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Regeneration of Orkney fishing town wins two prestigious UK awards

The Royal Town Planning Institute’s (RTPI) awards for planning excellence in London saw the 10-year plan of Stromness take the Silver Jubilee Cup. The event is one of the most respected awards ceremonies for the planning industry in the UK.

The plan for Stromness, which included extensive community input, was awarded the Silver Jubilee Cup, at the Royal Town Planning Institute’s (RTPI) Awards for Planning Excellence 2018 held in London last week. It also won in the ‘Excellence in Planning for a Successful Economy’ category.

According to Scottish Construction Now, the plan for Stromness led to 12 major projects being implemented across the town, including new and upgraded public spaces, new shops and businesses and a new primary school.

The library was also rebuilt and moved to a new site in the centre of the town, at the community’s request,  to ensure it was accessible to everyone.

A new fishing pier was built with European funding, and new business and industrial spaces were allocated near the pier.

The council has also begun work for a new international research facility and infrastructure for tidal and wave energy generation.

The judges’ said: ‘Stromness has been regenerated over the past 10 years through a comprehensive, plan-led strategy spearheaded by the council’s planners. The dramatic before and after photographs visibly demonstrate just how dramatic the transformation has been.

‘This remarkable “place-based” approach could be used as a blueprint to revive declining towns across the country.

‘The plan demonstrates strong planning and political leadership over several electoral cycles to ensure the vision for Stromness became a reality. They have focused on high-quality outcomes and placemaking.

‘This is impressive given the challenges of sustaining investment in remote rural communities. The before and after photos clearly show it’s had a huge impact. The approach is highly transferable and could be used in other parts of the UK. We thought it was brilliant.’

Thomas Barrett
Senior journalist - NewStart Follow him on Twitter

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