The NPPF & Neighbourhoods – aWorkshop to learn & support OPUN going forward Clive Keble OPUN Panel Member
Planning reform and neighbourhoods The Good Old Days Localism Neighbourhood Planning The NPPF Effective Intervention
The historical context - A Peak District design review panel case from 1934(Ref. Carmona 1998)
Were things better in the past?• For some of the people, some of the time.• Garden cities, City in the Sky, Byker Wall, Poundbury, Greenwich – were these done for people or with the people?• Do Local Plan Inquiries and Appeals create consensus or are they confrontation- led, top down, decision making?
Localism 1Conservative pre-election green paper; “The creation of an Open Source planningsystem means that local people in eachneighbourhood – a term we use to includevillages, towns, estates, wards or other relevantlocal areas – will be able to specify what kind ofdevelopment and use of land they want to see intheir area….”
Localism 2• David Cameron - Big Society, not Big Government - “We’re giving local people more power over what happens in their neighbourhood – so communities can come together…and take control over the look and feel of new developments in their area” The Sun (!) Oct 2010• “When people know that they will get proper support to cope with the demands of new development; when they have a proper say over what new homes will look like; and when they can influence where those homes go, they have reasons to say “yes” to growth.” Greg Clark – Minister for Decentralisation (Nov. 2010) – my highlighting
Neighbourhood Planning 1•Neighbourhood Plans•Neighbourhood Development Orders•Community Right to Build OrdersI will focus on NP’s, but the approach may alsobe applicable to othersChallenges – people may want to use theprocess to stop, rather than to improve theappearance and function of development.
Neighbourhood Planning 2The process;• 1 Agreeing the neighbourhood• 2 Preparing the plan• 3 Independent check• 4 Community referendum• 5 Neighbourhood planTraditionally an OPUN design review would comeafter, (at 5A - planning application) with a designreview. Why not come in at stage 2?
Neighbourhood Planning 3Legal Force - A Real Planning Document•Carries legal weight•Planning applications assessed against them•Appeals determined against themThis is why developers should engage early.
Neighbourhood Planning 4And so…• In April 2012 the approved Localism Act will come into force and communities will be able to be a part of neighbourhood planning.• Over 200 “Frontrunner” groups have been trialling the production of neighbourhood plans & neighbourhood development orders.• The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) will be in place by 31st March 2012
NPPF 1A recent LGG, PAS and Solace briefing note states; “Think about the appetite in your communities forgetting involved in planning. The opportunity here isfor empowerment and revitalisation ofneighbourhoods through plans that genuinelyreflect local issues….This is an opportunity for animproved relationship with local communities thatmay feel more involved in the future of their areathrough the council’s support”.
NPPF 2 – design contentA short selection;18. Those responsible for bringing forward development are expectedto play their part by recognising and responding to the needs ofcommunities. Development should be of good design andappropriately located.114. The Government attaches great importance to the design of thebuilt environment. Good design is indivisible from good planning andshould contribute positively to making places better for people.120. Local planning authorities should have local design reviewarrangements in place to provide assessment and support to ensurehigh standards of design.
NPPF 3on Neighbourhood Plans…49. Neighbourhood plans give communities direct power toplan the areas in which they live.50. This provides a powerful set of tools for local people toensure that they get the right types of development for theircommunity.51. Neighbourhood plans will be able to shape and directdevelopment in their area, subject to the presumption infavour of sustainable development.Arguably, these are amongst the less contentious parts of theNPPF (other than the cross reference to the “Presumption”)and are likely to be retained in the final version.
NPPF 4The last words;Greg Clarke says; - “Our standards of design can be so much higher… yet, athome, confidence in development itself has been eroded by the too frequentexperience of mediocrity….In part, people have been put off from gettinginvolved because planning policy itself has become so elaborate – the preserveof specialists, rather than people in communities”.(As we all know), the Design Council CABE says – “A good design process isabout working through these problems and finding shared solutions, we arepleased by the significant recognition in the draft NPPF of the role of design inachieving sustainable development….The inclusion of Design Reviewmethodology in the draft NPPF is welcome as a tried and tested mechanism bywhich local planning authorities and developers are able to assess the quality,impact and sustainability of projects”.Chris Brown, in Regeneration and Renewal, has written – “When there aredifferences of opinion between developer/design team and community,independent processes like design review can be helpful”.
The Bottom line• There are undoubted “Soft” benefits from early design intervention in Neighbourhood Planning, especially around bring communities, planners and developers together.• A one day Design Review Panel Meeting (Panel Chair and three panel members) is around £2000.• One day at a Local Plan Inquiry or planning appeal (with a 3 expert witnesses and a legal representative) will usually cost at least £8000.• According to a 2009 survey 78% cent of UK property agents believe good design to be either important in the residential market with a positive effect on rental and capital values and 89% claimed it had an important impact on occupancy and take-up rates. (RIBA - Good Design, it All Adds Up - 2009)
Conclusions- In Neighbourhood Plans, the local community, the LPA anddevelopers need to come together.- Early consideration of design can help communities tounderstand and accept development. Traditionally, DesignReview is undertaken at a later stage, when attitudes are set.- Consequently early consideration of design can speed updevelopment and save money for developers- Design which is respectful of local character and vernaculartradition (not just materials but also, location and layout) canengage communities and add value to property.- We have a new system, let’s use it!
Thoughts from abroad“Get your retaliation infirst”(Willie John McBride 1974)Or, at least, considerdesign before thefinal whistle ratherthan appealing theresult
The NPPF & Neighbourhoods – aWorkshop to learn & support OPUN going forward Thank you Clive Keble OPUN Panel Member