A pioneering housing project officially opened last year by The Princess of Wales has won a prestigious architectural award. 

Hope Street, a residential community that supports women in the justice system and their families, was given the royal seal of approval by Her Royal Highness in June 2023 and has now picked up the 2024 MacEwen Award. 

A first for the UK, the community offers a safe alternative for women and is designed to allow children to remain with their mothers in a secure environment.

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Catherine was given a tour of the impressive 28-flat building, which was six years in the making, and described it as 'such a great model' and 'an inspirational space'.

The project, for ground-breaking charity One Small Thing, was designed by Snug Architects, based in Totton.

The MacEwen Awards are managed by the Royal Institute of British Architects and recognise the best examples of ‘architecture for the common good’ across the UK.

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One of the RIBA awards judge’s report stated: "Hope Street is the only project that almost had me crying… we hear of the architect as being a doctor of space and this is an example of architecture that is healing people."

Paul Bulkeley, Snug Architects managing director, added: "A MacEwen Award is something we have been working towards for many years. Hope Street is a very special place with a very important ambition to transform the experience and outcomes for women in the justice system.

"It is wonderful when our work is recognised for its positive social impact. It is this that motivates us.

"It is hoped that the project will stimulate similar initiatives elsewhere in the UK. This award will certainly help."

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Hope Street is being independently monitored by The University of Southampton, The Prison Reform Trust and EP:IC to develop a blueprint that could be scaled nationally.

Planning permission for Hope Street was given back in March 2020.

But plans were abruptly halted due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and many other hurdles, including the cost of living crisis, had to be overcome.