Ex-NWDA chief executive earns ‘Christmas cracker’

Michael Hunt

Steven Broomhead, former chief executive of the North West Development Agency, has been commended at the Places Matter annual festive awards.

Steven BroomheadThe publicly funded architecture and built environment think-tank for the North West praised Broomhead for his personal commitment to ensuring that good design is integral to the economic development of the region.

He was awarded with a Christmas Crackers award for his commitment to design for places and individual buildings ranging from Media City in Salford Quays to the Brockholes Visitor Centre in the Ribble Valley.

He was also praised for establishing the Places Matter Design Review Panel and for his influence at the NWDA.

The NWDA is being scrapped following the coalition Government's decision to abolish regional development agencies by April 2012 to replace them with LEPs.

Broomhead took early retirement at the end of October and the NWDA is currently working with the Government's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to agree future succession arrangements.

Other winners of the Christmas Crackers awards includes:

  • Celia MacKenzie, chief executive, Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners – Places Matter said MacKenzie has been at the forefront of championing good design in Whitehaven, either directly through the regeneration work at Whitehaven Harbour or through promoting innovative ways of securing exemplary architecture for developments such as the recent design competition for the Central Harbour site
  • Emma Mellor, design and conservation officer, heritage and design, Cheshire East Council – Commended for being proactive in promoting the role of good design to officers and councillors through a range of opportunities and establishing herself as a credible voice for design within the local authority and its constituents
  • Mike Edwards, secretary, Foxhall Village Renaissance – Commended for his passionate interest in the development and future of his hometown, Blackpool. Edwards has been a participant in a number of Places Matter training events both in his local area and further afield, and has contributed a wealth of enthusiasm and local knowledge to each session
  • Veda Harrison, project manager, Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust – Commended for supporting and enabling the delivery of the Northwest Architecture for Everyone campaign, giving young people the opportunity to engage with design and the built environment and develop invaluable life skills. Harrison's creativity has enabled the North West programme to grow and develop to meet the specific needs of young people in the region

Annie Atkins, Places Matter programme director, said: "This year's Crackers range from the regional big hitters to individuals making a difference in their own communities. Both have a role to play in making successful, distinctive places. Places Matter spends most of the year commenting on the physical developments that make a difference to local places but the annual awarding of Crackers gives us an opportunity to recognise the role and impact of energetic and enthusiastic people who care about their surroundings and are prepared to make a difference."

Meanwhile, Places Matter said 200 development schemes representing over £3.9bn of investment in the region have used its Design Review Panel since its creation in 2007.

Working across the North West, the Places Matter Design Review offers a panel of 41 built environment professionals, working with 38 of the 42 local authorities. Places Matter said Lancashire is the biggest user of the service, submitting a quarter of schemes seen in the last three years.

The organisation said 25% of the schemes brought to Design Review have been residential with commercial and public realm projects making up a further 25%.

Places Matter said the rest of the schemes are from the following sectors and projects:

  • Education: 9%
  • Leisure: 8%
  • Mixed use: 8%
  • Pathfinder: 7%
  • Masterplan: 7%
  • Building Schools for the Future 3%
  • Other types of scheme: 9%
  • Parks: 2%

Places Matter, created with the support of the North West Development Agency, is currently contracted to run design reviews in the North West until March 2012. Together with its partners it is considering options beyond that date and is in discussion with the delivery bodies of other national, sub-national and local design review programmes about the future.

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