It was a welcome return to Torquay for the annual conference of Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation SW (CIHT) following last year’s successful event at The Grand Hotel. The topic for the 2018 CPD event; ‘Creating Better Places’ was sponsored by Skanska and chaired by SW Region Chair, Victoria Hutchins who said: “I was delighted to be appointed Chair for the CIHT SW region and this year’s annual conference was extremely well received. It was good to meet so many members and to share information and updates on the investment in highways and transportation across the region. I would also like to thank the speakers who gave up their time and gave interesting presentations.”
A welcome address was given by CIHT President Andreas Markides. He said: “It was a pleasure to meet SW members at this highly successful conference held in a beautiful l part of the country. Our regions have now bedded in successfully and are delivering an amazing programme of events for all our members with more than 250 events around the UK last year alone. It is important to remember that the vast majority of these events have been organised by volunteer members. This mean people that give generously of their own time because they enjoy their time with CIHT.”
Over 70 delegates and exhibitors interacted with leading industry experts from across the region. This included many speakers representing local authorities; Highways England, Jacobs, and a joint presentation by Pat Steward – Town Centres Regeneration Director, Torbay Economic Development Company and Jonathan – Director at Phil Jones Associate on delivering informal streets in Torbay. The presentation looked at making major investment in the harbour area to make it more of a shared space for pedestrians to spend their time, taking into account local transportation – making it a great area to attract more business and a place where people want to be, and spend their time.
An interesting presentation by David Bullock, Project Manager – A303 Stonehenge Highways England on ‘The A303 Tunnel – Protecting our Heritage’ created a lot of questions from the audience. The scheme will help unlock economic growth in the South West by transforming journey reliability, increasing safety and improving connectivity with neighbouring regions, while protecting or enhancing the environment. To make this is achieved, the scheme has four key objectives:
- Transport: To create a high-quality reliable route between the South East and the South West that meets the future needs of traffic
- Economic growth: To enable growth in jobs and housing by providing a free-flowing and reliable connection between the South East and the South West
- Cultural heritage: To help conserve and enhance the World Heritage Site and to make it easier to reach and explore
- Environment and community: To improve biodiversity and provide a positive legacy for nearby communities
Following the conference, a VIP evening drinks reception was hosted in the hotel’s library. A black-tie awards dinner attracted 160 guests from across the South West construction industry, who enjoyed a magical evening with mesmerising close-up magic from local magician, Dan Brazier and entertainment by Casino Select.
There were four award awards made in the following categories: Environmental Award – Church Square, Bodmin. Innovation – Total Transport Project a joint project with Somerset County Council and Gloucestershire City Council. Peter Swain – Emerging Professional: Chris Shipway – Jacobs and Transportation Project of the Year was picked up by Deep Lane North, Devon County Council.
With over 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK; over 13,000 people in Devon alone, Alzheimer’s Society (Devon & Cornwall office) was the CIHT SW designated charity for the evening. A charity raffle with prizes kindly donated by local companies including The Grand Hotel; Bays Brewery; Paignton Zoo and Living Coasts raised £1480 for this local worthy cause.