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Wales Planning Award 2016

Award leafletThe Wales Planning Award 2016 was announced at the RTPI Cymru Annual Dinner on 18 November 2016. Details of all of the Finalists can be found in the Awards Brochure.

The judging panel comprised of Mike Cuddy, Jan Tyrer and Llinos Quelch. RTPI Cymru is very grateful for their hard work in judging the entries.


Arup Logo

The 2016 Wales Planning Award is sponsored by Arup.


Winner - Welsh National Sailing Academy and Events Centre, Pwllheli (Plas Heli)

Submitted by Cyngor Gwynedd Council

Plas HeliOrganisation's involved in the Scheme include Cyngor Gwynedd, Pwllheli Sailing Club, Coleg Meirion Dwyfor, Plas Menai, the Welsh Yachting Association and the Welsh Government.

Pwllheli, North Wales, is acknowledged as one of the UK Centre of Excellence for sailing and renowned for world class sailing waters. However, the on-land facilities were inadequate which posed a threat to the marine and leisure industry locally. The National Sailing Academy and Events Centre (Plas Heli) was designed to respond to this threat by developing a multipurpose building to host national and international sailing events whilst also catering for community and educational needs.

In December 2010, with support from European Regional Development Fund, Welsh Government and Gwynedd Council, £8.9m was approved to develop a project that would enhance the offer of Pwllheli.

The National Sailing Academy and Events Centre project has been a challenging and long term project. However, the good practices prevail and effective planning communication and practices have been vital in ensuring this. The project has demonstrated that working in partnership and ensuring equal importance to environmental, economic and community requirements have achieved sustainable and functional facilities for the long term prosperity of Pwllheli and the surrounding area.

The panel regard that it has achieved a number of important benefits, providing a well-designed building that is fit for purpose and respects its local context, it has strengthened the link between Plas Heli and the town centre, and the link link with the existing marina - Hafan Pwllheli and created strong links with the community, the local economy and supply chain and between sailing and the education sector. It has supported all outdoor activities locally - creating an outdoor hub and supported the Welsh language.

The Centre is primarily the responsibility of Plas Heli Cyf, a not for profit company, reliant on significant volunteer support. Initial revenue figures indicate that it can operate profitably and provide subsidy to the sailing activity and its busy events schedule.

The Panel concluded that the project had clearly made a significant physical contribution and that its other ambitious economic and community objectives are on a sound footing. The scheme has been fully inclusive of various stakeholders from the beginning. High quality has been the aim throughout. Planning has been at the centre of the project. Although not necessarily unique, the project team has gone for the best practice approach in relation to all aspects and particularly design and engagement with stakeholders and potential users.

Highly Commended - The National Lido of Wales

Submitted by Rhondda Cymron Taf County Borough Council

National LidoOrganisations involved in the scheme include various departments across Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, Cadw, and Supporters of the Ponty Lido And its Swimming Heritage (SPLASH) and received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The National Lido of Wales, along with the adjacent flagship play area, is a project among a suite of planning and regeneration interventions aimed at enhancing the pivotal role of Pontypridd in the Capital City Region. The project involved the restoration of a derelict and dilapidated Grade II listed 1920's lido into a regional visitor attraction, which in turn would contribute to the enhancement of Ynysangharad War Memorial Park and Pontypridd town centre, attract more visitors into the area, with the economic benefits that brings, and provide a high quality facility for the local community. The scheme has expertly balanced sympathetic restoration and conservation alongside stylish and contemporary new build in an art deco style.

The restoration of Pontypridd Lido has delivered an iconic visitor attraction. It has restored and preserved a unique part of Britain's heritage, and opened it up for a new generation to enjoy and experience, and is the only fully operational lido in the whole of Wales.

In design terms, the Panel recognised that the scheme had achieved sympathetic restoration and conservation alongside a contemporary new build influenced by an art deco aesthetic, whilst accommodating present day requirements.

The Panel appreciated that this has been a delicate process combining skills in negotiating the conservation attributes with great resourcefulness in reclaiming original materials, alongside provision for sustainable energy use and conservation. Perhaps the greatest challenge was winning over the community.  This required appropriate consultation and engagement in introducing change to the Ynysangharad War Memorial Park, which was established after the First World War with the help of public subscriptions.

The Panel were also impressed by the Authority's corporate focus in supporting the project.

The Panel concluded that through reconciling key challenges in implementing the project, the rehabilitation of the site and significantly exceeding its usage forecasts has been a considerable achievement. The project is a good example of regeneration led by planners embedded in the Corporate decision making process and demonstrating excellent engagement providing a framework for collaboration between stakeholders.

Commended - Tramshed

Submitted by WYG and Cardiff Council

TramshedOrganisations involved in the scheme included WYG as the planning consultant – EWA, the architect, and Cardiff Council the owner of the site and planning authority.

The Grade II listed Clare Road depot was built between 1900 and 1902 originally to store trams. It was later converted to store trolley buses, and again as a workshop for vehicle maintenance – all for the Cardiff Corporation and then subsequently Cardiff Council.

The building was listed in 1997 as a rare surviving example of an integral part of a major tramway system for Wales' capital. The proposed complex mixed use scheme looked at the existing building as a 'container' within which the new functions and uses would sit, whilst retaining and celebrating the existing shell of the building. The development comprises of a multipurpose performance venue (1000 capacity), 30 residential live / work units, boutique cinema, offices and community facilities.

The redevelopment of the Tram Shed constitutes a high complex quality mixed-use scheme, and in line with national and local planning policies, has the potential to promote vitality, diversity and sustainability. The proposal will significantly improve the historic element of this part of Cardiff, and in doing so enhances the character of city as a whole.

The scheme has to be viewed within this context, not least as the development has generated revenue for both the immediate restoration of the former Tramshed, but also the long term up keep of the building. The scheme is a resource for the local community and is a catalyst for the regeneration of the wider area as well as acting as an example of best practice against which the conversion of other listed buildings can be assessed in the future.

The Panel considered that the scheme had demonstrably secured the future use of an important landmark listed building. It enhances the character of the area as well as economic vitality, through broadening leisure and business options.


The Panel concluded that it had secured long term sustainability, had retained flexibility and had achieved a marked new lease of life, providing a focus for the surrounding community. The timescale, in which this scheme has been turned around, given the complexity of the site, is commendable and is a result of planners involving the key people right from the start. It has advanced best practice by showing planners and applicants alike that Listed Building status needn't deter development or result in underuse.