Leicestershire’s built schemes receive top honours

April 25, 2016


Two of Leicestershire’s most impressive property schemes triumphed over 43 of the region’s most innovative new built projects to gain top honours at this year’s RICS Awards, East Midlands held on Thursday 21 April at Kelham Hall, Newark.
Soft Touch Arts received the Community Benefit Award at this year’s prestigious ceremony. Funded through their charity, Soft Touch, the centre generates a multipurpose space for helping and inspiring disadvantaged young people through the use of arts, music and media.
Chair of RICS East Midlands judging panel, Will Evans FRICS, commented:
“Soft Touch Arts impressed the judges with the enthusiastic approach to shaping a community and building long term relationships, ensuring the longevity of their project. Working in the heart of Leicester the project combats anti-social behaviour and gives a sense of pride and purpose to those in the community. By transforming an old derelict car garage into a hub for youth across the city provides valuable life skills to all those who interact with the project.”
Alexandra Kowalczuk, Smallman and Sons commented:
“We are absolutely delighted to win this award, and we would like to thank all those involved who worked with us on this refurbishment project. It was a great team effort and one that we thoroughly enjoyed working on. We share this with RG+P the Architects who we worked closely with, the Directors, and all the Team at Soft Touch. This award will certainly take pride of place back at Smallman & Son’s Head Office.  We have always felt very passionate about the Soft Touch Project and by winning this award it has just made it even more special!”
This year’s Commercial winner, Leicester Food Park demonstrated what can be achieved by building on brownfield sites. The North Leicester Park, designed to accommodate more than 35 businesses, encourages investments into Leicester’s food and drink sector. The 19,250sqft Park comprises of different sized units for high quality bespoke foods. 
Will Evans, commented:
“This is a fantastic niche development in a popular commercial area of Leicester. The judges were impressed by the ‘food community’ that has been established by this council initiative. The build is bespoke but befitting of a commercial operation and integrates very well into the local business community and landscape.”
Nick Heath, Operations Director at Wilmott Dixon commented:
“The idea for a specialists food business park for Leicester was first raised more than a decade ago, so this has been a long – awaited project for many. Food and drink is a key target area for growth in the city, and Leicester Food Park will support this. Winning a RICS Award is testament to the hard work put in by the team on this significant scheme.”
The annual RICS Awards, East Midlands are better known as the region’s ‘property Oscars’ and celebrate inspirational initiatives in the land, property and construction sectors. TV personality, Emma Jesson - best known for presenting ITV’s weather- presented this year’s glittering ceremony which was attended by over 350 local property professionals.
The highly acclaimed Project of the Year title is presented to the scheme which demonstrates overall outstanding best practice. This was awarded to the Derby Arena which triumphed over what the panel of 18 judges described as fierce competition. 
This dynamic project brings cycling to the heart of Derby with its uniquely raised 250m indoor cycle track, 1500 spectator grandstand and extensive fitness and function rooms. It sets a new standard for local authority sports design by providing an aspirational and invigorating destination that is truly iconic for Derby.
Victoria Hampson, Regional Director (North & Midlands) said:
“The talent, vision and exceptional skills behind this year’s winners, and all shortlisted projects, have been exemplary. Yet again we have been amazed at the hugely positive impact that many of these projects have on their local area.”
All winners for the categories will now automatically be entered into the national RICS Awards, where they will compete against other leading projects from across the UK later this year.
RICS Awards 2016, East Midlands - Winners
·         Building Conservation (Sponsored by University of Leicester)
Winner - Revitalising the Stableyard, Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire
·         Commercial  (Sponsored by Faithful & Gould)
Winner - Leicester Food Park, Leicester
Highly Commended – Marquis Place 
·         Community Benefit  (Sponsored by The University of Nottingham)
Winner - Soft Touch Arts, Leicestershire
Highly Commended – Jerry Green Dog Rehoming Centre, Nottinghamshire
·         Design through Innovation  (Sponsored by Sika Samafil) 
Winner - Derby Arena, Derbyshire
Highly Commended – University of Derby Sports Centre, Derbyshire
·         Infrastructure
Winner - Northampton Castle Train Station, Northampton
·         Regeneration
Winner – Heart of the Campus, NTU, Nottinghamshire
Highly Commended – The Crescent, Hinckley, Leicestershire
·         Residential property (Sponsored by Nottingham Trent University) 
Winner – Rethinking Housing Delivery, Bassetlaw District Council, A1 Housing & Woodhead Living, Nottinghamshire
Highly Commended – Green Street Phase II, Nottinghamshire
·         Tourism & Leisure
Winner - Derby Arena, Derbyshire
Highly Commended – University of Derby Sports Centre, Derbyshire




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