A transformative regeneration

Stromness Regeneration - Orkney Islands Council

Returning land to active use
  • Awarded
  • Category
  • Outcome

Proof of concept

Stromness Regeneration

This award was received for the regeneration of Stromness, Orkney’s second largest settlement. The project took place over the course of 10 years and revitalised the historic core of the town, bringing derelict buildings back into use, and the development of new infrastructure to support the wave and tidal renewable energy sector in Stromness.

Projects completed during this 10-year regeneration scheme included:

The construction of new landmark buildings, including a new public library

The redevelopment of the derelict former hotel to create new commercial floor space in the centre of the town, bringing economic benefits for the town

The development of new council housing developments

Stromness Primary School (Copyright Orkney Islands Council)
Warehouse buildings (Copyright Leslie Burgher)

Shifting perceptions of the area

How/why did the project benefit the public?

The regeneration initiative had a transformational impact on the local community from an economic and community perspective. The project was delivered in a way that recognised and enhanced the townscape, landscape, and environmental qualities of the settlement, improving building energy efficiency and building community cohesion.  

It has delivered landmark buildings for the community including a new public library, a new primary school and high-quality public realm. It has also brought new jobs and visitors into the town, increasing vitality and a sense of place for the community.

The project also resulted in a multi-million pound investment to create the Orkney Research and Innovation Campus on another redevelopment opportunity site identified within the Local Development Plan.

What were local planners looking to achieve on the project?

  • To restore a sense of civic pride within the local community, and build capacity to deliver projects
  • To deliver top class educational and community learning facilities through a new library/community service centre, new primary school, and University Innovation Campus
  • To restore the historic fabric of the town’s key buildings and civic spaces
  • To create the next generation of distinctive modern buildings that sits well within the urban environment and wider landscape
  • To encourage a resilient community with improved capacity to bring about positive change
  • To encourage marine and land-based infrastructure to help Orkney continue to lead the world in the development of the wave and tidal renewable energy industry
(Copyright Orkney Islands Council)
Justifying the need

How were local planners essential to the project's success

The success of the project has been dependent on strong community involvement, ownership and engagement which local planners played a significant role.

There were a series of ambitious projects that were undertaken to kick-start the rejuvenation of the town, including the identification and re-opening of the quarry, where building stone and street paving had originally been sourced. Such actions were reliant on strong guidance from planners to ensure that all works were high-quality, authentic and appropriate.

The project also bought about a new way of working across Orkney Islands Council, to deliver projects with planners leading from the front.


Read more

Read more about the role planners play in ensuring the best infrastructure is in place for new and existing developments.
Access to infrastructure