Last night marked the 18th Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning and we are delighted to announce that we had success with the Open Space Strategy 2010.
The Strategy was a real team effort which included staff from Planning and other Council services. The 2009 Open Space Audit informed the Strategy and was only possible with the input of over 600 people from local communities giving their time and views on open space in their area. So a big thanks to everyone for their contribution.
Also, we were proud to be part of the Forth Bridge World Heritage Site entry which won a Working in Partnership Award. Thanks to Fife Council for leading on the award entry and for the cooperation of Historic Environment Scotland and the local communities in showing how partnerships can work for all.
The judges noted that in creating the new guidance, attention was given to reviewing the previous guidance, to help reduce and simplify the information as much as possible. A number of people were involved in preparing the guidance including planners, architects, community groups and politicians with the intention to keep the content under review and update it as required. The judges felt this was a clever way to make sure the guidance is relevant and responsive. They were also impressed with the overall layout of the document – in three coherent and well-illustrated chapters – as well as linking the guidance with a training package on how to use it.
The guidance explains the Council’s expectations for the design of buildings, landscape and spaces in Edinburgh.
26 -31 Charlotte Square
We also collected a commendation for our work with Corran Properties and Morgan McDonnell Architecture on the restoration and redevelopment of 26 – 31 Charlotte Square which the judges said was a sensitive and complex regeneration project.
RIAS Doolan Award: Advocate’s Close
At another awards ceremony last night the Advocate’s Close development, also by Morgan McDonnell Architecture, was awarded the RIAS Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award for 2014. This complex development posed a number of planning challenges not least in creating a development on a site that is embedded in the fine grain of closes on the flanks of the old town ridge. The reuse of buildings and the careful design of new buildings for commercial units, a restaurant, offices, a bar/bistro and serviced apartments has brought new life to this part of the Old Town.
On Tuesday 20 May the Saltire Society announced the shortlist for the 2014 Housing Awards in the Urban Room. Along with the announcement, Miranda Webster from Cameron Webster architects and Carol MacBain from Reiach and Hall architects presented on the design challenges of a one off house and large scale housing development. Both are past Saltire winners. The shortlist is now available on the Saltire Society website.
We’re delighted that Edinburgh schemes have made it through to this round of the awards.
The Council’s own 21st Century Homes for Edinburgh by Smith Scott Mullan, is on the shortlist, as are St Martin’s Church and housing by Ian Springford Architects and housing at Quartermile, Q10 by Richard Murphy Architects. We’re looking forward to the results in July when we’ll exhibit the winning schemes in the Urban Room. While we have our fingers crossed that the Edinburgh schemes will do well, the high standard of buildings on the shortlist means we are in good company which helps to raise the expectation for great quality new architecture in the city.
Good news! At last night’s Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning we were successful in receiving two commendations. The new student accommodation at Sugarhouse Close in the Old Town was commended in the ‘Quality Development on the Ground’ category and the judges commented that this process showed how planning can operate to deliver a development which supports a masterplanned approach to deliver a well-considered ‘space to live’ for students. The planning team and the architects went to great efforts to ensure this new development both respected the sensitivities of this location within the World Heritage Site whilst providing a series of modern buildings and new spaces in this context.
Our approach to delivering a quality planning service was recognised through the Award for ‘Quality of Development’ for our use of processing agreements. This is where we put in place an agreement between ourselves and applicants on how we will work together to progress major planning applications. This sees us agree target dates, information required, potential risks and a project plan before the application is submitted. We in turn project manage the process with greater efficiently and certainty for the applicant. Using processing agreements exemplifies our gold standard approach to quality of service and the judges acknowledged that this was a positive step in how we handle major planning applications.