Bovis Homes' plan for 2,200 homes and 66,000m2 of commercial space at the North Field site was rejected in June by then communities secretary Ruth Kelly over a lack of detail on design.
Barton Willmore director Simon Prescott, who advised Bovis, said this was the first opportunity for the DCLG to apply revised guidance on large schemes. The firm initially submitted a 135-page design statement but the inspector and secretary of state sought more details at the outline stage.
Kelly's move resulted in questions being raised by the industry over the purpose of outline planning applications (Planning, 14 September, p1).
Prescott said the case is a practical example of how to structure design proposals. "Developers are now asked if their applications are North Field-compliant," he added.
The approved application contains a site-wide masterplan with sample layouts and elevations rather than a fixed design for all the properties.
ATLAS advised on the scheme, helping secure approval in five months after it had taken three-and-a-half years up to the appeal.