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Regional Awards

North East Regional Awards for Planning Excellence 2017

We are delighted to announce the following shortlist for this year's prestigious regional Awards for Planning Excellence.  It is only one of six projects, plans and policies competing for the North East's top Award.  Winner will be announced at this years Awards Dinner on Friday 6th October 2017.


2017 Shortlist

Freeman's Reach, Durham City, entered by FaulknerBrowns Architects. Freeman's Reach is an office-led mixed-use masterplan which provides a new base for Durham based staff of National Savings and Investments (NS&I) and Her Majesty's Passport Office (HMPO). The £30 million masterplan also includes a restaurant, areas of riverside public realm, and infrastructure - including a new hydro turbine which provides 75% of the development's energy requirements. Freemans Reach represents an extensive and complex private sector regeneration of a sensitive and vital area of Durham City Centre. 

North Morpeth Strategic Sewer, entered by Northumbrian Water Limited. The project was initiated by the unique opportunities that were present in the town of Morpeth, including the strong relationships that already existed between the organisations involved, the construction of the Morpeth Northern Bypass and the timing of development proposals in the local area. The project directly responds to the identification of Morpeth as a location for growth in the emerging Northumberland Core Strategy by facilitating the delivery of a sustainable foul drainage strategy for multiple sites. The local community were influential in the development of the project concept, which provides a range of benefits to the wider Morpeth community into the future as plans for development materialise into additional dwellings in the town.

North Tyneside Local Plan, entered by The Borough of North Tyneside. The North Tyneside Local Plan 2011 to 2032 is both a single and coherent strategy for North Tyneside and a collection of unique and ambitious proposals with a wide range of examples of innovation and partnership working to shape a sustainable future for the Borough. Prepared by the North Tyneside and Capita Partnership, this full Local Plan sets out a comprehensive framework of site allocations and strategic and development management policies that will shape development in North Tyneside to 2032. The completed Local Plan is the result of a comprehensive one Council approach integrating participation from service areas across the Authority and delivered through the partnership in place between North Tyneside Council and Capita North Tyneside. 

Seaham Habour Marina, Seaham, entered by Durham County Council.  The initial consultation that identified the need for water sports in Seaham was 2006 and watersports changing and storage facility received planning consent in October 2014.  The facility provides a watersports changing facility, showers, kayak store and office space. Working with the local community is a key element of the project and for the overall running of the facilities at Seaham Harbour Marina.  The Project Development Plan will oversee its implementation and ensure the effective delivery of all sports activities and initiatives.  A key element of the duties and responsibilities of the Watersports Development Officer is to manage and develop a progressive, linked programme of coaching within identified sports/activities for the identified target groups, in schools and community settings, and at the Seaham Harbour Marina. 

The Word, South Shields, entered by FaulknerBrowns Architects.  The Word's opening marked the end of phase one of the £100m South Shields 365 regeneration masterplan being delivered by South Tyneside Council and its partner, Muse Developments. This is an ambitious vision to reinvigorate South Shields town centre and reverse its recent economic decline. The Word forms the centrepiece of major regeneration plans for South Shields, a coastal resort which has suffered over many years from economic hardship due to the decline of local industries and a dwindling tourist trade. The move to use a public library as a catalyst for regeneration and community cohesion was a bold one. South Tyneside Council outlined a vision for a library which was not only a repository for books, but a place of cultural interest which would underpin the areas wider cultural offer, encouraging visitors from across the region and further afield, as well as the local community. The building's appearance is inspired by the fanning out of the pages of a book and the material selection celebrates the sites distinctive industrial heritage including salt and coal mining; glass making; and ship building. Three shades of terracotta panels respond to the rich stone hues of The Old Town Hall and St Hilda's Church creating a modern architectural expression which blends with its sensitive context. 

Walwick Hall Hotel, Humshaugh, entered by Doonan Architects Ltd. The project involved the conversion of Grade II Listed Building, Walwick Hall, from a private dwelling to a boutique country hotel. The site is located in Northumberland along Hadrian's Wall, it is sited within a World Heritage site, surrounded by a scheduled monument and neighbouring a National Park. , the hall which has been brought back to life, and functioning effectively as a public building and contributing to the visitor accommodation offer of the region, the pool which is a spectacular addition to the site and visitor experience feedback has been extremely high. This has been achieved through a very good design, construction drawings, consultation with the Local Authority, and the relationship between the parties involved. A proactive collaborative working ethos among all parties right from initial appointment/concept to completion has ensured the success of this project.


RTPI North East Planning for Excellence Awards celebrate outstanding planning practice in the Region. Learn more

What do the Awards do?

  • Celebrate outstanding projects that demonstrate the power of planning
  • Reflect the diversity of planning achievement, whether in urban or rural areas, large or small in scale involving new development, regeneration or conservation.
  • They come from the public, private and community sectors
  • They look beyond purely physical outcomes to recognise innovative plans, processes, techniques, informtion systems, programmes of community involvement and improvements to public services
  • All types of planning achievements are eligible for an award.

Who should enter?

  • Local Authority planning departments, regeneration partnerships, community groups, planning consultants, architects, landscape architects and developers.  
  • All types of planning work are eligible for an award, and entries can be submitted either by the organisation responsible for the work concerned, or by someone else.
  • It is FREE to enter for a regional award

How to enter

What happens next

  • Shortlisted entries will be announced on Friday 8th September and a Presidential visit of some of these entries will be carried out on 28/29th September with media coverage provided by the RTPI.
  • Award winners for the 2017 will be announced at the RTPI NE Annual Dinner on Friday 6th October, where plaques and certificates will be presented. 
  • Book your place here

As well as an overall winner, we also have Commended Award and a Chairs Award too.

Chairs logoChair's Special Award 2017 - Planning for the People -

This year's Chair's Award will acknowledge entrants who have put the end user at the centre of the development, not just in terms of meaningful public participation but using real forethought to how a development or policy will benefit the community and the end user's physical and mental well being for the life course of the development. 


If you are interested in sponsoring the event, contact 


Forthcoming events
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@RTPINorthEast : RT @JNye10: Check out my blog on issues surrounding housing an ageing population and how @LichfieldsUK can help 18/09/2017 - 07:07

@RTPINorthEast : North East members, time to have your say, vote now 18/09/2017 - 03:02

@RTPINorthEast : Still a few places available if you're quick for NE Construction Summit @ConExcellence on 20 Sept, great line up 15/09/2017 - 09:30

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