THE quality of our public buildings in Hampshire has huge significance in terms of shaping communities and providing residents and the people in our care with attractive and inspirational surroundings.

As we look to what 2013 may hold, the county council’s inhouse property services team is once again aiming to replicate its success over the last 12 months.

Whether it’s designing new facilities for residents to use and enjoy, preserving Hampshire’s historic buildings and rich history, building new schools and inspirational new indoor and outdoor learning spaces to meet the growing demand for school places, expanding and enhancing learning environments for our 136,000 schoolchildren, or making our buildings and schools as energy efficient as possible – the team’s work continues to gain positive national acclaim.

2012 was an award-winning year for county council design and conservation work. There was national recognition for the high quality of our building design and architects; with awards for the design of Forest Park Special School in Totton, and preservation work at Basing House and Grange Farm – the site of the former Tudor palace destroyed during the Civil War.

The Havant Public Service Plaza, housing public and voluntary services in one location in Havant, was also highly commended by judges.

The team has also been recognised for developing new, more efficient and innovative solutions in its work towards delivering public sector construction projects for Hampshire and wider partners, and which are generating huge savings.

Demand for their work is growing, and these new approaches are being used in building programmes worth £140m to the partnership between the county council, Reading, Surrey and West Sussex councils.

Meanwhile the team’s efforts this year to deliver the best value for money for Hampshire taxpayers from the sale of county council land has generated over £41m, that is being reinvested in the provision of local services.

Cllr Ken Thornber, leader, Hampshire County Council