Planning Awards Countdown: Planning Permission of the Year, sponsored by Border Archaeology

With the Planning Awards only four weeks away, we take a closer look at one of the shortlisted entries in the planning permission of the year category.

A visualisation of phase two of the MediaCityUK scheme, Salford
A visualisation of phase two of the MediaCityUK scheme, Salford

MediaCityUK, Manchester, NJL Consulting

MediaCityUK is home to the BBC, ITV, Salford University, and more than 250 small- and medium-sized businesses. In September 2016, NJL Consulting secured planning permission on behalf of developer Peel Media for a second phase of the project, paving the way for a residential community to be established at the site.

The plans span 11 separate development plots and comprise 1,971 apartments, 50,000 square metres of offices, 5,000 square metres of retail and leisure floorspace, and 4,250 square metres of combined living and working accommodation. The application stressed the opportunity to build on the economic growth kickstarted by the project’s first phase and to address a lack of affordable housing in Salford, an issue identified by government-backed digital initiative TechNorth as a barrier to inward investment and retention of talent.

NJL Consulting was appointed to formulate and implement the planning strategy, which involved submitting multiple applications for the scheme’s 11 development plots. A planning performance agreement was reached with Salford Council, setting out the pre-application and post-submission programme and agreeing a process for stakeholder engagement. Under the agreement, applications were submitted within one year of NJL being appointed to the project and a decision secured from the council within a further three months.

Shelagh McNerney, head of development at Salford City Council, described the process as "a model of positive cooperation between NJL and Salford Council". She said: "The approach to the case, its complexity, and resulting positive decision should be held up as a national exemplar of how planning can be done in a genuine partnership approach."

Other shortlisted entries:

Consultancy Hunter Page Planning won the support of the secretary of state to secure outline permission for Perrybrook - 1,500 homes, employment land, a school, and community facilities in the Gloucestershire Green Belt.

Consultancy Terence O'Rourke worked with architects Pollard Thomas Edwards to secure permission for Wing, a 1,300-home urban village to the north east of Cambridge, on behalf of Marshall Group.

Law firm Herbert Smith Freehills advised GLA Land and Property and The Silvertown Partnership on their successful application for the 25-hectare redevelopment of East London’s Silvertown Quays.

The Planning Awards, London, 21 June 6.30-9.30pm: why attend?

This year, the Planning Awards, incorporating place-making categories, will be presented at a ceremony at Savoy Place in the heart of London on Wednesday 21 June. The event will bring together a mix of leading public and private sector built environment professionals, offering networking and learning opportunities throughout the evening. It will showcase the projects, plans and people behind the most outstanding planning and place-making work across the UK.

Details of how to obtain tickets can be found here.

Details of the full Planning Awards shortlist can be found here.

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