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Plan for Farmland scoops UK's top planning prize

04 February 2011

A visionary master plan which will transform arable farmland into a nationally important site linking two nature reserves has been awarded the Silver Jubilee Cup - the UK's top planning prize.

At the RTPI 2010 Planning Awards, held in association with Planning Magazine, the Rt Hon Caroline Flint MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, presented the cup to The Great Fen Partnership and LDA Design.

Malcolm Sharp, Director of Environmental and Community Services at Huntingdonshire District Council, who accepted the cup on behalf of the six organisations involved in the partnership, said:

"To be honoured in this way is a fantastic reward for all those involved as this really was a partnership in the truest sense of the word. The realisation of this plan will see green infrastructure plugged into the planning process and the public benefiting from large scale landscape creation for decades to come."

A ceremony celebrating the best planning projects from across the UK and Ireland was held at the London Hilton, Park Lane, on Thursday 3rd February.

Projects picked up awards and commendations in 11 categories. Details of all winners and commended entries are found below.

The Great Fen, which is in Huntingdonshire, was chosen from the 11 category winners as the most outstanding planning project of the past 12 months.

When complete the multi-agency project will also see a wetland area created which will link two national nature reserves and provide for wildlife and wetland conservation and incorporate a major new area for floodwater retention.

The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund with a grant of £7.2 million which helped fund the acquisition and restoration of Great Fen.

RTPI President, Richard Summers, said: "The Great Fen project shows how planners have helped provide sustainable green infrastructure on an ambitious scale by responding to the RTPI's Commitments on Planning to Live with Climate Change.

"The shift from intensive mechanised agriculture to a multi-purpose landscape for farming, conservation and recreation, which is already underway, will achieve important social, economic and environmental benefits." 

Professor Chris Couch, chair of judges, said: \"The Great Fen will contribute to a real diversification of the rural economy creating a resilient fenland landscape that delivers major wildlife benefits. Greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced and the carbon footprint of travel, buildings and activities will be minimised.

"It is this sort of multi-agency partnership working, commitment to sustainable development and integration of scientific theory in planning that provides an excellent model for future rural planning and environmental protection elsewhere.\"

Other winners:



  • Sustainable Communities: Regeneration in Regent's Place and Public Spaces at Regents Place – The British Land Company
  • Heritage: The Regent Street Vision - The Crown Estate
  • E-Government: Working with the public through IT - City of London Planning & Transportation Department
  • City and Metropolitan Areas: The Westminster Noise Strategy - Westminster City Council
  • Public Realm: EC1 Public Spaces: Building a Lasting Legacy - Islington Council.


  • Sustainable Communities: Bermondsey Spa Regeneration - Levitt Bernstein Associates.\"
  • City and Metropolitan Areas: Decentralised Energy Masterplanning – Arup
  • Spatial Strategies: Aylesbury Area Action Plan, 2010 - London Borough of Southwark.

North East

  • Local Regeneration and Renewal: Bensham and Saltwell Block Improvement - Gateshead Council.

South East


  • Equality and Diversity: Bradbury Court, East Clayton Farm - Lee Evans Partnership LLP.

South West


  • Planning Process: Hinckley Point Planning Performance Agreement - Somerset County Council
  • Local Regeneration and Renewal: Kingston Mills, Bradford-on-Avon - Nash Partnership.


  • Local Regeneration and Renewal: Boscombe Spa Village Regeneration Scheme - Bournemouth Borough Council
  • Spatial Strategies: Clay Country Vision - Terence O'Rourke in association with Orascom Development, Imrys Minerals Ltd, the Eden Project and Cornwall Council.

West Midlands


  • Spatial Strategies: The Advantage West Midlands Landfill Diversion Strategy - Advantage West Midlands.


  • Heritage: Blist's Hill, Ironbridge - Nash Partnership.



  • Planning Process: Whitelee Windfarm, Eaglesham Moor, Glasgow - Scottish Power Renewables.



  • Rural Areas and the Natural Environment: Welsh seascapes and their sensitivity to offshore developments - White Consultants.

East Midlands


  • Sustainable Communities: Corby Regeneration Framework - AECOM Design + Planning.

East of England


  • Rural Areas and the Natural Environment: The Great Fen, Huntingdonshire - Great Fen Project Partners and LDA Design.

Non-area specific


  • Award for Contribution to Planning: The Planning and Climate Change Coalition - TCPA and Friends of the Earth.


  • Planning Process: Shaping Neighbourhoods – for local health and global sustainability - University of the West of England.