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Salford City Council - WINNER

Salford has seen huge investment in new homes, businesses, infrastructure and public realm. The delivery of major projects such as MediaCityUK, Greengate and the revitalization of road and riverside corridors has transformed large areas of Salford and had a significant impact on the City’s economy and profile. Team Salford are bold, brave, and passionate about creating a better and fairer Salford for all. They have a strong appetite to be the best and have worked tirelessly to capitalise on the investment for the benefit of its communities. They have not stood still and continue to push forward and be innovative.

The judges commented:

The judges were delighted to review the entry from Salford City Council this year. There was a strong written submission, which scored very well against each of the criteria.

However, the judges were impressed with the presentation, which was excellent, and it was great to meet so many inspiring and enthusiastic planners. Salford have clearly overcome significant change and uncertainty since the re-integration of staff post the Urban Vision joint venture, while successfully navigating the pandemic. They are at the cutting edge of forward thinking, and are applying commercial expertise and innovation to their public sector roots to proactively deliver an all-round excellent and efficient local planning authority service. The sheer range of initiatives that they are taking across their Development Management and Spatial Planning teams is phenomenal.

There is a clear demonstration of team working and evidence of going above and beyond; putting in extra time to improve the service for customers (as evidenced by excellent feedback) as well as the development and wellbeing of staff to build a good team dynamic. Social value is taken seriously and having a broad diverse workforce assists with understanding wider needs and supporting the overarching Council vision.

Overall, Salford acts as a good example of how a close-knit, well managed and motivated planning team can achieve their goals and set the standard for others to follow. They overcome issues with forward thinking and have been recognised as a leading value for money planning service. The RTPI would be delighted for Salford to share their experiences and approaches with other local planning authorities, as there is some truly remarkable work being done (including use of Artificial Intelligence, for example) and as such, they should be heralded as a beacon of success. A truly remarkable winner of this category and worthy of the Joint Best in Region award. Well done Salford and we wish you the very best of luck at the national awards.