National Planning Awards 2015/2016 Winners

The Irish Planning Institute’s National Planning Awards are presented every two years to highlight the innovation and variety of modern planning and demonstrate to the general public and to the planning and other associated professions, successful and innovative planning projects and developments through which the quality of life of the general public is enhanced and improved, socially, economically and environmentally

The full list of winners is as follows and full details can be downloaded in the full awards guide here.

1. Plan Making Award 

This category is for plans representing the best of the art and science of spatial planning.

Commended: South Dublin County Council – South Dublin County Council Draft Development Plan 2016-2022

The judging panel notes South Dublin County Council’s proactive inclusion of energy planning and green infrastructure and particularly commends its approach to public engagement and consultation and the collaborative partnership approach taken with councillors.

Winner: Longford County Council – Longford County Development Plan 2015-2021

According to the judges the Longford County Development Plan 2015-2021 was a model on how a vital but complex, multifaceted planning document can be made accessible to the community and was the first development plan in Ireland to receive the plain English stamp from National Adult Literacy agency (NALA).

2. Opportunity and Empowerment

Category sponsors: Eirgrid 

This category is for plans, studies, strategies and projects which demonstrate how public participation has been effective in changing outcomes. 

Commended:  Limerick Regeneration Framework Implementation Plan

The Limerick Regeneration Framework Implementation Plan was approved in 2015. The judging panel commended the document and the multidisciplinary team which developed a socially, economically and environmentally coherent plan. The judging panel particularly noted the public consultation that led to the plan’s preparation, its “whole of government approach” and most critically its emphasis on implementation and monitoring.

Winner: Ballina Killaloe Sports and Community Facilities Development Ltd. - Clarisford Park

Killaloe Ballina Sports and Recreational Facilities Development Ltd is a local voluntary community group set up in the main to address an identified deficit. They have developed and operate Clarisford Park, a community and sport facility consisting of playing fields and training pitches, a running/walking trail, sports hall and community park in Killaloe Co. Clare/Ballina Co. Tipperary. It is based on international models, working with the planning authority, stakeholder engagement and community needs with the core values of Sports and Recreation; Quality of Life; and Collaboration and Partnership.

3. Planning Media and Communications

This category rewards communication or media initiatives which contribute to an increased awareness and understanding of planning.

Commended: South Dublin County Council – Public Consultation Strategy for the South Dublin County Council Development Plan 2016-2022

This project is an excellent example of how the preparation of a communications strategy prior to the development of any draft plan can be of very real value and ensures maximum engagement.

Winner: Paul Melia and Philip Ryan, Irish Independent – Future Proof – Planning Where we Live

Last year’s Irish Independent series Future Proof – Planning Where We Live demonstrated the impact of planning on day to day quality of life of people. Through articles, blogs, opinion pieces, online polls, videos and social media readers were engaged and 5,000 responded to the online polls and 20,000 people a day viewed an interactive zoning map.

4. Responsive Urban and Rural Design

This category rewards the best in conservation, urban design or planning practices. 

Commended: Limerick City and County Council – Design and Public Realm Code for Limerick Regeneration Areas

Limerick City and County Council are commended for its Design and Public Realm Code that both defines a sense of place and coordinates planning and development.

Winner: Dublin City Council – North Lotts and Grand Canal Dock Planning Scheme

The preparation of the Docklands Planning Scheme represented the start of a remarkable turnaround for a part of Dublin that is both a symbol of excellence in urban regeneration and what contains many reminders of the property crash of 2008.

Out of the ashes of that crash, Dublin City Council was tasked by Government– as successor to the Dublin Docklands Development Authority – to breathe new life into a struggling but essential national level project. 

The scheme won this award because it focuses on delivery and quality and responded to complex and competing factors and highlighted the skills of the planner in balancing competing needs. Planning permissions are now being approved based on the scheme.

5. Emerging Sustainable Technologies

Category sponsor: SPECIAL – the Spatial Planning and Energy for Communities in all Landscapes EU project. 

This category rewards new techniques and tools in planning and how they respond to the future need for sustainable energy, transport, services or social infrastructure. 

Winner: iCon Architecture with Cummins and Voortman – Village Framework Development Plan for Rowlestown for Fingal County Council

The judges highlighted the virtual model which was created for the entire village which served as a canvas on which changes to the village were tested and developed. Interactive visualisations enabled the community to engage and assist in decision making.

6. Smart Travel

This category looks at projects promoting a shift to sustainable, smart travel patterns and reduce the dependency on the car or promote walking, cycling and active leisure. 

Winner: South Dublin County Council – Walking and Cycling to School Pilot Project, Ballyboden Schools Cluster

In the project planners moved out of their offices to work proactively with school management and local communities in Ballyboden, listening to their ideas and then putting into these the design. The Judges said that too often there can be more emphasis in smarter travel initiatives on simply providing infrastructure rather than working to find out how local communities view the alternatives of walking, cycling and public transport.

7. Tourism and Economic Development

This category rewards projects that stimulate tourism or economic development. 

Commended: Brady Shipman Martin - Lough Boora Parklands Master Plan and Destination Strategy and Visitor Facility

The judging panel commended the project in County Offaly as an interesting example exploring the sustainable reuse of a significant area (2,000ha) of Bord na Mona bog. The panel also noted the ambition of the project in seeking to create an innovative tourism destination in a traditionally weak tourist area.

Winner: Fáilte Ireland – Wild Atlantic Way

The Wild Atlantic Way tourism brand coordinated a tourism route stretching approximately 2,500 along Ireland’s Atlantic coast. The Judges said that the Wild Atlantic Way shows the opportunities for coordinated regional development and also its focus on balanced economic growth. The Wild Atlantic Way represents a truly regional planning initiative. We welcome its scale, stakeholder and local authority engagement and ambition and commend its emphasis on balancing economic growth with protecting and enhancing the authenticity of the wold and natural environments.

8. Planning for Climate Change 

Category Sponsors: Philip Lee 

This award recognises plans or projects proactively engaging with and tackling the vital issue of climate change.

Winner: South Dublin County Council – South Dublin Spatial Energy Demand Analysis 

South Dublin County Council’s Spatial Energy Demand Analysis provides an understanding of energy needs, energy efficiency and renewable energy responses across the commercial, residential and municipal sectors in the county which provides a template for local authorities in planning strategically to reduce carbon usage.

9. International Innovation

Winner: SLR Consulting for the East Pit/Lakes at Rhosamman Regeneration Masterplan, Wales and Paisley Town Centre Heritage Asset Strategy

The judging panel wishes to award SLR Consulting in the International Innovation category for two projects – one in Scotland and on in Wales. Both are multidisciplinary projects directed and project managed by corporate members of the IPI based in Dublin and Belfast. 

Both projects worked with communities and focus on the deep heritage, cultural and community traditions of the areas involved and concentrate on developing inherent strengths.

10.  President’s Choice Award

The President's Choice Award recognises outstanding achievement in planning. It is not necessarily awarded every year. The award is made to a planning organisation, project or individual to recognise their contribution to planning achievement. 

Winner: Fingal County Council - Lesotho Planning and Mapping Project

Fingal County Council’s Lesotho Planning and Mapping Project demonstrates on an international level how the planning profession and a planning system can benefit from shared experience and how we can and should learn from each other.

The initiative forms part of the Action Ireland Trust’s work in Lesotho with Fingal County Council working with others including Joe Corr, John Downey, DIT and the IPI in building capacity in various elements of planning. 

Fingal County Council and their team have over the last three years focused on upskilling public service planners in the use of GIS and other skills relevant to planners in environmental planning and preparing for climate change. Dublin Institute of Technology is now working with the National University of Lesotho on possible planning courses. The Irish Planning Institute helped establish a new professional body, the Lesotho Town and Regional Planning Institute, last year.

11.National Planning Award Winner

Winner: Dublin City Council – North Lotts and Grand Canal Dock Planning Scheme


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