Top Prize for the Nelson Project

04 June 2018

The Nelson Project has been recognised at the Royal Town Planning Institute for Planning Excellence Awards.

The Plymouth based self-build accommodation won the Excellence in Planning for Homes award in the large schemes section at a ceremony held in London last week.

The Nelson Project is a partnership between Plymouth City Council, LiveWest, the Community Self Build Agency (CSBA) and Homes England.

During the course of the project, ex-service personnel helped Interserv with the construction of the 24-home site that includes 12 self-build homes for the military veterans and 12 mixed-use affordable homes, including supported housing.

As well as providing the ex-servicemen with a place to call home, the veterans completed construction training and courses with that helped them develop the skills needed to help engage with the project, as well as provide them with valuable job-based skills. Thanks to their training, many hold CSCS cards and are now able to find work in the construction industry.

Designed by Graham Lobb of Form Design Group, the building was envisaged to promote wellbeing among residents by creating a quality environment through innovative design solutions, including communal gardens, lots of natural daylight and storage for bicycles.

Craig McLaren, RTPI Awards Advisor, said: ''The planners had an inclusive approach, such as ensuring the housing suits people with learning difficulties, has ensured the project paid major social dividends for the local community.”

This is not the first time that the Nelson Project has been recognised for an award, having won the Abercrombie Award for demonstrating design excellence and innovation earlier in the year.

Councillor Chris Penberthy, the Cabinet member for Housing and Co-operative Development, said: “I’m delighted to see the Nelson Project receive national praise and attention. We are committed to supporting our veterans and delivering on our promises in the Armed Forces Community Covenant. This project is an example of the work that we have done and will continue to do. It has been vital in integrating ex-service personnel into the community, and help equip them with the skills to adjust back to civilian life.”

Gareth Jones, Development Director for LiveWest said: “We are delighted to have worked with our partners on this scheme in Plymouth, supporting the further regeneration of Plymouth. The Nelson Project provides much-needed housing for a wide range of people and also offers something unique and special, where ex-service personnel has had the opportunity to train and build on the scheme supported by the Community Self Build Association. We are proud to be instrumental in bringing forward high-quality build and a design which focuses on the wellbeing of residents making it an exemplary project.”

Alex South, National Operations Director for the CSBA, said: “Winning this award shows how working together with a multi-agency approach has the power to make a difference. The 12 Veterans who engaged on the Nelson Project have not only moved into a real community-based project but they are all now involved with a personal recovery path which has seen them all improve their individual welfare needs, financial awareness, and family connections. Being involved from the first day of the build has empowered each veteran to improve the local awareness of homelessness and has helped many individuals and corporate agencies on the outside of the project to become aware of what can be achieved with a committed strategic partnership.”

Graham Lobb for Form Design Group said: “This project faced many challenges during its design development. All were addressed through close collaboration between the partners and stakeholders and it is gratifying to see this project continuing to receive both local and national recognition.”