Double win for Placefirst at Planning & Placemaking Awards 2019

The 2019 Planning & Placemaking Awards ceremony took place at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London on 4 June, bringing together over 500 professionals across the property sector for a night of celebration and networking.

The awards celebrate excellence in both planning and placemaking, recognising outstanding professional work in planning, placemaking, urban design, economic development, housing and regeneration from across the UK.

The Green, Hartlepool was awarded Best Regeneration from a toughly contested shortlist of nine projects including Clarion Housing, Keepmoat Regeneration and Blackpool Council. Judges praised the scheme for its innovative re-use of historic buildings, breathing new life into a neighbourhood previously written off.

The Welsh Streets, Liverpool took home the award for Best Use of Heritage in Placemaking. From a shortlist of six entries, including three high commendations, the judges felt that the Welsh Streets was “a great success story, transforming an area against the odds, and sending a strong message that old buildings can have a great future”.

Martin Ellerby, Head of New Business & Innovation commented: “The calibre of entries was incredibly high, with inspiring projects across a range of sectors. The quality of entries reflects the standing of the Planning & Placemaking Awards, and we are absolutely delighted that both The Green and Welsh Streets have been recognised as national examples of best practice within our industry.”

The Planning Awards are run by Planning magazine in conjunction with Planning Resource and Placemaking Resource.


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The Green, Hartlepool awarded Best Residential Development of 2019 at Insider North East Property Awards

The Green, a collection of 88 new homes and a new garden square on the edge of Hartlepool town centre, has been judged the Best Residential Development of 2019 at the Insider North East Property Awards. Held at the Newcastle Gateshead Hilton Hotel on Thursday 23rd May. Attended by over 400 of the regions key property professionals, the awards celebrate the achievements across all development sectors in the region.

In a shortlist of seven developments, Placefirst’s new build-to-rent community impressed the judges with its “quality homes and distinctive placemaking”.

Attending the awards with guests from Hartlepool Borough Council, Martin Ellerby of Placefirst commented: “We are of course delighted with the win, everyone has worked so hard to create a place that families will love renting, and let’s not forget this is a neighbourhood that had previously been written-off for demolition.

“This award helps to strengthen the Placefirst profile in the North East, a region where we look forward to building more great rental communities very soon.”

Amy Waller, Principal Housing Officer at Hartlepool Borough Council commented: “Tackling housing market failure has had significant challenges in Hartlepool and was particularly evident with the delivery of this site.

“The proposal from Placefirst was an innovative approach with some selective demolition to create a central green and creative remodelling of the remaining Victorian terraces.”

“From the outset Placefirst were very clear about their desire to create a place and not just build homes and, as our final HMRI site in Hartlepool, we are delighted with the result.”

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Transformed Welsh Streets collects PRS Deal of the Year at Property Week RESI Awards

Placefirst’s transformative regeneration of the Welsh Streets in Liverpool was awarded PRS Deal of the Year at the 2019 Property Week RESI Awards, held on 15th May at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

The Welsh Streets is repurposing over 400 empty homes in the Toxteth area of Liverpool. Several streets of Victorian terraces are being comprehensively remodelled internally and externally to provide modern homes complimented by a range of street improvements and communal landscaped gardens.

Attended by over 1,200 of the UK’s residential property professionals, the RESI Awards bring together key players in the residential market including leading developers, landlords, house builders, operators, investors, agencies and local authorities.

In a toughly contested category including PRS deals from AIG, Grainger and JLL, the ambition of the Welsh Streets and a commitment to community resonated with the judging panel drawn from 30 of the property sectors leading experts. “Bold and innovative,” said the judges, who praised the scheme’s “community focus” and Placefirst’s ability to overcome adversity to have a real social impact. “This is proper innovation,” they said. “Creative and transformative.”

Placefirst also received a ‘Highly Commended’ award in the Best Small Developer of the Year category, which was awarded to Scarborough International Properties for their work at Middlewood Locks in Salford.

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RICS 2019 Awards for The Green and Welsh Streets

Two Placefirst build-to-rent communities have been awarded Best Residential Development of the Year at the regional RICS Awards 2019.

The RICS North East Awards took place on Friday April 26th at the Civic Centre in Newcastle and, from a toughly contested shortlist of seven developments, The Green collected the award for Best Residential Development. RICS judges ‘praised the project team behind The Green for the attention to detail internally and externally on the properties. This has resulted in contemporary and desirable homes that are well let and encouraging community engagement around the central green’.

In the North West, Welsh Streets also won the award for Best Residential Development. Taking place at the Palace Hotel in Manchester on Friday 10th May, the Welsh Streets was selected as the winner from a shortlist of six developments. RICS Judges said ‘the quality rental homes, of various sizes, appeal to families large and small and commended the project for significantly improving the energy efficiency of the homes by over 60 percent, whilst the traditional rear yards and nearby alleys have been radically transformed into a high quality, landscaped areas’.

The double win now sees both The Green and Welsh Streets entered into the national RICS Awards taking place on 22nd October in London.

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Placefirst 2018 Review

The review summarises all the things we have achieved over the last twelve months and highlights the many of the key events throughout the year.

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Welsh Streets wins Best Build-to-Rent Development at 2018 Inside Housing Development Awards

The 2018 Inside Housing Development Awards took place on Thursday 29th November at The Brewery in London.

Attended by over 750 senior housing professionals, the awards celebrate the best in new UK housing, awarding developers and landlords who go the extra mile to create outstanding places and make a meaningful contribution to the current housing crisis.

Placefirst’s transformation of the Welsh Streets was judged to be the Best Build-to-Rent Development in the UK, seeing off stiff competition from large scale build-to-rent developers such as Fizzy Living and Dolphin Square.

The £35m development is regenerating a cluster of 400 empty homes in Toxteth, Liverpool. Set across several streets of Victorian terraces, Placefirst have completely overhauled the properties and surrounding streetscape to reimage the terrace for the 21st century. Larger homes have been created through lateral conversion of adjacent properties, and traditional rear yards and alleys have been replaced by terraces and gardens. These homes now offer best-in-class accommodation for low-to-middle income households and its success has unlocked further regeneration investment within the local neighbourhood.

Martin Ellerby, Head of New Business & Innovation, collected the award on behalf of Placefirst and commented: “Placefirst is a values led business with a clear aim to provide affordable, aspirational homes and places for families that are increasingly reliant on the private rented sector. This win for The Welsh Streets is welcome recognition of all the hard work the team and our partners have put in to deliver this community focused development, and demonstrates that build-to-rent isn’t just about serviced apartment blocks in urban centres”.

The Inside Housing Development Awards were judged by an expert panel of 14 housing executives from the public and private sector including MHCLG, Homes England, RTPI, Design Council and JLL.

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Welsh Streets wins Refurbishment of the Year Award at Building 2018

The 2018 Building Awards took place on the evening of 6th November at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London.

Now In its 24th year and regarded as one of the most prestigious UK development awards, the event was attended by over 1,400 senior-level directors, chief executives and partners from across the breath of the industry.

Hosted by Rob Brydon and packed with entertainment, the evening was an unparalleled opportunity to highlight success, instil pride and celebrate the very best in UK construction.

Placefirst’s regeneration of The Welsh Streets was awarded Refurbishment Project of the Year, beating off competition from high profile shortlist including The Royal Academy of Arts, The Temperate House at Kew Gardens, and the former BBC Television Centre.

The judges commented: “Welsh Streets is a radical build-to-rent scheme that encourages community and provides a blueprint for developers all around the country to copy.

For a full summary of why the Welsh Streets was chosen at Refurbishment of the Year can be found on the Building website.

The Refurbishment of the Year Award is now the eighth award for The Welsh Streets in 2018, having previously collected three British Homes Awards, three North-West Property Awards, and a Business Insider Liverpool City Region Award.

David Smith-Milne, Managing Director at Placefirst commented:

2018 has been an amazing year for Welsh Streets, but to win this award against such high profile competition is particularly special. Everyone involved in the project has worked so hard to make this a special place for our residents. The homes are unique within Liverpool, offering 21st centrury homes within the shell of traditional Victorian terraces, and setting a new benchmark in affordable market rent”

The Building Awards judges include David Birkbeck (Chief Executive of Design for Homes), Ike Ijeh (Architecture Correspondent at Building) and Lynne Sullivan OBE (Chair of Good Homes Alliance).

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Welsh Streets collects three awards at NWPAs


The 2018 NWPAs took place on Thursday 11th October in the Lutyens Crypt at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.

Established over 15 years ago, the NWPAs annual awards, created by Move Publishing, have become an important fixture in the North West property community, celebrating the best of residential and commercial development across the region.

Placefirst’s transformation of the Welsh Streets was the big winner on the night, collecting three of thirteen awards, including the coveted Judge’s Special Award which included developments from Barratts, Redrow and David Wilson Homes.

In addition to the Judges Special Award, the Welsh Streets was also collected the Best Regeneration Award, and Best Affordable Housing Award.

David Smith-Milne, Managing Director of Placefirst commented: “Everyone has worked so hard to make the Welsh Streets a great place to live once again, and it’s thanks to the hard work of our team and the support of the council that we are able to celebrate this amazing trio of awards.

The Welsh Streets is preserving the rich heritage of Victorian Liverpool whilst delivering a range of truly modern family homes that create a distinctive mix of ‘old & new’. More importantly though, the Welsh Streets is setting new standards in renting for families that rely on this sector for their housing needs.

The NWPAs judges include Alastair Shepherd, director of Falconer Chester Hall; Lesley Martin-Wright, CEO of Knowsley Chamber and Head of Business Growth for Knowsley Council, and Elaine Cunningham, owner of Elaine Cunningham Design Studio.

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Trio of wins for Welsh Streets at British Homes Awards 2018

The 2018 Sunday Times British Homes Awards took place on Thursday 20th September, at the luxurious Marriot Grosvenor Square in London.

Attracting hundreds of the housing industry’s leading professionals, the awards celebrate exceptional design, and are the only national awards that recognise every aspect of housebuilding — from one-off houses to major developments, interiors to landscaping, individual extensions to placemaking on a grand scale.

The transformation of the Welsh Streets in Toxteth, Liverpool was the outright winner on the day, collecting three national awards, including the prestigious Judges Award for Excellence. Chosen from the 89 shortlisted entries, including developments by Lend Lease, Crest Nicholson and Argent, the Welsh Streets was selected by the renowned architect Michael Squire – Michael has been a regular Jury Chair for the RIBA Awards and is a member of the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea’s Architecture Appraisal Panel.

The Welsh Streets was also the outright winner in the Development Transformation category, beating off stiff competition from Berkeley Homes and The Crown Estate. The Development Transformation Award recognises the best large-scale refurbishment project in the UK.

In its inaugural year at the British Homes Awards, Welsh Streets also won the Housing Crisis Solution Award. This new award celebrates the work in housing to find solutions that are affordable to people on lower incomes. From a shortlist including modular homes from Urban Splash, and micro-apartments from Pocket Living, the judges felt that the Welsh Streets not only delivered on affordability, but also provided a sustainable solution to the issue of empty housing.

Martin Ellerby, Head of New Business & Innovation at Placefirst commented:

“Only two years ago the Welsh Streets was largely recognised as an area of housing failure, deemed fit demolition. Today it’s a thriving neighbourhood where families are literally queuing up to move in. As a Build-to-Rent developer we put the end user at the heart of everything we do, creating homes and places that our residents can be proud of, safe in the knowledge that they are renting with a responsible landlord.

To win three national awards, beating off competition from some of the leading names in UK housing, is testament to the values of Placefirst, a young, dynamic company that is committed to offering a better rental experience to the growing number of households who rely on this sector for their housing needs”.

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Placefirst awarded Bespoke & Urban Developer of the Year at North West Residential Awards 2018.

On Thursday 24th January, over 800 of the region’s top developers and business professionals gathered at EventCity in Greater Manchester to celebrate the annual Insider North West Residential Awards. Now in its third year, the awards recognise the very best of the region’s housebuilding and residential property community and are firmly established as the ‘Oscars’ of the regions residential property sector.


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