM METCALFE, communications manager, Pollard Thomas Edwards:
"It's a great opportunity to network with industry peers and planning teams at the boroughs we are working in."
MARILYN SMITH, head of development management, London Borough of Hounslow:
"The awards provide a good morale boost for the staff. For a local authority team, it raises your profile in the organisation."
Sarah Morgan, regeneration planning manager, Wokingham Borough Council:
"It was great for team morale to be recognised by the industry and helped improve our reputation both within and outside of the council, including generating very positive coverage in the media."
For more information on the awards and to book your place, click here.