70% of projects featured in the awards had public or third sector clients, says Helen Tranter FLI, Vice President of the Landscape Institute and Chair of the LI Public Sector Working Group
Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the Landscape Institute Awards, an event that showcases the best of our sector. Although most award winners were from the private sector, it was noticeable that most clients were from the public or third sector, and most projects involve public space. A quick analysis of clients shows that over 70% of projects featured in the awards had public or third sector clients, as in previous years. Given the effects of austerity measures, this is a major achievement for those who continue to work in national or local government, or organisations such as the Central Scotland Green Network Trust.
‘Many of our private sector members are delivery agents for schemes that originate in the public sector … We all work together to improve landscapes’
It was good to see more recognition of the role of the client in the presentation slides and Awards brochure. Without clients to initiate projects, and to raise the money to fund the work, these projects would not have happened. Many of our private sector members, and companies, are delivery agents for schemes that originate in the public sector. This is a symbiotic relationship which we should not lose sight of. We all work together to improve landscapes.
The President’s Award went to a project funded by the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (and executed by Robert Bray Associates). The scheme was for improvements to land at the entrance to a school. It had multiple objectives, including biodiversity, visual enhancement, surface water drainage and the desires of the community. As with most of the LI Awards, the end result is an enhancement of a public space, such as seafronts, parks, nature reserves or school grounds.
The Fellows’ Award went to an innovative project on natural capital accounting funded by the London Borough of Barnet (executed by Jon Sheaff and Associates). Natural England are to be congratulated on funding New Agricultural Landscapes: 44 years of change (this time executed by LUC). The Client of the Year Award went to Clinton Devon Estates, a large private estate.
‘Our President reminded the audience that all those working on public open spaces, whether based in the public or private sectors, are public servants’
The winner of the Heritage and Conservation Award was for a project in Hemel Hempstead, led by Dacorum Borough Council and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund/Big Lottery Fund (executed by HTA). The three Highly Commended awards in this category all had local authority clients – Cannock Chase Council, Sunderland City Council and Durham County Council. Two of these were executed by their in-house design teams. Another in-house design team to be Highly Commended was Hampshire County Council with their book entitled ‘A Fresh Approach to School Landscapes’.
It was good to hear our President, in his closing remarks, refer to the concept of public service. He reminded the audience that all those working on public open spaces are public servants, whether based in the public or private sectors.
Helen Tranter is Vice President of the Landscape Institute and a former Honorary Secretary. Three years ago, she established the Public Sector Working Group (PSWG) to support and represent LI members in the public sector. She worked as a land manager in a local authority for over 30 years.