Planning Portal

Sam Foster Launches Planning Quality Initative At Odyssey

Published on Wed, 26 Sep 2001
Sam Foster MLA, Minister of the Environment, launched the Quality Hallmark Award in W5 at the Odyssey complex Belfast this morning.
DOE will make awards annually for outstanding development, Mr Foster told the Beyond the Quality Initiative Conference.
"I intend to recognise the efforts of the house building industry by introducing a ‘Quality Hallmark’ for outstanding new developments. The hallmark symbol will be awarded to chosen projects and may be displayed on the developer’s advertising. My Department will appoint a panel of independent judges, with a view to making the first annual award next year," said Mr Foster.
"We are extremely fortunate in Northern Ireland to have an abundance of attractive places each with a distinctive quality and character. It is surely incumbent on all of us to protect the best of what we have and to ensure that what we add is of the highest possible quality.
"There is an increasing demand for much more than just good quality houses. People want pleasant landscaped areas, opportunities for walking and cycling, community facilities, public transport and a sense of security. It is a challenging task to create a residential environment that will mature into a place that is distinctive, attractive and safe. Together we can, and indeed must, meet this challenge."
Professor Gerry McKenna, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ulster, thanked the Minister and said: "The University of Ulster has a central role to play in making the highest standards of design and management the bedrock of our built environment.
As a key stakeholder in the quality process, we have a responsibility to educate the next generation of estate managers planners, architects, and engineers - the whole development community - to ensure Northern Ireland has the skills base that will deliver the kind of quality housing and infrastructure our population expects and deserves in the 21st century .
"It is a challenge we are proud to accept. The University of Ulster aims to achieve excellence in meeting the needs of the Province and its people. In terms of our support for the implementation of the Quality Initiative, we shall not be found wanting."

Notes to Editors

  1. The conference was organised by The School of the Built Environment at the University of Ulster in conjunction with DOE Planning Service at W5, Odyssey, Belfast.
  2. The audience included key stakeholders involved in the delivery of quality residential environments such as architects, academics, councillors, developers, engineers, planners, policy makers, property agents, valuers and urban designers.
  3. Since the introduction of the Quality Initiative to Northern Ireland in 1996, key stakeholders have made considerable progress collectively towards improving the quality of new residential environments.
  4. DOE published ‘Creating Places: Achieving Quality in Residential Developments’ in May 2000 which demonstrates the importance of a holistic design-led approach and puts the quality of urban design high on the policy agenda.
  5. The further publication by DOE of PPS7 ‘Quality Residential Environments’ places the process articulated in ‘Creating Places’ in a strong policy framework and provides a firm basis on which to promote an integrated approach to sustainability and quality residential development here.
  6. The conference delegates looked beyond the Quality Initiative towards implementation by considering up-to-date thinking on urban design, assessing the benefits and challenges in the delivery of quality residential environments and sharing good practice learnt from exemplary design-led residential projects within the UK.
  7. Delegates examined in particular, how the Initiative is enhancing the quality and sustainability of new residential developments. Central to this debate will be the impact which the Quality Initiative is having on the housing market including the valuation of residential property and house price performance in the Belfast Metropolitan Area.
  8. Further information contact Paddy Murphy DOE Press Office tel. 028 9054 0014
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