Pilgrim Court, an affordable housing development for people with learning disabilities, has been publicly recognised as beyond the ordinary, having won the Award for Excellence in Planning Delivery at the Royal Town Planning Institute’s South West Awards for Planning Excellence 2020.
Consisting of 12 new build rented flats for adults with learning disabilities and support needs, Pilgrim Court has transformed a previously derelict site in one of Plymouth’s historic conservation areas into a model of successful urban design. This is directly a result of innovative and dedicated partnership working between charitable housing association BCHA and planning/housing professionals at Plymouth City Council.
The beautifully designed modern self-contained homes, which were created using the council’s own land and gap funding from the council’s Plan for Homes budget, provide on-site round the clock support to enable independent living. This provides tenants with significant quality of life improvement, while relieving pressure on the council’s Adult Social Care budget, by combining services under one roof.
RTPI judges praised their winning choice, saying:
“Pilgrim Court stands out because it exhibits positive environmental, economic and social value outcomes – not outcomes generated by chance, but the result of a close working relationship between the City Council, BCHA and the end occupiers of the housing and their families, with professional planners at the heart of it all.”
Nicola Greenfield, BCHA’s Head of Homelessness and Wellbeing, said:
“There is an ongoing urgent need for more affordable supported housing in Plymouth and Pilgrim Court demonstrates how a solution was found thanks to a proactive and collaborative approach between BCHA and Plymouth City Council.
“This development has achieved multiple benefits in terms of meeting sustainability objectives. Not only does it provide valuable high quality independent living for customers with needs, it also contributes to helping climate change by utilising highly efficient energy saving technology, plus enhances the streetscape, having transformed a previously derelict unused site in a conservation area of the city. In addition, its excellent location is ideal for enabling the residents to seek both voluntary and paid employment.
“In these difficult times it is really gratifying that our highly successful partnership with Plymouth City Council has been publicly recognised with such a prestigious planning award. So we’d like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the different teams at the council for all their help and determination in achieving such a positive outcome.”
Councillor Chris Penberthy, Cabinet member for Housing and Cooperative Development, Plymouth City Council, said:
“I am really pleased that by working in partnership with BCHA we have been able to give more people with disabilities the ability to live independently in our community. Some of Plymouth’s residents with autism, learning and physical disabilities now have the chance to live rich and fulfilling lives at Pilgrim Court, right in the very heart of Plymouth. I hope that each of the new residents enjoys a happy life in their new homes.
“This project, which we backed as part of our Plan for Homes, is a great example of partnership working between the public and voluntary sector, based on shared aims and a strong and trusting relationship, in that land and financial assets have been combined to achieve a goal.”