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RIBA and CABE fighting threat to 'inspired' country house guidance

CABE and the RIBA are set to put pressure on the government to abandon its plans to revise Planning Policy Guidance Note 7 (PPG 7).

As revealed in the AJ last week, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is set to close the loophole in PPG 7 that allows for a large country house to be built on open countryside if the design is 'truly outstanding'.

But RIBA president Paul Hyett said he would be lobbying planning minister Lord Rooker for a meeting to discuss the controversial proposal as a matter of urgency.

Hyett said it was a 'great shame' that the government was planning to withdraw the 'inspired piece of guidance'.

John Gummer, who drew up the clause when environment minister in the Conservative government, 'had the most sophisticated appreciation of the value of design and architecture and its potential to enhance the landscape, 'Hyett said.

'Where would Creek Vean be without the outstanding house designed by Su and Richard Rogers?' he asked.

And Hyett added that Gummer had intentionally left out any reference to architectural style in order to encourage the best in both contemporary and Classical design.

CABE said this week it will be adding its voice to the protests.

Director of design review Peter Stewart said the commission would make clear its opposition once the draft revision of PPG 7, to be renamed PPS 7, goes out to public consultation in the summer.

Stewart said the clause should be retained but also clarified. Other factors should be taken into consideration, such as whether a house has previously stood on the site, he said.

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