Two transformative infrastructure projects in the North East of England have been crowed joint winners at this year's Royal Town Planning Institute North East Regional Awards.
The £100m South Shields library known as 'The Word' is the first stage in the council's plans to transform the once declining coastal town at the mouth of the River Tyne. It is the centrepiece of major regeneration plans for South Shields which South Tyneside Council is hoping to attract additional investment as well as new visitors to the town. The council is also using it as a way to engage with the local community, especially hard to reach groups such as young people.
It was a joint winner with a sustainable sewage system for the market town Morpeth. The new system will not only effectively deal with waste but unlock land for new housing. The sewer, developed following proactive engagement with the local community by Northumbrian Water, responds to the identification of Morpeth as a location for growth.
Commenting on the two winning projects, Vikki Van Sylvan, RTPI North East Chair, said:
"The North Morpeth Strategic Sewer highlights what can be achieved through real collaborative planning, the public and private sector coming together to provide a significant piece of infrastructure to facilitate housing development in an identified growth area of Northumberland. Whilst it's not sexy, it is a model of best practice for infrastructure delivery nationwide.
"The Word is the centre piece of South Shields 365 regeneration scheme. It is refreshing to see such an innovative educational and cultural venture to kick start the regeneration and revitalisation of a declining town centre. I'm sure this development will be a valued community asset for years to come."
Full list of winning and commended finalists:
2017 Award Winner
The Word, South Shields
2017 Award Winner
North Morpeth Strategic Sewer
2017 Chair's Award
Seaham Harbour Marina Watersports Centre
Durham County Council
The RTPI North East Awards for Planning Excellence celebrate outstanding projects that demonstrate the power of planning. Entries reflect the diversity of planning achievement, whether in urban or rural areas, large or small in scale, involving new development, regeneration or conservation. Entries come from the public, private and community sectors.
The winners were announced at RTPI North East's Awards Dinner in Newcastle on 6 October.