CLAW 2011 Annual General Meeting

The CLAW AGM 2011 was hosted by Denbighshire County Council at the Beaches Hotel, Prestatyn on 10th and 11th November. Denbighshire had organised an excellent programme of interesting and informative visits for the first day of the meeting that enabled delegates to learn about the Rhyl Regeneration Plan and see a newly developed wood pellet plant producing sustainable fuel for the home and industry.

Delegates were first given a detailed talk on Denbighshire County Council’s plans for the regeneration of Rhyl, a town that poses particular challenges to improve its image and the quality of life for residents and visitors. A conducted coach tour of the planned redevelopment areas gave members a clear understanding of the works already undertaken and those planned for the future.

Following the visit to Rhyl delegates were taken to a North Wales company which is the UK’s largest Wood_pellet_plantmachine round timber manufacturer that has expanded its operations and created 15 new jobs in support of the Welsh Assembly Government’s sustainable futures agenda.

Clifford Jones Timber Ltd, based in Ruthin, has invested £5.5M in a new 1,850 sq metre facility to produce environmentally friendly wood pellets for domestic and commercial heating systems.

Delegates were given an informative presentation and conducted tour of the new facility, which has been supported by an Assembly Investment Grant, and is an entirely sustainable operation incorporating a wet wood burner that uses bark and timber co-products to dry the timber before compressing it into wood pellets.

In the evening there was good representation from member authorities at the Annual Dinner when winners of the prestigious CLAW Awards were announced. For 2011 CLAW introduced a new category to its annual awards. In addition to the well established Building of the Year and Sustainability Awards a new Commendation Award was introduced to recognise the contribution made by in-house design teams.


 Cllr. Keith Evans, Chairman of CLAW, speaking at the 2011 Annual Dinner

The winner of the CLAW 2011 Building of the Year Award was Carmarthenshire County Council with its Carmarthen Provisions Market project. This was considered by the judges to be a worthy addition to the lineage of this building type in Wales, notable examples of which are to be found in Llanidloes, Cardiff and Swansea. The new building has a sound design strategy with a straightforward plan that fills the site to create active street frontages, together with a usable, external square within which an old clock tower has been retained. The section of the building and the clerestory glazing provide a light and airy interior suitable for its use and, externally, the scale and materiality combine to good effect in the townscape.

The CLAW Commendation Award is given to projects designed predominantly by in-house staff and the judges were pleased to see the high standard of designs produced by Welsh local authority in-house teams in the schemes submitted for the 2011 Awards. The Winner of the CLAW 2011 Commendation Award was Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s new Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Helyg which was considered an outstanding scheme and worthy to be winner of the first CLAW Commendation Award. It is a humane design incorporating materials that are a combination of locally-grown, untreated sweet chestnut, natural stone, zinc, corten steel and slate to give the local community a school fit for the twenty-first century.

The judges had a difficult choice for the 2011 Sustainability Award and, after much deliberation, decided to select two joint winners, both of which were new school designs that achieved BREEAM Excellent rating. The joint winners of the 2011 CLAW Sustainability Awards were Caerphilly County Borough Council’s Greenhill Primary School and Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council’s Ynysowen Community CP School. Caerphilly’s Greenhill School design had concentrated on a low energy approach philosophy while Merthyr Tydfil’s Ynysowen School design had a more holistic approach to sustainability. The judges felt in different ways both schemes were excellent examples of sustainable design and worthy winners of the CLAW Sustainability Award.