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P7.2: Establishing the Parameters & Principles of Development

For Large Development Projects it is likely that the approach to planning would be via the Outline Planning Application route, which would establish the principle of development, use and scale of development in advance of undertaking detailed technical work.
Concerns have been voiced about such submissions in terms of their varying standard and the lack of defining information and certainty. Partly in response to these concerns and with the objective of achieving higher standards, transparency and better decision-making the Government introduced statutory changes (in operation from August 2006) to redefine the necessary content of ‘outline’ applications and relationship with subsequent reserved matters applications. At it's point of introduction, the NPPF did not formally replace these changes as out in Circular 01/06.

It is now crucial to establish certain parameters and design principles to development proposals to give more clarity to what is actually being proposed and what has been assessed as part of the Design & Access Statement, Transport Assessment and Environmental Statement. Based upon the new guidelines and ATLAS’ experience, we believe that Outline Applications should now include specific parameter plans as a formal part of the application material to identify the following:

  • Land Use: the building / site use or uses proposed for the development and any distinct development/neighbourhood zones/phases within the site.
  • Areas of potential built development: identifying broad areas within the site within which proposed buildings would be located.
  • Building Heights: identifying the upper and lower limits for height within the areas of built development.
  • Landscape & open space structure: identifying strategic areas of open space indicating the role & purpose of different spaces, landscape and other facility (i.e. LEAP, NEAP) content.
  • Access & movement: identifying proposed access point/s, movement across the site including strategic highway, pedestrian and cycle routes.
  • Other key structuring elements: subject to the nature of the specific proposals but potential additional plans to identify the location of nodes & landmarks, character areas, residential density plans, parking strategy, etc.

In addition to the incorporation of parameter plans as part of a formal planning application, based upon our experience ATLAS also considers that two further components should complete the formal application material:

  • Schedule of development: the amount of development proposed for each use, including where appropriate total gross square metres of built development, numbers of residential units (with tenure/size splits), and site areas. This should also be provided subdivided down to each identified neighbourhood/phase as appropriate.
  • Statement of design principles: a short written statement that clearly articulates the design principles that will guide future development. These can be extracted from any other supporting documents (such as the Design & Access Statement or relevant background policy document) but presented in one simple document so that the various principles can be simply secured through the approval process.

ATLAS considers that this additional information need not necessarily restrict flexibility of implementation. For example, setting maximum parameters for build areas & heights would still retain the flexibility to evolve detailed design within these approved parameters, without dictating exactly what the final scheme would be.

Last Updated on Wednesday 28/03/2012 - 01:35PM

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Advisory Team for Large Applications (ATLAS), 2016