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CABE's new tall buildings guidance out for consultation

The new draft tall buildings guidance from CABE and English Heritage (EH) has been put out for consultation.

The latest document overhauls the original 2003 guidance notes which, when first released, were criticised by the government for not going far enough (AJ 7.11.02).

According to the commission, the new guidance now reflects changes to the planning system and 'the experiences CABE and EH have had in evaluating planning applications for tall buildings.'

Among the more obvious additions is an extended section on how schemes next to World Heritage sites will be judged. There are also more detailed notes on the criteria for evaluating the credibility of designs, which include looking at the financial aspects of schemes to ensure that the 'high architectural quality required is not diluted throughout the process of procurement, detailed design and construction.'

Further changes of emphasis in the document call for local authorities to include specific tall-building policies in their development plans.

Selina Mason, director of architecture and design review at CABE, said: 'The number of planning applications for tall buildings is at an unprecedented level.

'These buildings need to be of excellent quality and properly planned as part of a clear long-term vision, not as ad-hoc, piecemeal projects.'

She added: 'In order to reach successful planning decisions about buildings that have such an impact on their surroundings, local authorities need to introduce specific tall buildings policies in their plans.'

Responses to the document - which can be found at www.cabe.org.uk/AssetLibrary/9332.pdf - must be received before 1 May 2007.

by Richard Waite

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