The Blackpool Civic Trust Awards for 2022
The awards ceremony was attended by over 90 guests, members, award-winners and the Mayor and Mayoress, the Chief Executive Officer and senior Council colleagues. It was followed by a splendid afternoon tea.
Joan Humble, Chair of Blackpool Civic Trust, read the citations and winners and the Mayor of Blackpool Councillor Gillian Campbell made the awards.
Thanks to the Winter Gardens Trust and assistance from Carl Carrington of Blackpool Council for hosting the event at the Winter Gardens and to Blackpool Council for their sponsorship this year.
We'd like to thank Claire Griffiths for taking photographs of the event.
We are pleased to be able to reintroduce our annual awards scheme after a two-year break due to the pandemic.
We didn't hold a formal awards ceremony for 2019 as the pandemic hit us just as things were going to press. An informal ceremony was held at a monthly meeting in 2022. Two awards that were not handed out then were the winners of the Blackpool Council Conservation Award 2019.
The quality of building work in the town has improved dramatically in the last few years and we have a number of grant funded conservation based schemes to thank for that, which leads me nicely on to our awards.
The first of these two awards goes to Joe Boniface of Joseph Boniface Architects Ltd
This award is given in recognition of the contribution of the architectural designs produced by the practice to the transformation of Edward Street, Topping Street, Deansgate and buildings on Talbot Road as part of the Quality Corridors Scheme.
As part of the project, Joe and his team designed more than 30 new shopfronts across this much neglected part of the conservation area and the resulting regeneration has help bring back a sense of community to the transformed streets.
In particular, this award recognises both the quality of the designs and Joe’s positive approach to working with a range of diverse clients.
The second winner from 2019 is Bambers Remedial Contractors
Bambers were one of a group of contractors engaged to work on the Quality Corridors scheme but what made them stand out was their approach to collaborative working with the Council, the architects and the buildings' owners.
Bambers also won the contracts for some of the schemes with the greatest impact like the transformation of 28 Topping Street into a creative hub for Aunty Social and the complete renovation of the block on the northeast corner of Church and Topping Streets.
None of these projects was without challenges but working with the architects and the Council, Bambers proved to be superb problem solvers and delivered a fantastic scheme.
The 2022 Blackpool Council Conservation award goes to Stoneguard Northern Ltd
You will all have noticed a lot of work going on at the Winter Gardens which is all part of the Historic England Heritage Action Zone funding and our next award focuses in on one particular part of that project.
As part of the restoration of the Church Street frontage of the Winter Gardens, it was decided to tackle the surround of the main doors.
In the 1970’s the beautiful glazed ceramic blocks were removed and replaced with heavy modern tiles in blue and white.
The HAZ project commissioned the recasting of these ceramic terracotta blocks based on moulds taken from the remaining originals.
Stoneguard were then commissioned to install the blocks, but as we all know, buildings like the Winter Gardens tend to throw out surprises.
This award recognises the skill and knowledge of Stoneguard in dealing with the many problems they were faced with whilst installing the blocks. In particular it recognises their ability to adapt and problem solve on the job, working with the architects and the venue to complete the job with minimal delays and on budget.
Now we come to a series of awards decided on by our Civic Trust Executive Committee.
Marton Mere is not just an important nature reserve, it is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The Friends work hard to maintain this site with one of their primary aims being to make sure that it is safe for the public to visit and enjoy.
They maintain fencing, walkways, sign-posting and regularly cut back vegetation to improve access to the different parts of the nature reserve. They even make their own wooden signs!
The Friends promote and publicize the nature reserve in a variety of ways, regularly organising guided tours and events such as pond dipping.
They also look after an archive about the site, which is housed in the Visitor’s Centre but can also be viewed online. Their dedication keeps the site safe, open and available or our communities to enjoy!
Blackpool Civic Trust Best Open Space Award for Layton Cemetery
Opened in 1873, the Cemetery ceased to be regularly used for burials after the 1930s. Covering approximately 40 acres, it is well laid out with broad paths and many species of trees, including Ash, Horse-Chestnut, Sycamore, and fruit trees.
There is a memorial garden with plants and shrubs selected to attract butterflies and bees. This garden and its mature privet hedge offer a habitat and foraging for a huge range of wildlife, such as bats, hedgehogs, foxes and squirrels.
This green space within a large urban area is used by dog-walkers and families.
Aside from its role as an open space, the Cemetery offers an opportunity to take a walk through time and revisit the early history of Blackpool by inspecting the tombs and memorials of illustrious figures such as Alderman John Bickerstaffe. Leisure and education at its best!
Blackpool Civic Trust Special Award 2022.
These are awards that we sometimes give when something doesn’t quite fall into one of our normal categories or where something exceptional is achieved.
This special award goes to Blackpool Council’s Climate Change Team in recognition of three years of hard work in building awareness about the impacts of climate change and how Blackpool is planning to achieve Nett Zero by 2030.
Initiatives include things like then highly successful Citizens Forum, held via Zoom during lockdown, where local communities had the opportunity to air concerns, ask questions and contribute ideas to the Blackpool Climate Emergency Action Plan.
The team have also been working with Planning to ensure that new homes and public parking be fitted with Electric Vehicle Charging provision where possible and that all new development is as energy sustainable as it can be through the use of technical innovation and common sense measures.
This isn’t almost the most glamourous of work, but its impact will hopefully be felt be felt by our communities in the generations to come. We’d urge everybody here to look out for the Climate Emergency Action Plan and upcoming climate change engagement!
Blackpool Civic Trust Best New Build Award 2022 goes to Cassidy and Ashton Architects for Troutbeck Crescent Housing development
The Troutbeck Crescent housing development makes a striking and attractive impression coming off the M55 and driving into Blackpool.
It lives up to the Council’s design brief calling for a design that avoided the inoffensive blandness of traditional social housing.
The scheme managed by Blackpool Coastal Housing comprises 75 affordable, high quality rented homes for families and individuals. The affordable nature of the homes includes low running costs.
The design is intended to promote the health and well-being of the residents, whilst providing attractive indoor and outdoor environments, with landscaped areas and walkways.
That concern for the resident’s well-being includes fostering a sense of ownership. To this end, there are private amenity spaces, such as individually owned back gardens and separate front doors to the dwellings.
Blackpool Civic Trust Best Refurbishment 2022 of a building or space within a building. This year, the award goes to Layton Library for their creative refurbishment of their Children’s Library.
The refurbishment of the Children’s Library at Layton came about due to a combination of the library service wanting to update the space and an offer of funding from local councillors for whom literacy in Layton ward was a top priority.
Additional support was provided by the library’s long-standing partner, Better Start. It was clear that the existing children’s library was a dull uninspiring space. What the library service wanted was to give children and families a space that would inspire and nurture a love of reading.
The refurbishment’s colourful Seaside Promenade theme was chosen to showcase a free resource that families in Blackpool can all enjoy.
The library now attracts larger numbers of children and families, whether this is babies having a ‘bounce & rhyme’; children visiting with school; Better Start providing ‘weaning drop-ins’ or simply families just enjoying the space together.
Blackpool Civic Trust Transforming Blackpool Award 2022. This award recognises developments that have the potential for changing not just how the town looks physically but also how others see it from the outside. This year the award goes to The Conference and Exhibition centre at Blackpool Winter Gardens.
Blackpool has long needed a modern conference centre, which this new building delivers in style. It is the first major development on the Winter Gardens site since the construction of the Opera House in 1939.
The challenge was to integrate a modern building having state-of-the-art facilities, with the Winter Gardens complex, which is listed as Grade II star. Not only do the old and new co-exist harmoniously, the historic Winter Gardens is showcased and triumphantly on view.
The main hall of the conference centre occupies the second floor and can accommodate 1500 people. The first floor offers ample exhibition space.
One of the design aims, successfully achieved, was to allow visitors to the Centre to pass freely into the older parts of the Winter Gardens complex and enjoy what they have to offer. This connectivity has made it possible for the Winter Gardens to handle events for up to 7,000 people.
The gathering at the Blackpool Winter Gardens, John Barnett MBE DLin the foreground, one of the Patrons of Blackpool Civic Trust.
Read our previous Awards events. Click here.