Comhairle wins a nod for quality in planning

Keith Bray, Head of Development Services, Alistair MacDonald, Convenor of the Royal Town Planning Institute in Scotland, and Angus Campbell, Comhairle Leader.
Keith Bray, Head of Development Services, Alistair MacDonald, Convenor of the Royal Town Planning Institute in Scotland, and Angus Campbell, Comhairle Leader.

The Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning is one of the government’s most prestigious events and celebrates achievements in planning.

The ceremony was held on 14 November at The George Hotel in Edinburgh hosted by the Chief Planner John McNairney.

These awards are seen as a way to promote, highlight and celebrate success.

The Awards have traditionally had four categories: Development Plans, Development Management, Community Involvement and Development on the Ground. In total, there were 34 applications, from which 17 were shortlisted.

The task of selecting the winners was undertaken by 3 Judges.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar was one of those shortlisted in the category of “Development on the Ground” and was commended for the development at the new school at The Nicolson Institute.

The judges stated that the new school development was given a Commendation to recognise the value of creating a new community facility within the town centre. The new school has been designed with sustainability and community in mind to deliver a vibrant integrated campus within the town centre.

Norman MacDonald, Comhairle Convener, said: “The Nicolson Institute project has delivered an integrated campus and breathes new life into the historic buildings and has been sensibly designed on the site of the original school.

“This project demonstrates what we can do if given the opportunity to create new public places and indeed the role that the planning process plays in adding value to the outcomes for the community on the ground. This has now been recognised nationally through this award by the planning profession.”

Comhairle Leader, Angus Campbell, said: “I was delighted to receive the commendation award on behalf of the Comhairle and its partners for this project.

“It was heartening to hear that our handling of this project through the planning process and the engagement we carried out has been recognised at a national level at such a prestigious planning event.

“I would like to publicly thank all those involved in delivery of the new school as this award is national recognition for them all.”

There was more island success at the Awards Ceremony as university student Stephen Macleod, 20, from Carloway, was part of a team called ‘Masterplanners United’ who walked away with the top prize in the “Designing Places” category. They created a sustainable community which they named ‘Sonas’.