Regeneration project and council planner shortlisted for award

A project to bring silversmithing back to an Aberdeenshire town by redeveloping a derelict listed building has been shortlisted for a prestigious planning industry award.

The Smiddy Centre of Excellence for Silversmithing and Jewellery in Banff has been shortlisted for the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Awards for Planning Excellence 2019.

The building was redeveloped by Aberdeenshire Council, with funding support from the Scottish Government Regeneration Capital Grant Fund and Historic Environment Scotland’s CARS (Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme). It was re-opened as a silversmithing hub last year in an effort to restore part of the town's history.

Around 200 years ago Banff was a centre for silversmithing, and even had its own assay mark. This made local silver both prized and collectable. The Smiddy is intended to bring unique visitors to the town, putting it back on the creative map.

The project has created local jobs and offers a wide range of courses, for local community groups, beginners, and established artists. Details are available at:

Aberdeenshire Council senior policy planner Ailsa Anderson has also been shortlisted in the RTPI awards for Young Planner of the Year.

Ailsa works in the Local Development Plan team and was selected for her passion for planning and place-making, shown by her approach to ensuring full and effective engagement with stakeholders and members of the public.

Chairman of Aberdeenshire Council’s infrastructure services committee, Peter Argyle, said: “The Smiddy is a fantastic new facility for Banff. It is a great example of how our unique local heritage can be a spring board for regeneration and distinctive placemaking.

“The operators Vanilla Ink are developing some exciting courses for members of the local community and tourists and their work with Banff Academy pupils is bringing some exciting results.

“The Smiddy forms part of the overall regeneration strategy for the town centre and whilst much of the physical works were developed and implemented through the planning and building standards service, staff from economic development and the area manager’s service played a large role in securing a first class operator for the facility.

“We are also delighted that Ailsa has been recognised with the nomination and in particular for her work and commitment to place making and public engagement, both of which are at the core of modern planning.”

RTPI president, Ian Tant MRTPI, said: “Many congratulations to all this year’s finalists, who demonstrate outstanding contributions to planning, producing a positive effect on our communities, the economy and the environment.

“They have shown how planners can use their passion and skills to meet needs, deliver high quality design and tackle environmental challenges – they should all be proud of their role as a force for good in society.”

The RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence are the most established and respected awards in the UK planning industry. Running for over 40 years, they celebrate exceptional examples of planning and the contribution planners make to society.

The winners will be announced during a ceremony held at Milton Court Concert Hall in central London on April 24.

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