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Planning for a better London

Media Release from London First – For Immediate Use

22 September 2009
New category in 2009/10 to celebrate re-use of historic places

What will follow High Speed One, Kings Cross Central and the Emirates Stadium, to win the Mayor’s overall Planning Excellence Award? Which projects will triumph in the individual categories? The London Planning Awards are officially open, with hopefuls having until 19th October 2009 to submit their entries. Building on the Awards’ record number of entries in 2008, the competition in 2009/10 has been developed to include the new category of ‘Best Historic Building Management’.

The London Planning Awards are run jointly by the Mayor, London First, the Royal Town Planning Institute, and London Councils. With the active involvement of the new Mayor and of London Councils, the 2008 awards saw the highest ever number of entries to the competition, from boroughs, developers, consultants, community groups, public agencies and partnerships across London.

Best Historic Building Management – this year’s new category, sponsored by English Heritage – is open to projects which have resulted in investment and the re-use of historic places in London. Characterisation projects, appraisals, design statements and management plans are all invited, with the judges looking for relevance to the planning system, rather than historic or architectural merit. Contenders will need to demonstrate how their project addresses the planning challenges in bringing new uses to underused or disused buildings, or how the environmental performance of the historic building(s) has been improved.

First established in 2002, the Awards were created to recognise excellence and showcase examples which trailblaze London’s urban renaissance; raise expectations and standards, promoting awareness of good practice; and to improve the profile of planning. Crucial to creating and maintaining the world class look and feel of London, the contribution of the planning profession is often overlooked. Despite turbulence in the economic climate, these aims remain as critical as ever to London’s future.

High Speed One – the London section of the channel tunnel rail link, including the outstanding modernisation of Grade 1 listed St Pancras station – won the 2008 Mayor’s Award for Planning Excellence. This is an award chosen personally by the Mayor each year from shortlisted entries across all categories. Other 2008 winners included More London (Best Built Project), Newham’s Grassroots Centre (Best Community Scale Project) and Aldgate Masterplan (Best Conceptual Project).

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:

“London’s planners never fail to impress with their ingenuity in creating great developments and places across our city, improving it all the time. My first awards, earlier this year, were no exception, with record entries submitted. To put it simply, my overriding aim is to continue to improve the quality of life for Londoners and visitors to our capital. Once again, I look forward to the challenging task of drawing up the short list, from what I hope will be another record breaking year for the London Planning Awards.”

Baroness Jo Valentine, Chief Executive of London First, said:

“One of London’s selling points is its blend of classic built heritage and new development. Getting our built infrastructure right is crucial to London’s future success. The awards seek to celebrate the often unsung but vital work of planners, in whom we put our trust to shape the city in which we all work and live. Let’s celebrate the people and organizations who continue to lead London’s urban renaissance. The new category, sponsored by English Heritage celebrates London’s historic built heritage, and projects which make the most effective use of it.”

Martin Willey, President of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) said: “The London Planning Awards demonstrate how planning delivers solutions, especially in a difficult economic climate. As it is the capitals’ awards, they take on an international significance.”

Councillor Merrick Cockell, Chairman of London Councils said:
“Boroughs play an essential role in shaping the design of their local areas and their contribution to planning in the capital was recognised at last year’s awards with a record number of entries. This is a chance for borough planners across the capital to showcase their innovative work, so we encourage even more teams to enter the awards this year.”

London Planning Awards categories in 2009:

Best Built Project sponsored by CB Richard Ellis

Best Built Project – Community scale scheme sponsored by Land Securities

Best Conceptual Project sponsored by Berwin Leighton Paisner

Best New Public Space sponsored by Lovells

Best New Place to Live

Best Built Project – 5 years on sponsored by GVA Grimley

Best Historic Building Management – NEW! sponsored by English Heritage

Mayor’s Planning Award
The Mayor will select the winner of his Award for planning excellence from the shortlisted entries

2009/10 winners will be announced at a ceremony at City Hall in early 2010.

Please click here to download the entry form.

Notes to Editors:

1. The London Planning Awards, now in their seventh year, are run jointly by the Mayor, London First, the RTPI and London Councils, although entry is open to non members of London First and the RTPI. Local authorities, consultants, community groups, developers, public agencies, partnerships and other teams are eligible to enter. Applicants may enter their own work or be nominated.
2. Visual materials including logos and pictures both of previous winners and the 2008 Awards ceremony at City Hall are available upon request. Please contact Kate Vandermeer at London First for more details.
3. London First is a business membership organisation whose mission is to make London the best city in the world in which to do business. London First undertakes this by mobilising the experience, expertise and enthusiasm of the private sector to develop practical solutions to the challenges facing London. London First also seeks to persuade central and London government to make the investments that London needs in its infrastructure
4. London First delivers its activities with the support of the capital’s major businesses in key sectors such as finance, professional services, property, ICT, creative industries, hospitality and retail. Membership also includes all of London’s universities as well as further education colleges and NHS hospital trusts. London First members represent over a quarter of London’s GDP.
5. London Councils is committed to fighting for more resources for London and getting the best possible deal for London’s 33 councils. We develop policy, lobby government and others, and run a range of services designed to make life better for Londoners.

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