Orkney to welcome Royal Town Planning Institute President

Orkney to welcome Royal Town Planning Institute President
10 August 2018

The UK President of the Royal Town Planning Institute is to visit Orkney next week to see for himself the award-winning regeneration work carried out in Stromness.

John Acres will meet with community representatives at a short reception in the town, alongside Chief Executive of the RTPI Victoria Hills and Director of the RTPI in Scotland, Craig McLaren.

Orkney Islands Council's ‘Team Stromness’ scheme – a regeneration effort spanning the last ten years – took the top award at the UK National RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence earlier this year.

The Awards for Planning Excellence are the most established and respected awards in the UK planning industry. For over 40 years, they have and continue to celebrate exceptional examples of planning and the contribution planners make to society.

Team Stromness first took the award for 'Excellence in Planning for a Successful Economy' - and then went on to scoop the Silver Jubilee cup, the overall award for the evening.

‘Team Stromness’ featured a Council-wide task force to coordinate several distinct regeneration projects within the historic core of the town, including:

  • Repaving the main street in Stromness in local stone.
  • Construction of the landmark Warehouse Building.
  • Paving and redevelopment of the wider pierhead area.
  • Grants for private householders and businesses to help traditional repairs and refurbishment through the Stromness THI.
  • Redevelopment by the Council of the Commercial Hotel through the Stromness THI.

Mr Acres will also meet with elected members and officers from Orkney Islands Council’s Planning team to hear more on key projects that they are currently engaged in in Orkney, including Marine Spatial Planning, the role of the Council’s planning team in the management of the World Heritage Site and the current Townscape Heritage Initiative in Kirkwall.

Founded in 1914, the RTPI is the principal body representing planning professionals in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It promotes and develops policy affecting planning and the built environment.

Stromness Councillor and Council Leader, James Stockan, said: “We look forward to welcoming Mr Acres to Orkney and to Stromness to see the huge impact that the award winning Team Stromness project had in our town. Stromness’ winding streets has been alive with glorious weather, thousands of visitors and eclectic events this summer and there is no better time to show it off.

“While he is here, Mr Acres will also hear from our planning team on a number of other initiatives that we as a council are currently involved in – all of which have the potential to improve Orkney for everybody.”

John Acres MRTPI, RTPI President said: “I’m looking forward to seeing the planners’ transformation of the town of Stromness first-hand. The before and after photos are really impressive and are a testament to the way the community and planners have worked together to turn around the fabric and fortunes of the town over the last few years. I’m sure we can apply some of these best practice approaches to other places elsewhere in the UK which are also in need of effective strategic and local planning to help boost their confidence and prosperity.”

Notes to editors

The Royal Town Planning Institute champions the power of planning in creating prosperous places and vibrant communities.

Using their expertise and research they bring evidence and thought leadership to shape planning policies and thinking, putting the profession at the heart of society's big debates.

They set the standards of planning education and professional behaviour that give planners, wherever they work in the world, a unique ability to meet complex economic, social and environmental challenges.

They are the only body in the UK that confers Chartered status to planners, the highest professional qualification sought after by employers in both private and public sectors. They support their members – over 25,000 worldwide - throughout their careers, offering them a wide of range of opportunities to learn and share ideas and skills.

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