Richill Townscape Heritage Initiative is short-listed for award

John Hooks

Reporter:

John Hooks

Email:

john.hooks@ulstergazette.co.uk

ALDERMAN Jim Speers has spoken of his delight after the Richhill Townscape Heritage Initiative was shortlisted in this year’s RICS awards.

Also making the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) shortlist for 2019 is the Blossom Children and Young People’s Centre, the new paediatric ward at Craigavon Area Hospital.

A record thirty-six of Northern Ireland’s most innovative and community beneficial property projects have captured the hearts of RICS judges and will now go on to compete in eight categories at this year’s awards ceremony in May.

The eight categories for 2019 are; Building Conservation, Commercial, Community Benefit, Design through Innovation, Infrastructure, Regeneration, Residential and Tourism & Leisure.

In County Armagh, the Richill Townscape Heritage Initiative is shortlisted in the Building Conservation category. The Blossom Children and Young People's Centre, Craigavon is for consideration of the Infrastructure award.

The Richhill project was achieved by the inclusion of the community and building of strong relationships with their elected representatives. The efforts, which restored seven properties in Richhill town have made a tangible difference to the morale of the village by the improved physical built environment.

The Blossom Children’s and Young People Centre is a new paediatric ward at Craigavon Area Hospital, offering a 19-bed inpatient ward, a six-bed ambulatory care ward, outpatient department, treatment rooms, interview room and staff support area. The bedrooms have been designed to incorporate fold down beds, to enable parents to stay overnight with their children and the courtyard garden provides a sheltered outdoor space for parents to relax with their children while visiting. Presence and arrival were key factors in the design with the concept rooted in creating an uplifting and playful building.

Alderman Speers, who was instrumental in getting the initiative off the ground, said he was delighted at the news Richhill had been shortlisted: “A lot of hard work went into this initiative and I was proud to have played my part in its delivery.

“The end result has really transformed the centre of Richhill and breathed new life into a number of buildings and indeed the heart of the village.”

All category winners go forth for the acclaimed Northern Ireland Project of the Year title, awarded to the scheme that demonstrates outstanding best practice and an exemplary commitment to adding value to its local area. Last year saw The Tropical Ravine at Botanic Gardens, Belfast, win the esteemed title for restoring the Victorian building to its former glory, with a modern 21st-century twist in order to transform the over-grown plot to a popular tourist attraction.

The awards highlight the great talent involved in shaping the Northern Ireland built environment for now and the future. This year’s shortlist projects from across Northern Ireland also include The Mourne Wall Restoration Project in County Down, The Station Master's House, Maghera, Omagh Integrated Primary & Nursery School, the Galgorm Halodome, Ballymena and Enniskillen Castle Museum & Visitors Centre.

Six projects were shortlisted in two categories, including four from the wider Belfast area. The HMS Caroline, Alexandra Dock and Thompson Dock Pump House project has been shortlisted in the Building Conservation and Tourism & Leisure categories. Northland Road in Derry-Londonderry is in the running for both the Residential and Regeneration categories, while the Lisburn City Centre Public Realm project is in consideration for a Regeneration and Design through Innovation title.

Chair of the RICS Awards 2019, Northern Ireland judging panel, Michael Hannaway said: “What’s great about the RICS Awards is that they celebrate and recognise the community impact that these shortlisted property projects are having on their local communities, as well as the talent and collaboration of the teams behind them.

“Some of these shortlisted projects have helped to attract more visitors and inward investment, whilst others have provided much needed housing or vital services and infrastructure to their communities. The teams behind them should be extremely proud as many were delivered on time and within budget, and with sustainability at the heart, to ensure they are as energy efficient and environmentally friendly as possible.”

All Northern Ireland winners go on to compete against other regional winners at the national RICS Awards Grand Final in November 2019, for the chance to be crowned the overall UK winner in their respective category.

The RICS Awards 2019, Northern Ireland, will be held on Thursday 30th May at Crowne Plaza Hotel, Belfast. Tickets for the ceremony and black tie dinner can be booked online at www.rics.org/niawards.

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