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Rejection for RIBA mandatory design review bid

Calls for developers to be forced to take on board comments from design review panels have been rejected by the government

But decentralisation minister Greg Clark advised that efforts to encourage good design will be included in the forthcoming national planning policy framework.

Labour MP Nick Raynsford, backed by the RIBA, tabled an amendment to the government’s Big Society centerpiece legislation imposing a duty on developers to consult with communities. 

A RIBA spokesman said the proposed changes would ‘give design review greater weight within the planning system’, pushing developers to use the service and, in turn ‘help promote design quality’.

Clark said: ‘My concern is that the one way to turn something that can be appreciated and make a positive addition to scrutiny into something that is resented and imposed on people is to make it mandatory and a burden that people reluctantly have to deal with.’

But he added: ‘The national planning policy framework seems to be a place in which good design ought to be advantaged, and applicants ought to know that if they submit a high-quality design, they are more likely to obtain planning permission than if they do not.’

Chris Brown of developer Igloo questioned the value of the proposed amendment. ‘Design review panels don’t deliver good buildings,’ he said.

But he also raised the need for measures to encourage good design, adding: ‘You need good clients and good designers and there is nothing in this bill that helps us along that road.’

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