Maes yr Onn Farm Off Grid Living submitted by Caerphilly County Borough Council, won the prestigious 2013 Wales Planning Award. Dubbed the ‘Oscars’ of planning in Wales, the Awards are organised by RTPI Cymru, the organisation that represents professional planners in Wales. Sponsored by Arup, the purpose of the Wales Planning Award is to recognise, applaud and publicise examples of good planning practice in Wales.
Pictured: Maes yr Onn Farm
Chris Fray, chair of the judging panel, said: “Maes yr Onn Farm Off Grid Living is already being hailed as an exemplar of sustainable building excellence. A genuinely partnership-based project, it provides an innovative 'off grid' solution to living a greener lifestyle based on the concept of a traditional Welsh longhouse.”
The 2013 Award Panel was impressed with the range and quality of submissions received and the geographical spread.
The commended schemes were:
Denbigh’s Townscape Heritage Scheme won a commendation for its exemplary conservation led regeneration programme. It has provided grants for the repair and improvement of 41 buildings bringing about significant improvement and confidence to the town and is a prime example of conservation planning successfully creating quality in urban regeneration.
The imaginative regeneration in Blaenau Ffestiniog was commended for its celebration of the history and culture of slate quarrying, creating a distinct sense of place where the local community was closely involved. The imaginative use of contemporary artwork has revitalised the town centre raising aspirations and stimulating economic growth.
Snowdonia National Park’s Plas Hydro scheme was highly commended. This scheme consists of a 28 kW hydro-electric power scheme, comprising water abstraction from a mill pond, laying out a pipeline both underground and over ground through an environmentally sensitive area. This makes a major contribution to Plas Tan Y Bwlch’s energy needs, reduces the National Park Authority’s ‘carbon footprint’ by a staggering 22% and helps to secure it as an established Environmental Study Centre.
The Wales Food Centre at Bodnant in the Conwy Valley was also highly commended. The sensitively converted farm buildings comprising of the farm shop, restaurant, tea room and cookery school provide an outlet for local Welsh produce. It also makes a significant contribution to local employment in the rural area and is proving to be a major tourist and visitor destination.