The shortlist for Lambert Smith Hampton’s inaugural Enterprise Award can now be revealed - and it’s time for you to get involved.

After decades of ever-greater centralisation by both Conservative and Labour governments, people were justified in being sceptical when chancellor George Osborne declared his intention to “deliver radical devolution to the great cities of England”.

However, with the government announcing a series of devolution deals with the regions following the election - including most recently in the North East - many sceptics are being won over amid the realisation that devolution could have a major impact on towns and cities around the country.

It was with this in mind that Lambert Smith Hampton, in partnership with Property Week, launched its Enterprise Award in July. The purpose of the award is to encourage the property industry and others to come up with fresh proposals for how devolution can best deliver economic and social benefits for England’s towns and cities.

In order to stand a chance of winning the £15,000 first prize, entrants were invited to submit proposals to address the following question: “How can innovative thinking from the property industry help make devolved government a success?”

Entrants were also encouraged to consider a series of follow-on questions, ranging across subjects including job creation and economic growth; infrastructure investment; and encouraging housebuilding and unlocking development sites.

The quality of entries was extremely high, something the judges remarked on during the shortlisting process. As Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation (BPF) and judge of the LSH Enterprise Award, put it: “The range of interesting, thoughtful and potentially impactful submissions is fantastic to see.”

Ezra Nahome, chief executive at Lambert Smith Hampton and chair of the judging panel, added: “Devolution presents a real opportunity for the property industry to help tackle some of the UK’s most pressing issues. The shortlisted entries for the Enterprise Award showcase the best and most creative thinking that will be required if devolution is to become a success. These award entries provide food for thought, not just for the property industry but for UK plc and policymakers.”

A number of entrants were highly commended (see box below), but only six could be shortlisted for the award, the winner of which will be announced this month.

The shortlisted entries

  1. Housing charity Shelter is calling for devolved powers and funding to help create what it calls ‘Green Belt Community Trusts’. The charity says such local organisations could provide a significant boost to the supply of new homes, while also empowering communities to protect valuable countryside.
  2. ResPublica, the independent thinktank, argues that the current devolution debate is too focused on narrow economic goals. It says councils should use devolved powers to encourage development to make a broader social contribution to communities. ResPublica argues that if greater local autonomy over planning was used to encourage better-quality design, new development would improve public health, education and social outcomes.
  3. A consortium made up of the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Harworth Estates, Sheffield Business Park, Creative Sheffield and Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council says that devolution can help promote economic growth by supporting the growth of industry clusters. It suggests that Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District (AMID) could be a model for how cities can use devolved powers to drive exports, create high-value jobs and ultimately improve their local economies.
  4. Graduate surveyor Daniel Campbell and entrepreneur Peter Carstensen call for devolved authorities to use powers over taxation to prevent a brain drain to London and attract talent to the UK’s regions. They also suggest that local authorities could use devolved funding agreements to spread the payment of Section 106 contributions to help make more potential development sites viable.
  5. George Grace of consultancy TownCentred calls on the property industry to embrace digital technology to help improve communities and foster positive development. He proposes what he calls Town Trust Technology (TTT), an online platform that enables local residents and businesses to invest in, own and develop their town centres and high streets, to create stronger and more vibrant towns and cities.
  6. Planner Thaddaeus Jackson-Browne argues that digital media can allow combined authorities to kickstart development using the principles of crowdsourcing. The submission says that updating online planning application software could allow public and private landowners to upload their holdings and invite architects, suppliers, communities and investors to collaborate on potential development options, creating solutions that respond to local needs. Jackson-Browne was also announced as the winner of the prize for the best response to the brief from among Lambert Smith Hampton’s staff.

Get involved

Now that the shortlist has been drawn up it is time for you to get involved. The judging panel will reach its own conclusion, but another winner will also be chosen via the poll on this page

You can also read the shortlisted submissions in full here.

Highly commended entries

While only six proposals made it onto the award shortlist, the judges felt that several other entries warrant a mention. Among the highly commended entries that did not make the shortlist were:

  • A proposal from Cumbria-based development organisation Britain’s Energy Coast on how to deliver property-led regeneration to support economic development
  • Suggestions from leading Manchester-based architecture practice Six Two on how to streamline the planning process
  • A call from independent business and public sector consultant Penelope Osborne to harness the power of data to support the development of economic clusters
  • A proposition from industry experts Majeed Neky and Callum Whittaker to use technology to negotiate financial settlements between developers and local people to make the planning process more collaborative

The judging panel

  • Ezra Nahome – Chief executive at Lambert Smith Hampton and chair of the judging panel
  • Tom Bloxham MBE – Founder, Urban Splash
  • Adam Branson – Analysis and professional editor, Property Week
  • Melanie Leech – Chief executive, British Property Federation
  • Sir Edward Lister – Chief of staff and deputy mayor, Greater London Authority
  • Waheed Nazir – Director of planning and regeneration, Birmingham City Council