The Planning Awards 2019 are now open for entries. 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, previous entrants say.
The Planning Awards 2019, run by Planning and Placemaking Resource, will reward excellence in professional planning work and related activities, such as placemaking, urban design, economic development, housing and regeneration. Spanning 25 categories, the competition will recognise outstanding planning work by councils, consultants, developers, lawyers, voluntary groups and other key players in the UK planning system.
Participants have until 24 January to submit their entries, with entries received by 20 December benefitting from a discounted fee of £165 plus VAT. Charitable organisations can enter at half-price rates. All entries must relate to work either carried out or completed since 1 October 2017. 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 or other, category-specific, criteria.
The awards will be presented at a prestigious central London ceremony and publicised in a special report in Planning and on PlanningResource.
In 2016, Wokingham Borough Council won a Planning Award for making development viable for its town centre regeneration project. Interviewed afterwards, then regeneration planning manager Sarah Morgan said: "It was great for team morale to be recognised by the profession. It helped improve our reputation both within and outside of the council, including generating very positive coverage in the media."
The London Borough of Hounslow won the 2016 award for local authority team of the year. Marilyn Smith, now the borough’s chief planning officer, said subsequently that winning an award "provides a good morale boost for staff". She adds: "Winning shows us as a forward looking proactive place to work, which helps us when recruiting."
Riette Oosthuizen, a partner at consultancy HTA Design, which won planning consultancy of the year in 2017, also describes the benefits of compiling an entry to the awards: "As the planning team work with both the design teams within the office and with other external design practices, this is a great way of learning from each other. Pulling our work together for entering the awards is a beneficial exercise as it pulls together the wide efforts from all members of the team."
Roy Pinnock, partner at law firm Dentons, which won the 2016 planning law firm of the year category, told Planning that the company had used the award to further promote itself in the industry, through a combination of PR, tender submissions and use in presentations and emails. Other entrants have said that even drawing together an entry can be beneficial in itself. Pinnock said: "The awards provide a chance to take stock of the practice, ask where it excels and benchmark it against our peers."
Berkeley Homes’ Woodberry Down scheme won two awards in 2017, for planning for housing growth and for best housing scheme of 500 homes or more. Afterwards, Rachael Scott, the firm’s marketing and communications manager, said: "Winning the awards has provided us with great marketing material which we’ve used in our promotion online. The wins have also boosted morale and had a positive effect on the team involved on the project, who were reminded of all of their great work."
Wokingham Borough Council’s Morgan said: "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."
The categories are:
- Award for plan-making
- Award for neighbourhood planning
- Award for infrastructure planning
- Award for planning for increased housing delivery
- Award for planning for affordable housing
- Award for planning for the natural environment
- Award for use of new technology in planning
- Planning law firm of the year
- Planning consultancy of the Year
- Local authority planning team of the year
- Planning permission of the year
- Award for stakeholder engagement in planning
- Award for design excellence
- Award for best housing scheme (fewer than 500 homes)
- Award for best housing scheme (500 homes or more)
- Award for promoting economic growth
- Award for best use of arts, culture or sport in placemaking
- Award for best use of heritage in placemaking
- Award for partnership working
- Award for regeneration
- Award for mixed use development
- Award for community-led placemaking
- Best use of publicly-owned land and/or property in placemaking
- Best use of brownfield land in placemaking
The deadline for entries is 24 January. Entry costs £165 plus VAT if received by 20 December, £245 thereafter.
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