PDP shortlisted for RTPI East Midlands Awards for Planning Excellence 2024

RTPI East Midlands Awards

Planning & Design Practice (PDP) are delighted to have been shortlisted for the prestigious RTPI East Midlands Awards for Planning Excellence 2024, which showcase and celebrate the best plans, people, and projects.

The nomination is for the planning consultancy work for our client, Wildhive. A renowned hospitality company, Wildhive is known for its commitment to preserving historical properties and natural surroundings whilst offering unique and luxurious visitor experiences. The group acquired Callow Hall, a fading 16-bedroom country house hotel with its associated stables and outbuildings on the outskirts of Ashbourne, Derbyshire in 2018. The hotel is Grade II listed and surrounded by its own estate (itself a Conservation Area) and woodland which is designated as Ancient Woodland.

Planning & Design Practice (PDP) provided planning consultancy services between 2018 and 2022, assisting with securing planning permission for a number of distinct elements including internal and external alterations to reconfigure and sympathetically modernise the main former country house; a new modern garden room extension for bar and dining purposes; and conversion of the Grade II listed former stables/coach house building to a wellbeing centre.

This was all part of plans to make the business sustainable by increasing the number of bedrooms to effectively double the overall capacity of the hotel. This meant significant investment of over £10 million into the hall itself, the dilapidated stables/coach house building and the ancient woodland to the west.

The most exciting but also perhaps the most contentious element was the proposal to create 11 woodland ‘hives’ or “Wildhives” within the ancient woodland adjacent to the hall. The application was initially hit by stiff opposition from a number of key consultees but a combination of working with planning officers, engaging the right expert consultants and wider support within the local community for the scheme meant that it was approved in September 2020. The ‘hives’ were fully completed in April 2022 and there has been a 10% increase in income year on year since 2021.

Wildhive recognised the potential of the area with its location on the southern edge of the Peak District and the importance of the site to the identity and sense of place of the local community, and the opportunities it presented. Their ambition was to maintain the property’s character and protect its historic surroundings but at the same time give it a new lease of life and meet the demand for high quality accommodation in this edge of Peak District location.

Helping to put the area, and Derbyshire, firmly on the Tourism map, Wildhive Callow Hall announced by The Sunday Times as the UK’s best place to stay in 2021 and won the best hotel award at the eighth GQ Food and Drink Awards in 2022. The successful completion of this project helped to restore a heritage asset much loved by the local community in a way that “exceeds expectations at every turn” (GQ Spokesperson) as well as providing the estate with a sustainable 21st century future.

RTPI East Midlands Awards – Best Project Shortlist

PDP join an impressive shortlist in the category of Best Project, as set out below:

  • Woodland Tree houses – Wildhive Callow Hall entered by Planning & Design Practice Ltd
  • Bradwell Springs entered by Peak District National Park
  • Gedling Green entered by Keepmoat Homes East Midlands

The winners of the RTPI East Midlands Plans, People, and Projects awards will be announced at an East Midlands Region celebration on Wednesday, 26 June, which will be held at Albert Hall in Nottingham.

The regional awards are a stepping stone to the RTPI’s national celebration, with all the East Midlands Awards local winning entries being put forward for the RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence national awards. The national finalists will be announced in mid-October with the winners honoured at a celebration ceremony taking place in London on 26 November.

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