Planning Awards 2020: top award goes to scheme that identified sites for 3,500 brownfield homes

A scheme that since 2018 has identified 48 previously developed sites in a small city with capacity for more than 3,500 homes has won the top prize at this year's Planning Awards, announced online in a virtual ceremony this afternoon.

The City Living Preston scheme, submitted by Preston City Council and Hive Land & Planning, was presented with the Editor's Award, which each year is given to the winning entry judged most outstanding of all.

City Living Preston is a programme for increasing housing delivery, intended to attract private investment that otherwise might not come forward on previously developed sites in the city centre.

The scheme has involved the production of a series of planning policy documents, and the implementation of measures to de-risk sites through various interventions.

The programme also aims to revitalise neighbourhoods currently characterised by vacant buildings and stalled sites, engaging small and medium sized housebuilders in the process by typically making small sites available.

"The experience of the pandemic may prompt some city dwellers across the country to consider moving out," said Planning's editor Richard Garlick. "But with the political difficulties of housebuilding on virgin land undiminished, finding suitable previously used sites will, as the planning white paper argues, remain critical to meeting housing need."

The judges praised the Preston project as an "exemplary" approach to identifying, unlocking and kick-starting brownfield housing sites.

The full list of winners and highly commended schemes in the categories announced today are:

Award for infrastructure planning

WINNER: Bakerloo Line Extension, submitted by the London boroughs of Lewisham and Southwark

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Energy planning for Wembley Park submitted by Quintain

Award for planning for the natural environment 

WINNER: Tree Preservation Order project review, submitted by the London Borough of Southwark

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Caithness-Moray HVDC electricity transmission link, submitted by SSEN Transmission

Award for planning for affordable housing

WINNER: Bedford Passage – Middlesex Hospital Annex, London W1 development, submitted by Temple Group and Llewelyn Davies 

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Sheerwater Canalside Regeneration, submitted by HTA Design LLP and ThamesWey Group

Award for planning for increased housing delivery and the Editor’s Award 

WINNER: City Living Preston, submitted by Preston City Council and Hive Land & Planning

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Energy planning for Wembley Park submitted by Quintain

Planning permission of the year

WINNER: Leven Road Gasworks, Poplar, London, submitted by St William

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Beam Park, submitted by Lucid Planning Ltd

Award for use of new technology in planning

WINNER: Garnett Wharfe, Leeds, submitted by Barratt Developments and David Wilson Homes Yorkshire West

HIGHLY COMMENDED: The Autarkic House, submitted by Rural Solutions

Award for fostering a diverse planning team

WINNER: HTA Design Planning Team, submitted by HTA Design

Award for stakeholder engagement in planning (development management)

WINNER: The People's Project, submitted by Influential on behalf of CBRE and Everton FC

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Civic Campus, Hammersmith, submitted by London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, A2 Dominion, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

Award for stakeholder engagement in planning (plan-making)

WINNER: “LCR Listens: Our Places” for the Liverpool City Region Spatial Development Strategy – Non-Statutory Engagement, submitted by Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Croydon Urban Room, submitted by Spatial Planning Service, London Borough of Croydon

Award for plan-making

WINNER: MK2050 Milton Keynes Strategic Growth Study, submitted by David Lock Associates/Milton Keynes Council

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Debenham Neighbourhood Plan, submitted by Debenham Parish Council

Local authority planning team of the year, partnered with POS

WINNER: London Borough of Redbridge

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Borough Council of Wellingborough

Planning law firm of the year

WINNER: Winckworth Sherwood

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Dentons and Mills & Reeve

Planning consultancy of the year

WINNER: Iceni Projects, London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow, submitted by Iceni Projects

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Inner Circle Consulting; LUC Planning Consultancy, submitted by LUC

The winners of the placemaking categories of the Planning Awards were announced yesterday.

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