Tower Hamlets named among the top planning teams in the UK

GV - Tower Hamlets skyline

Members of the council's planning team have been named as finalists in two categories at the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Awards for Planning Excellence 2020.

The awards are widely recognised as being among the most prestigious in their sector. They celebrate exceptional examples of planning and the contribution planners make to their communities.

Mayor John Biggs said: “In a borough that is changing as rapidly as Tower Hamlets, our planning professionals play an essential role in encouraging and shaping sustainable growth while ensuring that its benefits are shared.

“I would like to congratulate the team for their continuous hard work, both in managing private sector applications and developments and crucially in helping to deliver our ambitious 2,000 council homes programme. I wish them the best of luck for the awards ceremony.”

The council’s infrastructure planning team is shortlisted in the prestigious ‘local authority planning team of the year’ category. The team’s role is to maximise the public benefits of development through affordable housing and infrastructure.

The recognition as one of the top teams of the year comes after a busy 12 months which has seen them achieve the following:

  • The adoption of a new Community Infrastructure Levy charging schedule to secure funding from developers that will contribute to new infrastructure.
  • Engagement with over 2,500 local residents about the Local Infrastructure Fund, receiving over 1,000 nominations for new local projects.
  • Commencing partnership work with the Greater London Authority to pilot innovative ways to plan for and deliver utilities and street works.

The plan making team is also shortlisted for ‘excellence in plan making practice’ for the council’s recently adopted Local Plan. The award specifically considers how the project is an innovative example which is transferable to other areas.

The local plan sets out the direction for growth and development in the borough for the next decade. It includes expectations on infrastructure provision, employment opportunities and the protection of the environment, including air quality. It also establishes policies to support the delivery of the affordable homes the borough needs. 

The new plan also establishes a series of tall building zones to ensure new tall buildings are located in the most suitable areas, policies to protect socially, economically and environmentally vital land uses (including water spaces, open space, pubs, industrial land, affordable housing and community facilities) from redevelopment and policies to improve liveability. This involves managing the impact of construction projects and requiring developers to assess the health impacts of their proposals.

Sue Manns, President of the RTPI, said: “Many congratulations to all the finalists at this year’s awards, representing the very best of our profession from not only all the RTPI’s regions and nations but also from countries around the globe.

“These outstanding projects, teams and individuals show how planning can have a positive effect on our communities and the environment and how planners can use their expertise and enthusiasm to create inclusive, happy and healthy places and spaces for ourselves and for future generations.”

The winners will be announced on 30 April 2020.

Posted on Tuesday 3rd March 2020