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Prince and select committee give planners a bashing

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The Urban Design Alliance has welcomed a report by mps criticising the lack of planning action by the detr and is calling for more leadership on urban design.

The alliance, formed by Terry Farrell, agreed with the House of Commons Environment select committee inquiry into a draft of the new ppg3. It called for 'the 1960s mind-set' of planners to be changed and for ppg3 to be worded much more powerfully. 'The ugliness and banality of much housing development since the war is a most depressing feature of English cities,' last week's report said. Without more specific guidance planners would be unable to implement the ppg, or would use its vagueness as an excuse for not taking the necessary action.

Dr Stephen King, policy officer at the alliance, said: 'At present planning is like an adversarial legal process, rather than a coming together of professionals and the community to ease plans through. This has to be done at the start rather than coming along later with a judging mentality.'

He agreed with remarks by Prince Charles that the 1960 mind-set was an obstacle to improvement. The Prince met some of the mps at St James's Palace and blamed professional attitudes and homebuilders for producing 'horrid houses'.

Some of PPG3's recommendations included:

A much-needed review of compulsory purchase powers which the government must publish as a matter of urgency.

An average density of not less than 30 homes per hectare for most authorities.

Imaginative solutions to car parking to be adopted by councils and developers.

A series of publicity events by the detr to promote a new Companion Guide to Design Bulletin 32 and the requirement for local planning authorities and developers to show on their planning applications how they have made use of it.

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