The planning team at the London borough of Hounslow was named best in the country, at a recent national awards ceremony.
The authority won the accolade as best local authority team of the year, at the 2016 Planning and Placemaking awards. The team was also highly commended in a separate cateogory, for development management.
“More so than not, the planning arm of a council is often talked about when something has gone wrong,” said council leader Steve Curran. “It is great news that all the hard work that goes on to make sure new schools can be built, improvements are made to town centres for the benefit of residents and plans for new housing developments are recognised.”
Among the projects guided through the borough in the last year, is a new civic centre building for the borough. The Sheppard Robson designed building will be developed on a former car park site in the borough, being smaller and more efficient than the borough’s current civic centre.
The existing 1970s building will be demolished, to make way for more than 900 new homes, to be developed by Bouygues and Notting Hill Housing.
LPA Perspective: Three cheers for the planners of Hounslow, for being judged the best in the UK. Despite the complexities of managing development in an area where much of the borough is constrained by nearby Heathrow airport, the planning team has delivered, as well as working through its own programme that includes a new, slimmed down civic building.
London’s boroughs are a varied bunch – it would be great if those that are more dysfunctional than excelling, could take note of Hounslow’s steps towards best practice.