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RTPI West Midlands Best Project 2023

Best Project of the Year Winner

Perry Barr Residential Scheme

Entered by Birmingham City Council, Arcadis and Arup

A fabulous project which is currently still under construction but aims to be occupied from summer 2023.  The scheme is a large scale redevelopment of the former Birmingham City University campus to include a range of house types and tenures to meet local needs, including a high proportion of affordable housing, build to rent and an extra care facility.  It is a complex scheme that has required CPO procedures which was executed swiftly, alongside a swift determination of the planning application to enable early delivery.  Although the scheme hoped to provide the athletes village, the COVID pandemic prevented delivery of the site to accommodate this aim.  Collaborative working between the City Council, developers and funding providers was evident and has ensured that the proposals integrate successfully into the wider regeneration of the Perry Barr area.  Furthermore, the proposals have sought to work in collaboration with the regeneration of the Perry Bar Bus and Rail Interchange, promoting sustainable transport options which has been evidenced by the reduced amount of car parking within the scheme itself to push towards a less car dominated environment.  The submission showed evidence of good practice and how planning played a vital leading role in the project to bring forward a large scheme which has sought to retain key landscaping features, provide active play space and useable public realm.  An excellent submission which has showcased, how a complex scheme can be brought forward within tight timescales to meet both housing delivery and climate change adaption within the wider regeneration objectives of the Perry Barr Masterplan. 


Best Project of the Year Commended

The Burges and Hale Street, Coventry Hight Street Heritage Action Trust
Entered by Coventry City Council, Historic Coventry Trust, Historic England and Corstorphine + Wight

An interesting and complex project which sought to reverse the decline of a Conservation Area which was part of Historic England’s At Risk Register.  The scheme sought to improve the visual appearance of the Conservation Area thereby improving the vitality and viability of the retail offer.  Collaborative work was required between the Council’s Conservation Officer, planning departments and owners along with Historic England to deliver an exemplary scheme of regeneration through a Heritage Action Zone.  Work with existing owners remains ongoing to refurbish the remaining few units.  The project was complex in requiring retrofitting of the shop frontages/buildings for climate change and carbon reduction which has been successfully achieved where possible, along with new roofs and replacement of sash windows.  Security was a concern for many shop owners and through continued engagement and sensitive restoration, external roller shutters were removed from the scheme and replaced with more sensitive internal shutters.  The scheme had positive engagement with the local community and business owners and has sought to revitalise this area of the City Centre which has been successful.  A wonderful scheme which despite it challenges to bring forward in collaboration, deserves its commended status. 


Best Project of the Year Commended

Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings Main Mill and Kiln
Entered by Historic England

An inspiring project and excellent scheme which is commended in bringing back into viable use a 225-year old Grade I listed building.  The scheme was complex in it’s nature and has exemplary sustainability and low carbon credentials which includes utilising a ground source heat pump for 70% of heating, sheep wool insulation and natural ventilation throughout the building to aid with heating and cooling.  Where new materials were required to be used, these were sustainably and locally sourced, thus further supporting the local economy.  The scheme also scored highly on the regeneration of the building to provide a museum, retail space, café and office space, providing opportunities for local people to work in the community the site serves.  The proposals also seek to promote sustainable modes of transport with access to the park and ride, having a stop outside the building, and being within 10 minutes walk from the railway station.  The project was a successful collaboration of work between Historic England and Shropshire Council, showing that a collaborative and joint working approach was successful in bringing forward the masterplan to regenerate the site in one of the most deprived wards of Shropshire.  An inspirational project that deserves its commended status.