Skip to main content
Close Menu Open Menu

Best Project Winner and BEST IN REGION

West Cumbria Pipeline, submitted by Lake District National Park Authority / United Utilities

A multi-disciplinary, multi-agency, cross boundary infrastructure project to supply water to 80,000 homes and businesses in West Cumbria, delivered with a planning performance agreement at its heart, which brought together the applicant (United Utilities), three local planning authorities (Lake District National Park Authority, Allerdale Borough Council and Copeland Borough Council) and a wide range of expert advisers including Natural England, the Environment Agency and highways and lead local flood authority teams at Cumbria County Council. As well as being an exemplar of planning delivery the project had multiple direct and indirect benefits for the natural environment and water resource management.

Judges' comments:  The planning, implementation, and delivery of the West Cumbria Pipeline, by the Lake District NPA and United Utilities was unanimously agreed by the judges to be a complex, challenging, and exceptional exemplar of a planning led infrastructure development scheme for the Northwest region. The panel were inspired by the chosen approach, with an experienced planning practitioner, taking a central role at the “heart of the process”, duly ensuring that any barriers and challenges, were identified, appraised, and resolved at an early stage, when combined with effective leadership and a robust strategic vision, facilitated three major planning applications being approved, in a timely and proficient manner.


Best Plan Winner

Civic Quarter Area Action Plan, submitted by Trafford Council

Trafford’s Civic Quarter Area Action Plan delivers a new 4000 home sustainable neighbourhood through ambitious policies for net zero, public realm, greenspace and housing quality. Developed with partners and the community to take advantage of a unique set of assets and new development opportunities and challenges, the CQAAP is a Development Management led plan. It is a vehicle for transformational change and regeneration, bringing forward new high density development and associated infrastructure through an innovative equalisation strategy. Plan production has given opportunities for planners to learn new skills and broaden their experience whilst directing Council resources wisely.

Judges' comments:  The  AAP stands as a testament to innovative and collaborative plan-making practice, balancing growth, sustainability, and community needs. It seeks to sustainably address the challenges faced within this fragmented area and has evolved through the Council’s efforts to collaborate with all stakeholders and ensure that its aims fully maximise the neighbourhood's opportunities. The judges considered that the AAP is also a good example of the use of policy to follow zero carbon plans, promote sustainable travel, and incorporate sustainable design, ensuring that climate resilience is integral to new development.


Young Planner of the Year

Ian Pennington

As Active Travel Lead in WSP’s Infrastructure Planning team and Chair of RTPI North West’s Young Planners, Ian motivates and inspires peers through professional and voluntary roles.

Ian strives for social, environmental, and economic progress through his work, evidenced by Heckmondwike Bus Station, for which he coordinated a multidisciplinary team to maximise benefits on a constrained site. Other notable projects include a DCO scheme, and planning applications for a walking, wheeling and cycling bridge, and a proposed greenways network.

Ian’s time spent volunteering is an asset to the profession, delivering a range of innovative CPD and networking events for peers. 

Judges' comments:  The judges considered that Ian’s personality and enthusiasm really shone through in his submission. Ian shows clear evidence of genuine commitment to continuing professional development and improving outcomes for planners, and his involvement with the RTPI, Young Planners, outreach work and voluntary activity is above and beyond the usual. Ian provides an excellent example of contributing to planning practice in the challenging area of infrastructure, demonstrating a solid understanding and experience of a range of planning policy areas. The judges considered that through both his professional and voluntary work Ian is an inspiration to the next generation of planners.


Small Consultancy of the Year

Euan Kellie Property Solutions

Euan Kellie Property Solutions has a reputation for delivering commercially-savvy outcomes across Greater Manchester. The team thinks laterally to solve complex planning problems and deliver meaningful projects.

They are passionate and driven, relish challenging briefs and always look for solutions that ease tensions. The dynamic and friendly team is well known and well respected, and clients attest to their responsive service.

With more than 100 Greater Manchester projects under their belt, they are the trusted advisors for clients including Salboy, Domis, THG, Property Alliance Group, One Heritage and Step Places, helping them to unlock planning and deliver positive change.

Judges' comments:  The team’s passion for good planning shone through in its submission, with the senior team hands on in project work, helping to build mutual respect and trust through successful partnership working and solid outcomes. A commitment to staff development and business improvement lays the foundation for the consultancy moving successfully forward in its planning work over coming years. There is a culture of partnership working and problem solving, underpinned by a sound knowledge of the planning process and understanding of the commercial realities of delivery, as well as good project management skills enabling the expert advice of other professionals to be integrated into the negotiation process.


Planning Authority of the Year

Lake District National Park Authority

The Lake District National Park Authority's high performing team planning team, driven by the vision “an inspirational example of sustainable development in action” work to balance the conservation of the park's natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage with the needs of the local communities. The small, close-knit team’s achievements include creating an award-winning Local Plan which has provided a policy framework to make high quality, timely decisions on 2,000 pieces of planning casework each year. New recruitment pathways, flexible working practices, creating career progression opportunities, and a monthly in-house training programme are fostering a more inclusive and diverse team.

Judges' comments:   The Judges recognise the challenges previously faced by the Authority. The submission highlights the steps and techniques implemented by the Authority to resolve these issues as well as the Authority’s resilience and dedication to significantly improving performance metrics. Given its vital role in managing planning functions within the Lake District National Park and the English Lake District World Heritage Site the team excels in leadership across a wide variety of projects. The Authority’s innovative approaches, professional pride, delivery of planning-outcomes, commitment to professional development and inclusivity make them deserving winners.