A co-housing project developed with the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service by developer TOWN has been recognised for Excellence in Planning by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).

The project vision, set out by Cambridge-based Mole Architects and the future residents of the new homes on Marmalade Lane, was for an active low carbon community with beautiful buildings and spaces that integrated with the wider area. Marmalade Lane is now a sustainable co-housing neighbourhood, consisting of 42 state-of-the-art homes with community facilities and a shared garden, built on land previously owned by Cambridge City Council.

At the virtual awards ceremony on 30 April, the project won the Excellence in Planning for Health and Wellbeing award; the Excellence in Planning for Small Schemes award; and the Silver Jubilee Cup Overall Winner. The judges were impressed by the project’s innovative approach to developing the land and working collaboratively to overcome a range of planning and delivery challenges along the way. TOWN are speaking on our Co-Living Developments Webinar where they’ll be sharing intel on their best practice approach to development.

The RTPI Awards are the most well-established and respected planning awards in the UK, having run for over 40 years, and they celebrate exceptional examples of planning and the positive contribution that planners make to society.

Cllr Dr. Tumi Hawkins, Lead Cabinet Member for Planning at South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “Many congratulations to our planners who worked diligently and collaboratively together with TOWN (the developers), as well as with Mole Architects (scheme designers) and the future residents of Marmalade Lane project to bring forward this creative design. The residents’ and Mole’s vision for this project – to create housing for a community of people that prioritises the environment and wellbeing of residents – is recognised in the winning of the Excellence in Planning for Health and Wellbeing award. And it is also incredibly rewarding to see the teamwork, innovation and dedication of all involved recognised in the winning of the prestigious Silver Jubilee Cup. Well done!”

Cambridge City Council’s Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Open Spaces, Katie Thornburrow, said: “The Marmalade Lane project continues to receive such positive acclaim that it really does show what can be achieved when people are supported to bring forward positive development that suits their lifestyle and priorities. The scheme was created with low car dependence to promote a more active community life, with beautiful buildings, streets and spaces. The project shows that you can deliver community-led, sustainable housing on public land, challenging the standard approach to housing design. Congratulations to all involved for all three awards, but in particular the much-coveted Silver Jubilee Cup!”

Prof Sadie Morgan of drMM Architects, Chair of the award panel, said: “Schemes like Marmalade Lane show that greater local participation, more opportunities for accessing nature and prioritising people over cars can create a place that inspire a sense of belonging. It is clear that the values embedded in these projects will set the example for the changing world that we now inhabit. Planners had a critical role in their success, and we must not forget the importance of collaboration, innovation and ingenuity to thrive – they will be essential for the months and years ahead.

“Everyone involved is delighted that Marmalade Lane has won this prestigious award. It sends a strong message that a collaborative approach between Council planners, developers, architects and end-users has real value. We hope this will be replicated for many more projects as community-led housing comes ever more into the housing mainstream.”

RTPI President, Sue Manns, said: “The ongoing coronavirus outbreak is challenging us all to think about what is important in our lives and the lives of those around us, the local places and spaces around us, and the way we work and use our homes, and communicate with others. This year’s winners shine a spotlight on the very best practice in delivering future places and spaces that work for everyone. They provide us with inspiration and confidence in the future of our profession.”

The RTPI champions the power of planning in creating prosperous places and vibrant communities. It is the only body in the UK that confers Chartered status to planners, the highest professional qualification sought after by employers.