Council success at Royal Town Planning Institute’s regional awards

Published: Monday, 3rd July 2023

It was an evening of success for the city council at the RTPI West Midlands Awards for Planning Excellence 2023 on Friday (June 30).

During a ceremony at Millennium Point, the council won the award for Best Project (Perry Barr Residential Scheme, entered by Birmingham City Council, Arcadis and Arup).

In addition, Idris Gulfraz was commended in the Young Planner of the Year category, whilst the council as an organisation was a runner-up for the Planning Authority of the Year title.

The Perry Barr Residential Scheme (PBRS) is part of a wider £700m+ regeneration programme for north west Birmingham, underpinned by the Perry Barr 2040: A Vision for Legacy masterplan.

Completion of the initial phase of homes was announced in April, and the first sales are set to be completed in the coming months.

RTPI judges said PBRS was a “fabulous project” and “an excellent submission which has showcased how a complex scheme can be brought forward within tight timescales to meet both housing delivery and climate change adaption within the wider regeneration objectives of the Perry Barr Masterplan.”

Idris, who joined the council in 2019, is currently involved in the delivery of more than 2,700 new homes in north-west Birmingham, working with award-winning developers and Homes England.

Projects he has worked on include the first phases of Urban Splash’s nationally recognised award-winning modular-led residential scheme at Port Loop, the Soho Loop development by Galliard Homes (including negotiating an uplift in the affordable housing provision) and the earmarked redevelopment of the City Hospital site.

RTPI judges said of Idris: “He has a good handle on the challenges facing planners in the current economic climate and has a keen interest in balancing work/life balance to avoid burn out. His passion for developing the places around which he lives and works is clearly apparent and he is an admirable role model to his peers.”

Commenting on the award wins, Cllr John Cotton, Leader of Birmingham City Council, added: “This richly-deserved award and commendation are the result of many years of hard work put in by our planners and the many partners we have teamed up with for the ongoing regeneration and development of Birmingham.

“It’s great we are setting standards that are being independently recognised – there’s a real energy and excitement here in Birmingham. Our planners are at the forefront of this ambition, and these awards will inspire them all to go from strength to strength in the future.”

All the West Midlands Regional Awards local winning entries will be put forward for the RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence national awards.

The national shortlist will be announced on October 9, and the winners will be honoured at a celebration ceremony taking place in London on November 21.

The full list of West Midlands winners from last week can be found on the RTPI WM website.

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