Winner — Erewash council - Long Eaton library

As with most of the buildings in this category, the project involved the refurbishment of a listed building, in this case a purpose-built Victorian library. Derbyshire council set about their work with a will. An extension was built to increase the space available, window areas were increased, corridors were widened to allow two wheelchairs to pass, and the building’s many levels were reduced to one. Finally, the furniture and the layout were planned to allow wheelchair users to get to the computers at a convenient height. All in all, a project that demonstrates what can be done to equalise opportunities – and importantly, it has set a benchmark for other buildings in the area.

The finalists

Swansea council - Liberty stadium

The Liberty stadium project in Swansea, which provides a home for the city’s rugby and football teams, was seen as a key project in making good the city’s claim to be an evolving 21st-century centre. The whole of the team, from architect TTH to main contractor Interserve, put a great deal of effort into ensuring that everyone could get into the ground, had a good view once they were there, and could make full use of the available amenities.

South Kesteven - Peacock Construction HQ

This office building in Bourne, Lincolnshire, demonstrates the importance of thinking through the whole of a disabled person’s journey. This is what Peacock Construction and its architect, Thomas Wilson, did – with the help of South Kesteven council. The path from the bus stop to the office is suitable for disabled people, and once they have arrived, they find an easy-to-use lift and a layout that has been designed with them in mind.

Swansea council - Stella Maris house

The Stella Maris convent in Swansea is a listed building that dates from the 1780s. After undergoing many uses in the next 220 years, it became a convent for the Congress of Ursulines. Recently, it was decided the extend the convent to create 34 en suite bedrooms. As the building is occupied by retired sisters, the oldest of whom is 101, the issue of access was paramount. In fact the facilities were far in excess of what is required in the regulations. The wide corridors, handrails, lift and specialised handling equipment in the bathrooms ensure that any disability can be catered for.

Bradley Community Action - Manor house

The West Leeds Community Drug Centre at the Manor house, Leeds is an 18th-century building that is being used as a counselling and treatment centre for the city’s drug users. It was not the easiest of buildings to get into, and modifying it was not the easiest of tasks owing to its grade-II listing. The solution was to provide a level access to the back door, install a lift and a disabled toilet. This may not sound like much, but it was undertaken before recent changes to Part M, and demonstrated the client’s willingness to go beyond the regulations to ensure access to its services.