A bid to embed ‘good design’ in the new Planning Bill has fallen on deaf ears, despite a plea from Richard Rogers in the House of Lords yesterday.
Rogers voiced his support for a group of amendments, tabled by a cross-party design caucus led by former architecture minister Lord Haworth, to impose a series of duties during the planning of major infrastructure projects to consider ‘high-quality design’.
However, Baroness Andrews, who is overseeing the passage of the bill – currently at committee stage and aims to create a new system for approving schemes such as bridges, harbours and recycling centres – emphatically rejected the proposed changes claiming the existing Planning Policy Statements were sufficient.
She said: ‘Planning policy statements are not optional, they are law…and they are there for a purpose.
‘PPS1 which is the overarching has specific references to design and sustainability. [They] are paramount and should be followed.’
In the debate, Lord Haworth argued for the phrase ‘good design’ to be explicitly included ‘on the face of the bill’, as well as for the introduction of design review panels in every region and for the panels’ comments to hold weight at appeal. He claimed the moves would help speed up the planning process and stop design being the first casualty of spending cutbacks.
He went on to say: ‘The government should take an appropriate lead on high quality design.
‘[It] wants a great deal of infrastructure to be built rapidly…but with scarcity of capital and weakened financial confidence , there are more pressures on time and finance and the more important for [Communities and Local Government] builds in safeguards to stop cutting corners on design quality.’
See Richard Rogers speaking in the Lords: www.parliamentlive.tv