Regeneration partners scoop national award

A UNIQUE partnership set up to regenerate Amble has won a top national award for its work within the town.

The Amble Strategic Partnership has won the Planning for Town Regeneration award given by The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).

Formed out of Amble Development Trust, the partnership was set up to develop a strategy to carry out improvements in the town.

Executive director of the development trust David Milburn said: "We are absolutely delighted to win this award against such strong competition.

"Amble Development Trust and its partners have strived to make significant improvements to the town in recent years which have now been recognised and we intend to carry on with future developments."

Since its creation the strategic partnership has undertaken a number of projects which impressed the judges.

Key schemes include changing a former pub into the multi use community centre at the Fourways, which houses the development trust and Citizen's Advice Bureau.

The redevelopment of Queen Street, the building of the south pier and the new town square all stem from the partnership also.

Mayor of Amble Ian Hinson said: "I think it is good for Amble and it's nice to see it, and I hope the trust keep it in good order."

To aid its work the partnership draws on the expertise of groups including the development trust, One NorthEast, Warkworth Harbour Commissioners and Amble town, Alnwick district and Northumberland county councils.

Leader of the district council, Coun John Taylor, said: "This is excellent news for Amble and we are particularly pleased that the town has been honoured and recognised for all that it has achieved.

"The regeneration of the town demonstrates what can be achieved by pooling time, resources, money and experience through partnership working."

He was echoed by Coun Alan Cutter, executive member for the environment at the county council, who said: "Everyone is absolutely thrilled with this outstanding achievement.

"The RTPI award is deserved recognition of a scheme which has breathed new life into Amble town centre."

Funding for the projects came from a number of sources including One NorthEast who ploughed 3m into the schemes.

Director of operations at One NorthEast Mark Henderson said: "Winning this award is national appreciation for the excellent work that has been achieved.

"It will also help raise the profile of Amble and Northumberland in general which can only be good for tourism and the economy."

A number of factors were taken into consideration by the judges when making their assessment for the award.

These include the enhancement of the physical environment, originality and the professionalism and quality of the work.

They also highlighted that the Amble partnership could act as a model for other communities to follow.

Chairman of the judging panel John Billingham said: "This regeneration is a clear example of partnership working to achieve a vision of the future, in which the whole town - from schoolchildren upwards - has been involved.

"The original strategy enabled a vision to be set, and the momentum is being maintained with outstanding quality of design in the completed work."

The partnership was also awarded the RTPI Regional Award for Planning Achievement last November.