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The winners of this year's RTPI South East Awards for Planning Excellence 2019 were announced on 21 November at the Spinnaker Tower. The winners were:

Regional Winner 2019:

Plan:MK (2016-2031) - Milton Keynes Local Plan and Evidence Base (Milton Keynes Council and AECOM)

Milton Keynes Council adopted a new Local Plan (Plan:MK) and has refreshed two related Supplementary Planning Documents in a rapid timeframe, providing certainty for the local community and businesses. A 12-week turnaround time from the end of Regulation 18 to Regulation 19 ensured that the plan was submitted in March 2018, with the plan being adopted one year later having been found sound. This was achieved by working in close partnership with consultants AECOM and utilising an MKC project manager responsible for all stakeholder engagement. The approach led to cross-party approval of the plan by Full Council, few objectors at examination and no significant concerns raised by the Planning Inspectorate.

Sue Percy CBE, Chair of the judging panel and Chief Executive of the Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation:

"This is a great example of effective collaboration between public and private planners working together to support the production of Plan:MK. Public engagement was proactive, comprehensive and continuous and the overall approach illustrates planners' passion for plan making with high levels of technical and soft skills demonstrating excellence in plan making and leading practice."

"This is a great example of collaborative working between the public and private sectors and shows Milton Keynes Council yet again leading the way in planning."

Ian Tant, President of the Royal Town Planning Institute

The full list of winners from the RTPI South East Awards are:

Excellence in Plan Making Practice

Plan:MK (2016-2031) - Milton Keynes Local Plan and Evidence Base (Milton Keynes Council and AECOM)

In under 3 years, Milton Keynes Council (assisted by AECOM) produced multiple technical studies; adopted a new Local Plan (Plan:MK); and consulted on two related Supplementary Planning Documents.

Read judges panel citation

Excellence in Planning for the Natural Environment

South Downs Local Plan (South Downs National Park Authority)

The first local plan for the UK’s newest national park.  It is landscape led, delivers ecosystem services and facilitates localism in a protected landscape.

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Excellence in Planning for Heritage and Culture

A Heritage Strategy for Canterbury District (Canterbury City Council)

The strategy provides a framework to protect, promote and prosper from the district’s unique historic environment; placing heritage at the heart of all we do.

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Young Planner of the Year

Laura Archer - Barton Willmore

Laura is an ambitious, highly motivated and passionate planner who seeks to promote the planning profession and inspire younger generations into the built environment.

Read judges panel citation

The full list of commendations from the RTPI South East Awards are:

Plan Making Practise

Warnham Neighbourhood Plan (Horsham District Council and Warnham Parish Council)

Warnham Parish and Horsham Council have demonstrated that a collaborative approach towards Neighbourhood Planning can deliver a plan of which the community is duly proud of.

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Successful Economy

Perch @ Eco Business Centre, Elmsbook, Bicester (Cherwell District Council)

The Eco Business Centre is an exemplar in sustainability, the first non-residential Passivhaus Plus building in the UK, it will provide office and co –working space.

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Tech in Planning

Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge Corridor Future Planning Options for the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) (5th Studio)

Future planning study for the globally significant Oxford-Cambridge arc to 2050, integrating infrastructure, development and the protection and enhancement of existing landscape and urban settings.

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Health and Wellbeing

Heatherwood Hospital Redevelopment (Vail Williams LLP)

A new elective care hospital, 230 ‘enabling’ residential units, conversion of an existing building for a GP Hub and office and creation of bespoke SANG.

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Natural Environment

Lewes Neighbourhood Plan – Pioneering An Ecosystem Approach To Neighbourhood Planning (Lewes Town Council, South Downs National Park Authority, Feria Urbanism, Lewes Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group and many local community groups and representatives)

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Young Planner

Zahra Waters - Lichfield

Zahra is a Senior Planner in the Lichfields Thames Valley Office and the co-chair of G4C Berkshire.

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Rebecca Bacon - Savills

Rebecca has experience working on a broad range of planning projects and is particularly passionate about inspiring other planners and future planners in the profession.

Read judges panel citation

The  RTPI South East Awards for Planning Excellence 2019 has been sponsored by: