Small but Mighty Changes in the Revised National Planning Policy Framework – Design

5th September 2018

In our news article about the revised National Planning Policy Framework, we explored the most significant changes that have been made between the 2012 and 2018 Frameworks. The revised Framework was published on 24 July 2018 and Bell Cornwell has now gone through the differences with a fine tooth comb.

Many of the chapter numbers, titles and paragraph numbers have changed, but much of the text is the same in the 2018 version compared to the 2012 version. In this blog series, we pick up on the small changes to wording which could have a positive impact on decision making for development schemes.

Regarding the design of major schemes and on individual buildings, the 2012 version paragraph 58 has been split up and then brought forward the previous six bullet points albeit reordered into the 2018 version paragraph 127:

  • On what constitutes visually attractive, consideration to site layout has been added, and rather than ‘appropriate landscaping’ the 2018 version adds ‘appropriate and effective landscaping’. There is little purpose in landscaping unless it is effective, adding a more active or real dimension.
  • As well as the 2012 version requiring planning departments to not prevent appropriate innovation, the 2018 version adds that Councils should also not discourage ‘change (such as increased densities)’. In addition, a new chapter has been added to the 2018 Framework for ‘making effective use of land’. Change and innovation are two different issues, and change doesn’t have to be innovative, but why shouldn’t development proposals break the mould whilst respecting the character of the area and local distinctiveness?
  • In creating a sense of place, proposals should now also ‘maintain’ character as well as establishing it, in addition to being ‘attractive’ places should also be ‘welcoming’ and ‘distinctive’. The requirement for a place to be ‘comfortable’ has been deleted from this bullet point, which has always been an interesting issue.
  • The last new bullet point f) adds ‘health and wellbeing’ to the list of requirements, as well as ‘resilience’ and the amenity of existing and future residents or users. All sensible changes that reflect best planning practice, particularly as the 2012 version did not mention residential amenity in this context before at all.

To find out more or how this affects your planning applications, please contact us on 020 3960 1530.

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