Tall Buildings: Advice on plan-making, submitting, assessing and deciding planning proposals

Consultation by English Heritage and Design Council on good practice in relation to tall buildings in the local plan and development management process. This advice is for applicants, local authorities and interested parties and updates previous guidance by English Heritage and CABE.

This consultation is on advice on planning proposals for tall buildings has been produced in accordance with the NPPF. Relevant policies contained within this framework and addressed in the guidance include:

  • the contribution of the planning system to the achievement of sustainable development;
  • high quality design
  • enhancement and improvement of places in which people live their lives
  • conservation of heritage.

Advice is given on how tall buildings fit into the context of local plans. For site-specific policies, the need for effective engagement with local communities and the proper regard to national planning policies are covered. In the capital local planning authorities will need to take into account policies in the London Plan on tall buildings and on the management of views in the London View Framework. Where a tall building is likely to have an impact beyond a local authority’s boundary, there will be a requirement to consult relevant authorities as part of the ‘duty to cooperate’. The advantages of including tall building policies in local plans are listed.

It is recommended that the potential impact of buildings of various heights and forms is modelled to assess their effect on context and more widely including neighbouring areas beyond the local authority boundary. In addition, careful assessment of any cumulative effects in relation to other concurrent tall building proposals may be needed.

The factors that make for a successful Urban Design Framework are listed. Reasons are given for why, before making a planning application, applicants should discuss proposals, with the local planning authority and other relevant parties.

Design and Access Statements and the requirements of environmental impact assessments are briefly covered.

When seeking planning permission for tall buildings, the following criteria are given as needing to be fully addressed:

  • architectural quality of the building;
  • sustainability of the design and construction;
  • credibility of the design;
  • contribution to public space and facilities;
  • effect on the local environment;
  • well-designed inclusive environment.

The local planning authority (LPA) will need to be satisfied that a thorough assessment has been carried out. Considerations by the LPA could include whether Government policy on the historic environment has been met, the impact on world heritage sites, whether Government policy on design issues has been met and transport issues.

Date: 15/10/2014 Date of publication

Author: English Heritage and Design Council

DCP link: This item updates DCP section 14.1361

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