2 NOV 2018
UK’s most inspirational built projects announced at RICS Awards Grand Final
Over 90 of the UK’s most impressive and community beneficial property schemes battled it out for top honours at the RICS Awards Grand Final, where Woodberry Down in Hackney was recognised as the UK’s Project of the Year, and the best regeneration scheme in the UK.
The prestigious annual contest – hosted by ITV news anchor, Nina Hossain and held at The Brewery in London on Friday 2 November – celebrates the UK’s most inspirational initiatives in the land, property and construction sectors that are having a significant positive impact on the communities they serve.
Category winners from each of the 12 regional RICS Award ceremonies held earlier this year, competed in the Grand Final to win the national accolade in their respective category.
Woodberry Down in Finsbury Park won the Regeneration category award at the RICS Awards, London back in May, along with the ‘Project of the Year, London’ title. At the Grand Final it took the UK Regeneration accolade as well as the UK Project of the Year title, which is presented to the top scheme that demonstrates overall outstanding best practice and significant benefit to its local area and wider economy.
One of London’s largest – and multi-million pound - estate regeneration projects, Woodberry Down has delivered just under 1500 quality homes to-date, along with 2.61 acres of award-winning parkland and many new amenities. These include a new secondary school, community centre, and shops for a range of budgets. On completion of the project in 2035 1,890 existing homes will have been replaced by over 5,500 mixed-tenure, new build homes.
The Grand Final judging panel praised the project team – including Berkeley Homes and Hawkins Brown – for creating what they described as a stand-out winner, having helped generate new businesses, jobs and apprenticeships, not to mention regenerate an area that was previously blighted by significant social issues.
National RICS Awards judge for the Regeneration category, Malcolm Young FRICS, Chairman and CEO of The Wilky Group commented: “Woodberry Down has seen the council, developer, housing association and residents all come together to improve the lives of individuals, their community and the wider area. Existing social tenants have swapped a run-down estate for generously proportioned, quality new homes, and it is impossible to tell the difference between private and social housing.
“There is also a focus on improving local economic wellbeing through a comprehensive range of initiatives too, and a genuine commitment to involve residents in all decisions, including aspects of design, with Woodberry Down Community Association ensuring people from all types of tenure enjoy an equal say. Overall, Woodbury Down is an outstanding scheme in a year of many strong regeneration entries.”
Building Conservation: Yr Ysgwrn, Gwynedd (Wales)
Commercial: White Collar Factory, Old Street (London)
Community Benefit: Get Busy Living Centre, Melton Mowbray (East Midlands)
Design through Innovation: Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham University (West Midlands)
Infrastructure: Mersey Gateway Project, Widnes (North West)
Regeneration: Woodberry Down, Finsbury Park (London)
Residential: Fern House, Bingley (Yorkshire & Humber)
Tourism & Leisure: Command of the Oceans, Chatham (South East)
Chair of the national RICS judges, David Brooks Wilson FRICS Chairman and CEO at Noble Wilson said: “The RICS Awards, Grand Final showcases the very best, community-led built projects – of all sizes and budgets - from all over the UK, and this year’s national winners are a true testament to the successful collaboration of the teams behind them. Each of these winning projects is having a profoundly positive impact on its local area and proving to be a cornerstone of the community, and for that, the teams behind them should be very proud.”
He adds: “Woodbury Down has provided place-shaping, social and economic change on an inspiring scale, making it a very worthy UK Project of the Year winner. Reported crime is down, and the social return on investment has been calculated as £2.51 for every £1 invested which is fantastic. Its long-term success can be attributed to the effective collaboration and flexibility between the four main partners - Hackney Council, Genesis Housing Association, Berkeley Homes and the Resident-led Woodberry Down Community Organisation (WDCO).”