PLACE Alliance launches Appealing Design – Does design quality carry weight in planning appeals?

PLACE Alliance has launched ‘Appealing Design’, a report on the evidence of planning appeals and the need to reject poor and mediocre housing.

PLACE Alliance writes:

For decades local planning authorities up and down the country have been reluctant to refuse poorly designed residential and other developments on design grounds. Six perceptions have underpinned this reluctance:

  1. Design is too subjective – design has been seen by many as too subjective, potentially opening up planning judgements to challenge.
  2. Quantity not quality is prioritised – in the past government guidance has prioritised other factors over design quality, most notably housing supply.
  3. Housebuilders are too formidable – pragmatically some authorities have taken the approach that it is better to negotiate and accept what you can get, rather than refuse schemes, given that housebuilders will eventually wear them down and get their own way.
  4. Good design takes too long – some believe that negotiation on design takes too much time, time which already stretched planning officers don’t have.
  5. Design is an afterthought – practices of determining the principle of development (in an outline application) prior to determining how schemes will be delivered in design terms (in reserved matters) undermine design-based arguments from the start.
  6. Costs will be awarded – for all the reasons above, cash strapped local planning authorities worry that refusing on design will open them up to costs being awarded against them at appeal.

Drawing on recent planning appeals data, this report reveals that none of these perceptions are any longer true (some never were).

Read more….

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