St Cuthbert’s wins regional planning award

Work to support the engagement and delivery of St Cuthbert’s Garden Village, Carlisle has been announced as the winner of a regional planning award.

St Cuthbert’s Garden Village’s online consultation exercise – including an interactive 360 online exhibition – was entered by Carlisle City Council for the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) North West Awards for Planning Excellence.  

The initial judging saw the engagement work being shortlisted and the team were called for an interview with the judging panel. This led to it being put through to the finals of the competition – hosted at the RTPI North West annual dinner in Manchester last Saturday (25 June). Jane Meek, Carlisle City Council’s Corporate Director of Economic Development received the award on behalf of the council.

St Cuthbert’s was nominated in two categories and was announced as the overall winner of the Excellence in Tech within Planning Practice category. It will now be put forward to the national awards, to be held later this year.

Carlisle City Cllr Marilyn Bowman, Portfolio holder for Economy, Enterprise and Housing, said:

“I’m delighted that the team’s work has been recognised at a regional level. It is very much a team-effort, with colleagues from across the authority working together to support the delivery of this exciting and transformational project. I’d like to pass on my congratulations to all those involved in driving forward this exciting project for Carlisle.”

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) North West Awards for Planning Excellence celebrate outstanding planners, plans and projects that demonstrate the power of planning in our regions.

A spokesperson from the RTPI said:

“Carlisle City Council is preparing a Local Plan for St Cuthbert’s, and a Strategic Design SPD has recently been adopted to support it. Progressing such a significant proposal to timescale is important to maintaining community engagement and confidence. The introduction of lockdowns and other Covid restrictions prospectively threatened momentum on both the Local Plan and the SPD, as it made engagement and consultation with the public and other interested parties so much more difficult.

Rather than suspending Plan production as some others did during 2020 into 2021, the City Council decided to maintain progress, which meant investigating the potential to create a virtual public consultation exhibition and promotional video so that the whole process could be undertaken on-line.

“The City Council turned to its small in-house communications team to look at the potential for them to assist. It transpired that one of the team had experience of developing video games and this skill set proved key to be key to the team being able to undertake the task.

“The judges were impressed with Carlisle’s determination to find in-house solutions so that Plan and SPD progress could be maintained, and to the way in which to a tight timetable the team stepped up and developed an interesting and usable virtual exhibition and video that successfully engaged the local community in the plan making process on-line. The outcome is that progress on the Local Plan is maintained, and the SPD was able to move towards adoption. A worthy winner of this category.”

St Cuthbert’s Garden Village is one of the largest projects of its kind nationally and the largest in the north of England. The scale and location of St Cuthbert’s Garden Village (SCGV) provides a genuine opportunity to make a difference – in a well-planned and coherent way. Find out more at www.stcuthbertsgv.co.uk

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