RTPI President Phil Williams visited a series of outstanding planning projects during his jam packed visit to members in the North East of England.
In Middlesbrough, Phil visited the STEM Centre and The Curve, part of the regeneration of Tees University and the Docks Area.
The STEM Centre (pictured right) brings together education, training and local businesses in one building. It is helping to place the North East at the forefront of training and learning in the oil, gas, manufacturing and engineering trades. The Curve is a state of the art, environmentally friendly building at the heart of the Teesside University Campus Heart Development. The £22m project signifies the commitment to the Teesside 2020 vision to be an international university with a reputation for academic excellence.
While walking between the two Phil took in the regeneration of the area and discussed the challenges and opportunities with planners from Middlesbrough Council.
“Planners from Middlesbrough Council have been involved with these two projects from the outset. It was clear during my visit they have improved the built environment in a way that contributes to the vitality and viability of the area, with innovative use of technology.”
Wynyard Gardens and Visitor Centre (pictured below) is part of a wider £5.3m redevelopment of a Grade II listed historic stately home and hotel, it includes a new visitor centre, farm shop, £1.6m walled rose garden, and one of the North East’s biggest glasshouses constructed on the site of an original 1840s greenhouse.
“Having seen this project, it’s no surprise to me that the judges crowned it the overall winner at RTPI North East’s Awards for Planning Excellence. Planners successfully brought together strong design, historic preservation and regeneration.”
Phil visited the Roker/Seaburn regeneration plan which is stimulating growth and attracting investment to the area.
“Planners involved with the regeneration plan are helping to attract private investment into the area, particularly around the Ocean Park site. This is an example of the public sector led investment that spurs on private development I called for at the launch of the Institute’s most recent policy report.”
Planners at Newcastle City Council showed Phil (pictured left) how their plan to regenerate East Pilgrim Street by filling empty shops and revive the former Odeon cinema would boost activity and retail growth in a currently neglected area.
“Planners are playing an important role in the regeneration of historic buildings in this area which will allow them to be brought back into use for commercial or retail developments.
In the afternoon he travelled to the Delhi Surface Mine which has been restored by the public and private sector working in partnership (pictured below). He finished his visit at Northumberlandia, a one of a kind restoration project for the Shotton Surface Mine undertaken by the Banks Group. The landform sculpture, follows the human form and is 30 metres high and nearly half a kilometre long, tracing the contours of the distant Cheviots. The view from the top allowed Phil to see the region in all its pride and glory.
Phil will be in Quito, Ecuador for Habitat III from 17-20 October. He is representing the planning profession on the world stage and championing the role planners play in helping to solve common global problems like housing, infrastructure investment and growth.
Read how the tour unfolded on Twitter: #RTPINEtour
View: Photos of the tour
Read: RTPI North East: restored stately home and gardens in Wynyard wins top award
Read: President celebrates planners’ achievements in the South East of England
Read: RTPI report stresses value of planners in times of uncertainty