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Development plan for Arnside and Silverdale triumphs at 2019 RTPI North West Awards

22 October 2019

An innovative development plan for an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) near Morecambe Bay has been declared the overall winner at the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) North West Regional Awards for Planning Excellence 2019.

The judges said that the plan for Arnside and Silverdale AONB, submitted by South Lakeland District Council and Lancaster City Council, had helped achieve the delicate balance of preserving the natural beauty of the area while also providing for the specific housing needs of the community. 

Overall Winner

Image: Chief Executive Victoria Hills (third from left) presents the RTPI North West Region Planning Award to the team behind the Arnside and Silverdale AONB Development Plan

The award was announced at a ceremony at The Mercure Manchester Piccadilly Hotel, attended by almost 500 planning professionals from across the north west of England.

Judging panel member Steve Thompson said: “The judges were impressed by the plan’s positive approach to affordable housing provision, supported by a comprehensive evidence base including a ‘household needs’ survey which was sent to every household within the AONB area. They were also particularly impressed with the plan’s approach to identifying potential development sites.

“The plan is an excellent example of joint working and positive planning, which has successfully addressed competing policy objectives at the national and local level. It is a groundbreaking plan, which showcases a wide range of skills and the high quality of planning work involved in its preparation.”

Lancaster CC planning portfolio holder Cllr John Reynolds and South Lakeland DC Housing & Innovation portfolio holder Cllr Jonathan Brook said: “The two local authorities are delighted to receive this award and wish to thank the RTPI for recognising the level of expertise shown by both authorities and the benefits that joint working can bring. 

“The innovative and groundbreaking approach set out in the document will help secure a special and unique part of the district for future generations, while at the same time contribute to meeting future development needs of the area.”

Friday’s event was one of a series of regional RTPI awards ceremonies recognising outstanding projects that demonstrate the power of planning in transforming communities.

South Lakeland DC and Lancaster CC will join other overall winners from regions around the country at the RTPI’s prestigious national Awards for Planning Excellence ceremony, to be held in London on 30 April 2020.



Culture and Heritage category

Preston Bus Station (submitted by Cassidy + Ashton Group Ltd)

Regeneration category

Brinnington Regeneration Initiative (submitted by Country Properties)

Spatial Planning category and overall winner

Arnside & Silverdale AONB Development Plan Document (submitted by South Lakeland DC and Lancaster CC)


Northern Gateway, Manchester (submitted by Avison Young)


The Knutsford Neighbourhood Plan (submitted by Knutsford Town Council)

Small Scheme category

Green Lake Barns, Aldford (submitted by Cadnant Planning)

Large Scheme category

Windermere Jetty (submitted by Lake District NPA)

Young Planner of the Year

Hannah Payne