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Planners triumph at national awards

Image: Inholm, Northstowe - credit Urban Splash 

Greater Cambridge planners are celebrating success at the prestigious Planning Awards 2021, with three projects in the area coming away with awards. Six projects involving the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service, which covers Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire District Councils, were shortlisted across four categories and the results were announced on 9 and 10 June at online ceremonies. 

Planners won the overall award for increased housing delivery, and two specific projects in the area also came away with awards: the development of Great Kneighton was awarded Best Housing Scheme, and the Wellcome Genome Campus Expansion won the award for promoting economic growth. The planning service was also shortlisted twice in the category for stakeholder engagement in planning, and Northstowe new town was also shortlisted for an award. 

The Planning Awards are a national scheme rewarding excellence in professional planning work, as well as related activities such as placemaking, urban design, economic development, housing, regeneration, environmental consulting and many others. Judges commented on the positive legacy for the future that was being created by the projects in Greater Cambridge – and the exceptionally proactive work by planners in creating successful communities and beautiful places to live and work. 

Cllr Katie Thornburrow, Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Transport, Cambridge City Council, said: “Our Planning Service goes from strength to strength, helping to shape fantastic new places to live and work in Greater Cambridge. These awards are a tribute to officers’ hard work across the board, helping to deliver the new homes and jobs that our area needs, at an outstanding level of quality that will benefit future generations.”  

Cllr Dr Tumi Hawkins, Lead Cabinet member for Planning at South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “Our planning officers work tirelessly and, over the last year, have continued to innovate in how they involve communities and work with applicants. We are proud of the continued recognition that we receive through awards such as these – and are determined to continue delivering outstanding placemaking that can be a national exemplar.” 

More about the award-winning projects: 


Award for planning for increased housing delivery: Housing delivery in Greater Cambridge 

This award went to the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning service as a whole for delivering an outstanding level of new homes to meet local needs, at a high level of quality. The team was recognised for its commitment to innovation, sustainability and excellence, achieved through a collaborative approach to working with developers and local communities. Judges praised the team as a "great example of collaborative partnership working". 


Award for best housing scheme (500 homes or more): Great Kneighton  

Great Kneighton is a new community of over 2,500 homes over 269 acres of land situated between the village of Trumpington and the city of Cambridge. In line with reducing transport-related carbon emissions, it is highly accessible by active and public transport modes. Developed by Countryside Properties, the scheme includes a 120-acre country park, new primary and secondary schools, a library, health centre, retail and hospitality locations, and a central community building. Judges paid tribute to the scheme as a truly mixed-use community that provides a legacy for the future”.  


Award for promoting economic growth: Wellcome Genome Campus Expansion 

The 2,500 staff who work at the Wellcome Genome Campus are at the forefront of research into genomics and computational biology. Wellcome worked with the Shared Planning Service to gain outline consent to expand the campus, which will eventually provide 4,200 homes to support workers and an extra 150,000 square metres of research space. The award judges praised the scheme as “an excellent example of a plan for sustainable economic growth”. 

11 June 2021