Sedgemoor District Council has collected the top award for Planning Excellence in the south west at a special ceremony hosted by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) at the National College for Nuclear in Cannington.

Planners from Sedgemoor’s Major Projects Team submitted their work on ensuring that there were real, long-term benefits for the District from the construction of Hinkley Point C power station. They won not only the category they entered but also the overall prize.

Their category was ‘excellence during the planning decision progress’ and Sedgemoor’s planners impressed the judging panel by the way they went about dealing with the development management of a massive, nationally important project in order to maximise the benefits for the community.

In the panel’s view, Sedgemoor’s entry demonstrated the hallmarks of excellent planning: partnership working, community engagement and delivery of a fine legacy for future in Bridgwater and the surrounding area.

RTPI South West Chair, Suzanne D’Arcy said: “The planners thought strategically about the social and economic benefits to the wider community. A considered planning approach allowed wider associated projects to be realised, including a national college and a dynamic business hub. These new initiatives will create jobs and training opportunities for local communities in Bridgwater and beyond.”

Collecting the Award were Council Chairman, Mike Cresswell; Assistant Director Inward Investment and Growth, Claire Pearce; Principal Planning Officer HPC, Rebecca Miller; Principal Development Officer Infrastructure, Sam Harper and Major Projects Officer, Emma Norman.

Cllr Cresswell said: “I am extremely proud of the team and all the hard work this represents and particularly pleased with the recognition of the Council’s endeavours to ensure the benefits of the HPC project are fully realised locally.”

Another Sedgemoor project – the conversion and renovation of a building on Bridgwater’s West Quay into a gym, café and apartments incorporating the town’s historic castle water gate – was a finalist in the ‘excellence in planning delivery’ category.

The event was attended by other winners and finalists who listened to presentations on the successful projects and were given lunch before embarking on a tour of the College and visits to the Construction Skills and Innovation Centre and Cannington Court.

Pictured with their awards are (left to right): Cllr Mike Cresswell, Emma Norman, Sam Harper, Claire Pearce and Rebecca Miller