Ringwood Gateway up for people’s choice design award.

Three Hampshire councils are looking for the public’s votes after the Ringwood Gateway square and building was shortlisted for a prestigious design award.

The new square has become a landmark for visitors and residents and, together with the building which brings together key council services, has been nominated in the Solent Design Awards 2014.

The awards celebrate the very best in design and encourage the building of places and spaces in which the community want to live, work and take pride. Shortlisted projects are up for three possible awards: a Quality Places Award for the best scheme, a Best Urban Design Award, both decided by a panel of expert judges, and a People’s Choice Award which will be won by the scheme which receives the most public votes.

Deputy Leader of New Forest District Council and chair of the Ringwood Gateway project board, Councillor Edward Heron said: “We’re delighted that this successful partnership project has been recognised in this way. We’re up against some stiff competition, so I hope that local residents who have welcomed the scheme will vote for it.”

Anyone who feels that the Ringwood Gateway square and building makes a valuable contribution to the community and the town can vote online at solentdesignawards.org.uk until 3 November. The winning schemes will receive their awards at a ceremony at the Mary Rose Museum on 20 November.

The Gateway was designed to create a new and welcoming arrival point in Ringwood which would bring together key services from New Forest District Council, Ringwood Town Council and Hampshire County Council, as well as an information point and public toilets around an attractive public square. The three councils worked together to ensure that the development served its purpose and was sympathetic to its location.

The Solent Design Awards shortlisting recognises the quality of the urban design which resulted from the partnership between Hampshire Country Council’s architects and New Forest District Council’s environmental design team. The scheme incorporates carved wooden structures and seating created by a timber sculptor and local blacksmith artist. The seating was made using New Forest oak and incorporates designs by Ringwood residents and schoolchildren, complemented by woodland style planting.

Sustainability was a priority for the designers and is a factor considered by the awards judges. The building has natural ventilation and light and also a mechanical ventilation system, air source heat pumps and a green sedum roof and the square is drained to soakaway.

The building was officially opened by HRH the Duke of Kent in October 2012 and has so far played host to more than 40 ceremonies conducted by the county council’s Registration Service. The square has become a hub for the town’s outdoor events, including Fanfare for Spring and recent world war commemorations.