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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Conversion of disused reservoir in Maresfield, England by G M Moore & Associates

 
May 19th, 2016 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: G M Moore & Associates

In the 1980’s my then 94 year old cousin on paying a visit to a 1970’s development in Pagham, West Sussex commented, “how do people ever find their way home; all the houses look the same”.  I was at a loss to provide him with a rational answer.

Image Courtesy © G M Moore & Associates

Image Courtesy © G M Moore & Associates

Image Courtesy © G M Moore & Associates

Image Courtesy © G M Moore & Associates

My design will certainly not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it has already received glowing support from Wealden Officers, has made my clients happy, and is receiving support in social media.

Different it is, and I certainly make no apologies for that.  Indeed, the NPPF States:

To promote sustainable development in rural areas, housing should be located where it will enhance or maintain the vitality of rural communities.  For example, where there are groups of smaller settlements, development in one village may support services in a village nearby.  Local planning authorities should avoid new isolated homes in the countryside unless there are special circumstances such as:

Image Courtesy © G M Moore & Associates

Image Courtesy © G M Moore & Associates

  • Where the development would re-use redundant or disused buildings and lead to an enhancement to the immediate setting or the exceptional quality or innovative nature of the design of the dwelling. Such a design should be truly outstanding or innovative helping to raise standards of design more generally in rural areas; reflect the highest standards in architecture; significantly enhance its immediate setting; and be sensitive to the defining characteristics of the local area.  Acceptance of design, like all art forms, is of course subjective.
  • Requiring good design: the Government attaches great importance to the design of the built environment. Good design is a key aspect of sustainable development, is indivisible from good planning, and should contribute positively to making places better for people.
Image Courtesy © G M Moore & Associates

Image Courtesy © G M Moore & Associates

  • It is important to plan positively for the achievement of high quality and inclusive design for all development, including individual buildings, public and private spaces, and wider area development schemes.
  • Local and neighbourhood plans should develop robust and comprehensive policies that set out the quality of development that will be expected for the area. Such policies should be based on stated objectives for the future of the area and an understanding and evaluation of its defining characteristics.  Planning policies and decisions should aim to ensure that developments will function well and add to the overall quality of the area, not just for the short term but over the lifetime of the development; establish a strong sense of place, using streetscapes and buildings to create attractive and comfortable places to live, work and visit; respond to local character and history, and reflect the identity of local surroundings and materials whilst not preventing or discouraging appropriate innovation; create safe and accessible environments where crime and disorder, and the fear of crime, do not undermine quality of life or community cohesion; and are visually attractive as a result of good architecture and appropriate landscaping.
Image Courtesy © G M Moore & Associates

Image Courtesy © G M Moore & Associates

  • Local planning authorities should consider using design codes where they could help deliver high quality outcomes. However, design policies should avoid unnecessary prescription or detail and should concentrate on guiding the overall scale, density, massing, height, landscape, layout, materials, and access of new development in relation to neighbouring buildings and the local area more generally.
  • Planning policies and decisions should not attempt to impose architectural styles or particular tastes and they should not stifle innovation, originality, or initiative through unsubstantiated requirements to conform to certain development forms or styles. It is, however, proper to seek to promote or reinforce local distinctiveness.
Image Courtesy © G M Moore & Associates

Image Courtesy © G M Moore & Associates

  • Although visual appearance and the architecture of individual buildings are very important factors, securing high quality and inclusive design goes beyond aesthetic considerations. Therefore, planning policies and decisions should address the connections between people and places and the integration of new development into the natural, built, and historic environment.
  • In determining applications, great weight should be given to outstanding or innovative designs which help raise the standard of design more generally in the area.
Image Courtesy © G M Moore & Associates

Image Courtesy © G M Moore & Associates

  • Permission should be refused for development of poor design that fails to take the opportunities available for improving the character and quality of an area and the way it functions.
  • Local planning authorities should not refuse planning permission for buildings or infrastructure which promote high levels of sustainability because of concerns about incompatibility with an existing townscape, if those concerns have been mitigated by good design. (This is unless the concern relates to a designated heritage asset and the impact would cause material harm to the asset or its setting which is not outweighed by the proposal’s economic, social and environmental benefits).
Image Courtesy © G M Moore & Associates

Image Courtesy © G M Moore & Associates

Image Courtesy © G M Moore & Associates

Image Courtesy © G M Moore & Associates

Image Courtesy © G M Moore & Associates

Image Courtesy © G M Moore & Associates

Image Courtesy © G M Moore & Associates

Image Courtesy © G M Moore & Associates

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