Planning Inspectorate Gives Significant Weight to Feedback from a Design Review Panel in Bedford...

We are delighted to report that the Planning Inspectorate has given significant weight to feedback given by a design review panel for a proposed paragraph 79 (e) house in Bedford (Bedford Borough Council reference 18/02520/FUL). Nicolas Tye Architects have secured planning permission at a planning appeal for the erection of one single storey dwelling in the countryside- (Appeal ref:- APP/K0235/W/19/3241508).

The local authority recommended that, prior to the submission of a planning application, the design was put to an appropriate design review panel to provide an independent , impartial, multidisciplinary design review.

The proposals were subject to a design review panel on three occasions and the first session incorporated a site visit. The consulted design review panel were ultimately very supportive, of what they considered to be a high-quality design stating:

"The most recent revisions to the scheme are positive individually and beneficial for the overall proposal, meeting the parameters set out in Paragraph 79 of the NPPF for sustainable development in rural areas."

It is excellent to see that the Planning Inspectorate has agreed with the views of a design review panel and given significant weight to feedback given.

The issues identified and considered by the Planning Inspector were:-

1. The main issue is whether or not the proposed design is of exceptional quality, as defined and required under paragraph 79(e) of the National Planning Policy Framework (February 2019) (the Framework), so as to justify the development of an isolated home in the countryside.

2. The inspector acknowledges that the Council, in their reason for refusing planning permission, has cited conflict with the development plan by virtue of the proposal not making a meaningful contribution to supporting the vitality and viability of services and facilities in nearby settlements. Nevertheless, it is the inspectors's interpretation of the Council’s case that these objections would fall away should it be found that the proposal accords with the requirements of paragraph 79(e) of the Framework.

Within the Planning Inspectors decision document, the inspector specifically gives significant weight to design review panel feedback, and states: -

“It was ultimately found [by a design review panel] that the scheme meets the exceptional quality threshold as set out in the Framework. Considering the ODRP’s [ design review panel] independent nature and standing, I attach significant importance to their advice and findings. ”

The Inspectors report goes on to concur with the design review panel guidance and feedback given during the pre-application design stage, stating: -

“I am satisfied that the proposal is truly outstanding. It reflects the highest standards in architecture and would raise standards of design in the local rural area. The proposal would significantly enhance its immediate setting whilst being sensitive to the defining characteristics of the area. The design is thus of exceptional quality, as defined and required under paragraph 79(e) of the National Planning Policy Framework (February 2019) (the Framework), so as to justify the development of an isolated home in the countryside.”

This appeal decision is an excellent example of the benefit of engaging with an independent, impartial, multidisciplinary and expert Design Review Panel as part of the early design/pre-application stage of a built environment project. A well-deserved result for the applicant and their design team who thoroughly and genuinely engaged in the design review process from the outset.

[For another example of the Planning Inspectorate giving the feedback from The Design Review Panel significant weight, please click here ...]


Blog written by Jonathan Braddick

Design Review Panel Manager &

Chartered Architect 2020



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