I dont read long blogs, so I wont expect you to either.
So here’s an idea – from a spark of creative thinking at a discussion between a bunch of planners – this idea has intrigued and me ever since.
The theory goes like this. Big developers have lots of staff to call on to provide professional advice and talent. They need to sell their houses and are dependent for their success (especially now) on how the market rates their product.
Therefore, what would happen if having given permission for a major housing proposal, the planning authority didn’t impose conditions to regulate the detailed design and arrangement beyond that shown in the application submission and the design and access statement. Instead, the Council (having given very good development management advice and plenty of well written supplementary planning guidance to help set the expectations) comes along at the completion of the development and gives a rating report evaluating the development as it has been been built out.
The planning system thus would become less regulatory and more an evaluating. Developers would perhaps become more self challenging in order to achieve better ratings. Buyers would be guided by the evaluation.
Of course this would not work for all developers – in most cases the companies simply dont make use of expertise or won’t resource good design skills relying on off the shelf products and low standard plans. Maybe ambitious house builders could apply to a local authority to become part of such a scheme and go through an accreditation process so that the Local authoity has confidence in them.
What it would do is shed a load of work on approving details conditions that is both a bugbear to developers and a resource hungry process for LPAs.