Union Street schools project nominated for prestigious planning industry award

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A project that saw hundreds of Aberdeen school children draw up shopfront designs for Union Street – the city’s iconic thoroughfare – has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.

The project was part of the Union Street Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS), which is supported by Aberdeen City Council, Historic Environment Scotland and Aberdeen Inspired.

It has been named as a finalist in the Excellence in Planning for Heritage and Culture category at the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Awards of Planning Excellence 2019.

Nearly 400 youngsters from Aberdeen six primary schools – Albyn, Heathryburn, Kittybrewster, Middleton Park, Robert Gordon’s College and Skene Square – produced designs ranging from a pet shop with a dog assault course to a music shop with on-site tuition to a retailer specialising in space toys.

Councillor Marie Boulton, the Council’s spokesperson for the City Centre Masterplan, said: “The Council is delighted that the creativity of our school pupils and the innovative approach of our planning officers, along with the support of partners, has been recognised by such an esteemed organisation.

“The models made and drawings were both inspired and inspiring, offering a dynamic vision of the future whilst respecting the city centre’s rich historic architecture. Everyone involved can be proud of their efforts and we await the final results with great excitement.

“Meanwhile, the Council’s commitment to Union Street through the CARS building improvement programme is allowing us to conserve historic properties by working with owners and occupiers.”

The schools project was developed by the Council’s CARS officer, the Aberdeen Urban Studies Trust, and the Aberdeen City Heritage Trust, and supported by The Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment and the Aberdeen Society of Architects.

The winners of the RTPI Awards will be announced during a ceremony held at Milton Court Concert Hall in London on April 24.

RTPI President Ian Tant MRTPI said: “Many congratulations to all this year’s finalists, who demonstrate outstanding contributions to planning, producing a positive effect on our communities, the economy and the environment. They have shown how planners can use their passion and skills to meet needs, deliver high quality design and tackle environmental challenges – they should all be proud of their role as a force for good in society.”

Andrew Jones MRTPI, Practice Leader Design Planning + Economics at AECOM, said: “AECOM is proud to once again be a headline sponsor of this year’s RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence. The finalists are a diverse mixture of outstanding examples of planning, which demonstrate the breadth of the impact the profession has on quality place making and delivery in the built environment.”

And David Jackson MRTPI, Head of Planning at Savills, said: “Savills is delighted to be a headline sponsor of the RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence. The finalists reflect the positive impact planning has on our communities and wider society across the UK, Ireland and internationally through exemplary projects, plans and people.”

The £2.4 million CARS grants programme is jointly funded by Aberdeen City Council and Historic Environment Scotland with further backing from Aberdeen Inspired. Grants are available to help pay for repairs and renovations. For more information, contact Project Officer Jamie McNamara on 01224 523958 or 07919 691540, or email jmcnamara@aberdeencity.gov.uk.