Civic Voice announces winners of the 2016 Civic Voice Design Awards

Civic Voice announces winners of the 2016 Civic Voice Design Awards at Parliamentary event

A brochure is available to download at

Today (24th May) at an event in Parliament attended by over 130 individuals including MPs, Peers and community groups, Civic Voice – the national charity for the civic movement - handed out 11 awards to a variety of schemes and projects from across England.

The Civic Voice Design Awards give communities the opportunity to nominate and recognise new buildings, restoration and public realm projects in their local area. They were introduced in 2013 following a vote by Civic Voice members to demonstrate that civic societies and other community groups will accept new development when it responds positively to the local area.

Max Farrell, chair of the Civic Voice Design Awards judging panel said, “The design of the building or scheme is just one part of the story. What matters just as much is how it was developed. These winners each reflect many of the aims and ambitions of Civic Voice. - a commitment to placemaking through a collaborative approach pulling the public, private and voluntary sector together. The Civic Voice Design Awards are showing that communities do not just want to stand at the side and complain, they want to get involved and shape the places they live in”.

A total of 11 schemes across England received an award including Alder Hey Hospital, Liverpool and St Valentine’s Close, a housing development in Winchester.

The 2016 winners are:-

New Build Category
• Alder Hey Hospital, Liverpool (Overall Winner and Category Winner)
• Soho Multi-level Playground, London (Highly Commended)
• St Valentine's Close, Winchester (Highly Commended)

Public Realm Category
• The Holywells Park Project, Ipswich (Category Winner)
• Eyesore to Artwork, Derbyshire (Highly Commended)
• Road of Remembrance War Poppies, Folkestone, Kent (Judges’ Special Mention)

Restoration Category
• The Master’s House, Ledbury (Category Winner)
• Briddlesford Lodge Farm Hop Kilns (Highly Commended)
• The Old Grammar School, Coventry (Highly Commended)
• Yarmouth Station, Isle of Wight (Highly Commended)
• Scenic Railway, Dreamland, Margate (Judges’ Special Mention)

Max Farrell finished by saying, “People are not just asking for more and better designed buildings, they are demanding them. The best developers realise this and will succeed when they realise participation not consultation is the way forward. What we need in England is positive planning and I call on communities, developers, MPs and others in the sector to learn the lessons from this year’s Civic Voice Design Awards”.



New Build Category

Alder Hey Hospital, Liverpool
Alder Hey listened carefully to children and thousands of families who took part in one of the NHS’s biggest-ever public consultations. Many suggestions, such as better access to fresh air and nature, influenced the plans, and it was a drawing by 15 year old, Eleanor Brogan that impressed the architects and inspired their final design.

Soho Multi-level Playground, London
A new playspace in a narrow infill at Soho Parish Primary School, in the heart of London's West End.

By building a multi-level structure, Jane's Pond has been able to make the most of this cramped site. The series of ‘play cubes’ – kitted out with ropes, nets, decking, storage boxes and green spaces – provide flexible, all-weather play and teaching areas.

St Valentine's Close, Winchester
St Valentine’s Close demonstrates that community participation can positively enhance the design process and has lessons that from which other housing developers can learn.

Public Realm Category

Eyesore to Artwork, Derbyshire
This project, in the Peak District, shows that public realm matters and people can make positive change happen even when faced with challenging bureaucracy. The judges were incredibly impressed by the process, leadership and local partnership working that came together to make this art project possible.

The Holywells Park Project, Ipswich
In 2013, Holywells Park was awarded a grant of £2.8 million by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund for the ‘Parks for People’ restoration project, to be invested over a five-year period. The grant was topped up by the Friends of Holywells Park and Ipswich Borough Council to a total of £3.5 million.

Road of Remembrance War Poppies, Folkestone, Kent
Purl Queens came up with the idea to invite people to knit or crochet a poppy to remember their loved ones who fought in two world wars. These poppies are now displayed on the Road of Remembrance in Folkestone, a town which had a pivotal role in the First World War.

Restoration Category

Briddlesford Lodge Farm Hop Kilns, Isle of Wight
The kilns are a singular example of this island’s generic built form which, together with other educational initiatives on the farm, creates a dynamic educational experience. For several years the Griffin family has been providing school parties with guided tours at their Briddlesford Lodge dairy farm. These have always been popular and with the opening of the Heritage Centre, an excellent new facility has been provided for all visitors of all ages.

The Master's House, Herefordshire
A grant of £1.25 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund acted as the catalyst for the regeneration of this historic building. It has had a positive impact on the local community, rapidly becoming the hub of community life, including a library and one stop shop.

The Old Grammar School, Coventry
For many years, the Old Grammar School was a derelict, crumbling eyesore at the very heart of Coventry’s City Centre. The Coventry Society identified it as one of the five most important building at risk in the city and it was included on both the City Council’s and English Heritage’s list of Buildings at Risk.

The restoration of the building took place as part of the £9.5 million Coventry Transport Museum Redevelopment project with design strategy for the restoration focused on bringing the historical structure back to life with minimal impact on the historic fabric.

Scenic Railway, Dreamland, Margate

The Scenic Railway is a ride within the wider amusement park and is believed to be one of the oldest rollercoasters of its kind left in the world, but was seriously damaged in an arson attack in 2008.
During the Scenic Railway's heyday, its wooden trains carried 28 passengers and a driver on a three-minute, 1km ride, reaching heights of up to 41ft. The judges described this project as a beautiful and culturally important restoration project vital to the wider regeneration of Margate and a great example of how heritage-led regeneration can make a real impact on the local economy.

Yarmouth Station, Isle of Wight
Both the architect and owner wanted to find a way to restore and retain this locally listed building to be able to turn it into a valuable community and visitor attraction. The owners have provided a facility promoting pride of place which is now a multi-use community building including a café, bike hire, restaurant and a base for people engaged in local outdoor activities.

About Civic Voice Design Awards

The Civic Voice Design Awards are unique in England in that they are a national celebration of good design and restoration projects nominated by local community organisations. To be successful, projects have to make a significant contribution to the quality of life in our cities, towns and villages.

About Civic Voice

Civic Voice is the national charity for the civic movement in England. Our mission is to develop a society where everyone can say, “I care about where I live”. We promote civic pride through our network of over 75,000 individual members.

A brochure is available to download at

Civic Voice –
Ian Harvey 07877096968
Sarah James 07815832277