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Temples and tunnels among winners of top planning awards

A community developed Hindu Temple and a plan to turn London’s disused tunnels into pedestrian and cycle links were among the winners at the capital’s top planning awards.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson announced the winners of the London Planning Awards at City Hall, calling their boldness and creativity “integral to London’s success” as the capital grows by 100,000 people a year.

Pictures of all the winning projects can be downloaded from here.

Mr Johnson gave his own Mayor’s Award for Planning Excellence to the Swan Housing Association for its development of Bow Cross in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

Originally a deprived estate, isolated from the surrounding community with high-crime levels and poor quality environment, the Bow Cross project was praised as having transformed the area into a traditional street-based neighbourhood where people want to live.

The London Planning Awards celebrate the outstanding contribution of planners to the capital’s urban regeneration. They are organised by London First, in conjunction with the Mayor of London, the Royal Town Planning Institute and London Councils.

The winners on the night were as follows (full details of the projects and their commendations are below):

  • The Mayor’s Award for Planning Excellence: Bow Cross, by the Swan Housing Association
  • Best New Place to Work: Pill Box, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Refurbished by Workspace Group
  • Best Community Lead Project: Shree Swaminarayan Mandir temple, in the London Borough of Brent. LTS Architects (UK), Engineers HRW, Max Fordham, Shree Hari Construction, LDA Design, Sutton Vane, Michael Grubb, Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gad
  • Best Conceptual Project: The London Underline, developed by Gensler in collaboration with PaveGen Systems and Momentum
  • Best New Place to LiveVivo & So Stepney, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Designed by Levitt Bernstein, for the East Thames Group and Bellway Homes
  • Best New public Space: Clapham Old Town Regeneration Project. Designed by Urban Movement for the London Borough of Lambeth.
  • Best Project Five Years On: Bow Cross, by the Swan Housing Association
  • Best Heritage-led Project: Tottenham Town Hall and Isobel Place in the London Borough of Haringey, by Newlon Housing Trust
  • Best Town Centre Project: Stockwell Street at the University of Greenwich.  Designed by Heneghan Peng Architects for Deloitte Real Estate and the University of Greenwich
  • London Planning and Development Person of the Year: John Turner, Town Planning Director, Ballymore Group 

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “Now that London is home to more people than ever before, bold and innovative planning has taken on an even more crucial role. As our city continues to grow, the cranes are swinging into action on schemes both big and small and the variety of projects showcased through the London Planning Awards gives me great confidence that the capital has the vision and talent to be able to embrace our incredible population growth and remain the best big city on the world.”

Baroness Jo Valentine, CEO, London First, said: “These awards show what can be achieved when the public and private sectors work together. We now have a great opportunity to focus this teamwork on London’s Opportunity Areas and Intensification Areas. The Mayor has earmarked these sites for large scale development and they could deliver 300,000 homes and almost 600,000 jobs. Such developments will help sustain London’s rapid growth and the planning sector will be crucial to unlocking their potential.”

Cllr Claire Kober, London Councils’ executive member for infrastructure and regeneration, said: “The London Planning Awards show how much outstanding work is happening to make our great city and its neighbourhoods even greater in the future. Councils, working in partnership with developers, public bodies and others, are uniquely placed to ensure that through new schemes, the maximum economic, social and environment value is unlocked and the right balance between these is achieved. On behalf of London Councils, I’d like to offer my congratulations to the winners and all those who were shortlisted.”

Janet Askew, President, RTPI, said:  “The awards highlight truly exceptional examples of planning and celebrate the contribution that planners are making across London. With an extraordinarily strong shortlist it has been very difficult to pick individual winners when the impact of projects has been so high. I think we have selected some remarkable examples of great planning that are making a real difference in communities.”

 

The Winners and their commendations:

The Mayor’s Award for Planning Excellence: Bow Cross, by the Swan Housing Association

Originally a deprived estate, isolated from the surrounding community with high crime levels and poor quality environment, Bow Cross has been transformed into a traditional street-based neighbourhood where people want to live. The success of the project is made evident by the large number of residents choosing to stay or return to the area, a doubling of tenant applications, and the success of private sales.

Best New Place to Work: Pill Box, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Refurbished by Workspace Group.

The historical industrial 65,000 square feet warehouse was converted to accommodate 90 new and growing businesses employing over 450 people in total. With generous cycling facilities and located only a few minutes walk from Bethnal Green Station it also provides an award winning café and restaurant, events space, flexible workspace, meeting rooms and a gym all carefully designed to encourage collaboration and interaction between tenants to help their businesses grow.

Best Community Lead Project: Shree Swaminarayan Mandir temple, in the London Borough of Brent. LTS Architects (UK), Engineers HRW, Max Fordham, Shree Hari Construction, LDA Design, Sutton Vane, Michael Grubb, Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi.

This project was the manifestation of a vision the local Swaminarayan community have nurtured for 25 years.  The temple was funded and built by the local community, and whilst specific to the local Hindu population, the complex also serves the wider community. The multi-function hall is a bookable resource for local schools and residents, and approximately one third of the site provides subsidised work space for local businesses. The opening of the temple was marked by a parade attended by 2000 local people.

Best Conceptual Project: The London Underline, developed by Gensler in collaboration with PaveGen Systems and Momentum.  

The project proposes the innovative re-use of disused tube tunnels as pedestrian walkways.  In particular, Gensler identified the tunnels between Green Park and Charing Cross Road and between Holborn and Aldwych linking strategic pedestrian destinations and significantly alleviating the pressure on footway and public transport between them.  These underground spaces would be activated by stalls and other commercial and cultural uses helping pay for the project, as well as making them safe and attractive.  Power for the network would be generated by kinetic paving systems – making the whole project self-sustaining.

Best New Place to LiveVivo & So Stepney, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Designed by Levitt Bernstein, for the East Thames Group and Bellway Homes.

The scheme transforms the previously poor quality 2.98 Hector site into a traditional permeable and legible street based development, providing 704 good quality flats and private communal spaces.  50% of the homes are affordable and all are larger than the London Plan space standards.  The site is located within walking distance of the local town centre providing access to schools, shops and other social infrastructure.

Best New public Space: Clapham Old Town Regeneration Project. Designed by Urban Movement for the London Borough of Lambeth.

The project involved the remodelling of the 1960’s gyratory to drastically increase the ratio of footway to carriageway achieving an increase of 35% to 65% in pedestrian space, significantly improving the overall quality of the environment.  Street furniture was rationalised maximising space for pedestrians and minimising visual clutter, crossings were located on key desire lines, and 60 new cycle stands and 102 trees were planted. All this was achieved whilst increasing pedestrian space, reducing traffic speeds and ensuring the funding streams for its long-term management were secured.

Best Project 5 Years On: Bow Cross, by the Swan Housing Association

Originally a deprived estate, isolated from the surrounding community with high crime levels and poor quality environment, Bow Cross has been transformed into a traditional street-based neighbourhood where people want to live. The success of the project is made evident by the large number of residents choosing to stay or return to the area, a doubling of tenant applications, and the success of private sales.

Best Heritage-led Project: Tottenham Town Hall in the London Borough of Haringey, by Newlon Housing Trust.

The Trust restored the Grade II Listed Edwardian Town Hall into a sustainably managed local community business centre with affordable housing to the rear around a courtyard. The scheme managed to turn the previously inaccessible Town Hall into a fully DDA compliant building. A close working relationship with English Heritage meant a thorough restoration took place including replacing tiny terrazzo mosaic tiles in the floor of the Town Hall and recreating the original clock tower on the roof of the previously derelict workshops. Demand from small, start-up businesses is strong and all residential properties are fully let.

Best Town Centre Project: Stockwell Street, Greenwich.  Designed by Heneghan Peng Architects for Deloitte Real Estate and the University of Greenwich.

The project exemplifies the type of diversification town centres and high streets need to strive for to secure their future.  Whilst designed and run by the University, the Stockwell Street building brings a large library, exhibition and educational space and other cultural activities to the heart of town centre. Open to the public, the development has created a significant increase in footfall and vitality to the high street, helping local businesses and creating a truly mixed use town centre.

London Planning and Development Person of the Year: John Turner, Town Planning Director, Ballymore Group

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