This website uses cookies so that we can provide you with the best possible experience. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with this. You can find out more about how we use cookies here. If you would like to know more about cookies, or how you can delete them, click here.

Ten-year transformation of Scottish village wins top UK planning award

25 May 2018

RTPI Awards 2018 02

A 10-year plan to regenerate a declining fishing village in Scotland has won the top prize at a prestigious national awards ceremony last night.

The plan for Stromness – which included extensive community input – was awarded the Silver Jubilee Cup, at the Royal Town Planning Institute’s Awards for Planning Excellence 2018 held in London last night. It also won in the Excellence in Planning for a Successful Economy category.

The Awards for Planning Excellence are the most established and respected awards in the UK planning industry.

Planners lead whole-of-council task force

Planners at Orkney Islands Council led a whole-of-council task force to implement the 10-year plan that has transformed the declining town following the community warning Stromness was being ‘left behind’.

Over the past 10 years, the plan has resulted in 12 major projects implemented across the town, including new and upgraded public spaces, new shops and businesses and a new primary school.

The library was not only rebuilt and moved to a new site – in the centre of the town, at the community’s request - to ensure it was accessible to everyone.

A new fishing pier was built with European funding, and new business and industrial spaces were allocated near the pier. 

The council have also begun work for a new international research facility and infrastructure for tidal and wave energy generation.

Strong community involvement

All this were the result of council planners working closely with the community and involving them from the very start, using a ‘blank page approach’ to establish the community’s key priorities.

A draft plan was drawn up, which was then shaped by community events, meetings and surveys, plus well attended community workshops.

Craig McLaren FRTPI, RTPI Awards Advisor, said:

“Stromness has been regenerated over the past 10 years through a comprehensive, plan-led strategy.  It was spearheaded by the council’s planners who were key to its success through establishing a vision for the town and ensuring commitment from other players to help deliver it. The before and after photographs show just how dramatic the transformation has been. This remarkable ‘place-based’ approach could be used as a blueprint to revive declining towns across the country.”

John Acres MRTPI, RTPI President said:

“Congratulations to all the winners and commended entries. This year’s awards have been a true celebration of planners’ passion for creating prosperous places and vibrant communities. Planners and planning make an important contribution to society and these awards highlight outstanding examples of what can be achieved with vision, leadership and expertise.”

This remarkable ‘place-based’ approach could be used as a blueprint to revive declining towns across the country.

Running for over 40 years, the RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence celebrate exceptional examples of planning and the contribution planners make to society. This year saw a nearly record number of entrants and the judges shortlisted 78 finalists across 13 categories.

Andrew Jones MRTPI, Practice Leader Design, Planning + Economics at AECOM said:

“AECOM is proud to be a headline sponsor once again of the RTPI’s Awards for Planning Excellence. Those recognised tonight illustrate the best of the planning profession and demonstrate the impact we have on quality and delivery in every area of the built environment.  On behalf of AECOM I would like to extend our congratulations to all of the commendations and winners.”

David Jackson MRTPI, Head of Planning, Savills said:

“Savills is delighted to be a headline sponsor of the RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence. The winners this year reflect the positive impact planning has on our communities across the UK, Ireland and internationally through projects, plans and people. I’d like to congratulate all of those short-listed for awards and the category winners on behalf of the team at Savills.”

View images from the ceremony.

Read how the event unfolded on Twitter: #RTPIAwards

View the Winners, Commended and Finalists Brochure

Category winners:

Excellence in Plan Making Practice


Towards a Stamford Hill Plan

Submitted by: London Borough of Hackney


West of England Partnership

Submitted by: West of England Joint Spatial Plan

Excellence in Planning for a Successful Economy


Stromness Regeneration

Submitted by: Orkney Islands Council

Excellence in Planning for Health and Wellbeing


Seaham Harbour Marina - Water Sports Activity Centre

Submitted by: Durham County Council

Excellence in Planning for Heritage and Culture


Stanton Moor Principles

Submitted by: Peak District National Park Authority


Depot, Lewes Community Screen

South Downs National Park Authority & Burrell Foley Fischer Architects and Urban Designers

Excellence in Planning for the Natural Environment


Caeau Mynydd Mawr SPG and March Fritillary Project

Submitted by: Carmarthenshire County Council

Excellence in Planning to Deliver Homes - large schemes


Nelson Project

Submitted by: Plymouth City Council


Bourne Estate Regeneration

Tibbalds and London Borough of Camden

Excellence in Planning to Deliver Homes - small schemes


Enfield Small Sites

Submitted by: HTA Design LLP

International Award for Planning Excellence


Economic and Urban Multi-site Development Project

Submitted by: INTA

In-house Planning Team of the Year


National Grid


HTA Design LLP

Local Authority Planning Team of the Year


Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council


Teignbridge District Council

Small Planning Consultancy of the Year


Situ8 Planning Consultancy


NTR Planning

Urban Imprint Ltd

Planning Consultancy of the Year


Deloitte Real Estate


Indigo Planning

Young Planner of the Year


Heather Claridge, Glasgow City Council


Charlotte Morphet, London Borough of Waltham Forest

View images from the ceremony.

Read how the event unfolded on Twitter: #RTPIAwards

Headline sponsors






                                           Category sponsors


Border Logo With Text 75mm

 Clancy Optimis Logo _CONSULTING


   Ƒ Places For People Group Primary CMYK

     Planning Guide      TNL_SPORTENG_PANTONE