Techniquest Redevelopment Shortlisted for Prestigious Planning Excellence Award

A flagship project undertaken by our planning team has been shortlisted for the Planning Excellence Award by the Royal Town Planning Institute Cymru.

Techniquest Cardiff is one of the UK’s longest established Science Centres, admitting approximately 140,000 visitors per annum prior to its recent redevelopment. Successful funding applications have enabled the creation of the £5.5 million Science Capital Project to expand the size of the centre, reinvigorating the exhibition and display offerings which will increase visitor numbers and attract new audiences.

Appointed in April 2018, the design team featuring HLM Architects, Hydrock, Bureau Veritas and Wardell Armstrong’s planning consultants sought to address Techniquest’s brief of providing an extension to the centre to generate additional income through increased admissions and venue hire, whilst diversifying the audience and reaching currently under-represented and under-served communities.

Following extensive engagement with planning officers and other stakeholders, the planning application was submitted in October 2018 and approved in January 2019. Completion and hand-over to the client took place in August 2020 and the facility is now open to members of the public to wide acclaim. The new building almost doubles the exhibition floorspace and is dedicated to engaging new and existing audiences with innovative, contemporary science and highlights the new research and developments across the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) sectors.

Lesley Kirkpatrick, Techniquest CEO: “The Science Capital represents four years of hard work by the Techniquest team  and brings a new lease of life to our centre, offering brand-new experiences for our visitors whilst helping to embed science in Welsh culture through interactive engagement. It was a pleasure to work with Simon Williams and his colleagues at Wardell Armstrong who ensured the application process was managed seamlessly, engaging with the planning team at Cardiff Council at critical points throughout whilst continuously keeping us up to date.”

Simon Gilbert, Head of Planning, Cardiff Council: “It was abundantly clear that the developer’s representatives understood the planning system, as well as seeking to provide community betterment and regeneration uplift. As a direct consequence of the early engagement, the planning application progressed quickly and effectively without objection, with no need to seek significant amendments or additional information. This application is an exemplar of the enabling role of urban planners and the benefits of building strong relationships between developer, their planning representatives and planning officers.”

Announcement of the winner of the award will be made at a ceremony in November.

Image Credit: HLM Architects