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PPS1 presents a challenge for us all

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The launch by the ODPM of Planning Policy Statement One at the Sustainable Committees Summit has been welcomed by the design community, including the RIBA. This, I assume, is largely because the new guidance further embeds design quality into the planning system.

CABE's commentary notes that 'mediocre is not enough'. So, is this a bright new world? In my view, PPS1 presents a challenging opportunity for us all:

l Local Authority fficers nd members will need to establish ways of setting the bar even higher during negotiations and decisions on design quality.

l Architects will need to dig deeper for better solutions and creative ideas. Here in Birmingham we sample a huge volume of planning applications which, on first viewing, too often fall short of the basics in terms of urban design, architecture and sustainable place-making. Too many architects seem to have lost their spirit.

l Clients will need to heed the principle of placing design very high on their agendas and resolve to hold it there.

l Universities should find ways of helping their students, especially in architecture, to build a greater appreciation of the planning process.

Let's see if PPS1 does make a difference.

Philip Singleton, RIBA city design adviser, Birmingham City Council Planning

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