Sunday20 August 2017

Eric Pickles emerges as design champion after rejecting 'poor' Persimmon scheme

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Communities secretary upholds refusal of permission for 200-home scheme on design grounds

Communities secretary Eric Pickles has signalled his willingness to reject poorly designed developments by upholding a Lancashire council’s refusal of permission for 200 homes.

Persimmon was refused permission for 203 homes in Colne by Pendle District Council in January this year but the house builder appealed the decision.

Giving his judgement this week, Pickles agreed with the decision to refuse permission and said poor design was the main factor.

Persimmon used an in-house team of architects for the scheme which Pickles said showed “little evidence of a design-led approach” and “little attempt to connect the housing into its countryside setting”.

The communities secretary also said the scheme would “fundamentally conflict” with the requirement for good design as set out in the national planning policy framework.

Brian Waters, principal at BWCP, said the decision would send a message to developers that hiring good architects provides value for money.

“It’s a big signal that it’s not enough to tick all the boxes,” he said. “It shows that house builders should employ architects capable of designing in accordance with local character.”

The decision to uphold refusal of permission was made despite Pickles stating that he had given “significant weight” to the fact that Pendle council had not identified a five-year supply of land for housing.

Pickles also noted that the council’s local plan was out of date but said the national planning policy framework is clear that “good design is noted as a key aspect of sustainable development”.

Persimmon said it would resubmit plans after taking into consideration the comments made about design of the scheme.

Peter Jordan, strategic land director at Persimmon, said: “It is unfortunate that the appeal has been dismissed, particularly as we had worked with the council to gain a recommendation for approval.

“This recommendation had, we thought, achieved the right balance between delivering the housing the area needs whilst dealing with the challenging topography of the site.

“The principle of development is accepted and it is our intention to work with the council to seek to address the design concerns via a revised submission within the next few months.”



Readers' comments (2)

  • Is this the same Eric Pickles who allowed the demolition of the Grade II listed Edwardian Wing of the Jessop's Hospital in Sheffield, and then its replacement with a hideous new design by RMJM?

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  • Sorry. The phrase "Eric Pickles" associated with the phrase "design champion" crashed my computer.

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