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St Sidwell’s Point wins prestigious planning award

Published: 6 July 2022

Joint winner for the Best Project in the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Planning Excellence Awards Joint winner for the Best Project

Exeter’s state-of-the-art new leisure centre St Sidwell’s Point has won a top planning award.

The leisure centre, which opened in April, was the joint winner for the Best Project in the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Planning Excellence Awards. It shared the award with The Box, in Plymouth.

St Sidwell’s Point was also Highly Commended in the Chair’s Award.

St Sidwell’s Point wins prestigious planning award

The RTPI Awards celebrate outstanding plans, projects and people that demonstrate the power of planning.

They highlight exceptional examples of how planning and planners have a positive impact on our quality of life in creating exceptional places and protecting our environment.

Judges from the RTPI recently visited the low-energy, Passivhaus building to learn more about its planning journey and how it works within the overarching vision for the future of the city.

In particular the judges looked at:

  • Wellbeing at the heart of place
  • Promoting active travel
  • Supporting the city centre economy

Exeter City Council Leader Cllr Phil Bialyk said he was delighted with the award.

He said: “We are absolutely delighted with this recognition for St Sidwell’s Point. We have always known it was a great project and it is fantastic that others are now recognising it too. This award is for all of our teams in Exeter who have been involved in the project for a number of years.”

The award was presented during a ceremony at Somerset Cricket Ground in Taunton.

In judging St Sidwell’s Point as a Joint Winner of the Projects Category, the Judges Panel was impressed with the following:

  • A clear planning input to the project over many years through visioning, master planning, policy and delivery with extensive collaboration, particularly with accessibility groups
  • That the City Council has embraced Passivhaus as a general construction standard, St Sidwell’s Point being the first Leisure Centre in the UK to be delivered to this standard exemplary in terms of contribution to action on climate change
  • A state of the art healthy and highly energy efficient building with strong environmental credential incorporating high quality materials selected as much for their health and well being benefits as their aesthetics and resilience
  • The Passivhaus construction process that has enabled an up-skilling of the workforce; engagement is planned with schools with St Sidwell’s Point used as a case study in delivering environmentally responsive development

St Sidwell’s Point, which was funded by the City Council and built next to the new Exeter Bus Station, has three pools, a gym with more than 100 stations, a premium spa, three group exercise studios, a soft play area, creche and cafe.

It features an eight-lane, 25m main pool and a four-lane, 20m learner pool, both with moveable floors, making learning to swim accessible to all who visit.

Due to a special filtration process, the pools have exceptional water quality with minimal chemical content, which greatly improves the experience for swimmers compared to a standard pool.

For more information and membership details visit or download the Exeter Leisure App.

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