Couldn't agree more with the above. Definition of parameters is what's really needed and perhaps a change of mindset at LPAs where instead of looking for any reason to refuse, an encouragement of good design and creative use of space would be better suited.
We had one refusal based on 'features not being necessary for the conversion of the building' so a stripped back (bland) scheme was submitted in it's place and subsequently approved. A good scheme within the 'rules' turned bland due to a desperate resistance by this particular LPA. Shame.