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Ageing Welsh factory transformed into global centre for excellence wins national planning award

30 November 2015

Meriter Factory Wales Planning Awards 2015

An ageing factory in Cwmbran, South East Wales, transformed into a world wide centre of excellence for vehicle breaking systems, has won the 2015 RTPI Cymru Wales Planning Award.

Council planners working closely with the local workforce used the planning system to trigger regeneration of the factory site which has safeguarded 1170 jobs, cleaned up contaminated land and improved the pedestrian links to the town centre and train station. 

As a result of the planners’ intervention the factory owners decided to re-invest in manufacturing on the site as their principal research and development centre. The company, recognised by the Welsh Government as an important anchor company, has since had strong orders for its products manufactured at the site.

Roisin Willmott, Director of RTPI Cymru, said:

“The regeneration of the Meritor factory site is an exceptional example of the positive impact planning can have on a community. Planners agreed an innovative and ground breaking Section 106 agreement with £7.5million bond to ensure the site was decontaminated but allowed the bond to be returned if the funding was used to re-invest in new automated production and R&D facilities. This agreement could be a model for other similar sites.”

Judges’ comments:

“This project is an excellent example of proactive problem solving work by planners to tackle a difficult and challenging situation by engaging with site management and applicants to achieve a workable solution.”

The RTPI Cymru Wales Planning Awards are awarded every year to recognise planning excellence. They have been awarded every year since 2004 and in 2015 were kindly sponsored by Arup. The other finalists recognised were:

Highly commended:

  • Holyhead Townscape Transformation submitted by the Isle of Anglesey County Council
  • The Pump House, Barry submitted by White Young Green (Cardiff office), The Vale of Glamorgan Council and DS properties

Commended:

  • Coppet Hall development, Pembrokeshire submitted by Acanthus Holden
  • Plas Penddeuglawdd, Rhyl submitted by Denbighshire County Council

Excellence in Planning related survey and analysis:

  • Tree Cover in Wales’ Towns and Cities submitted by Natural Resources Wales

Read the story in The Planner