Planning Portal

PPS 1: General Principles
Annex 3: Design

  1. Development plans will set out design policies against which development proposals are to be considered. Policies will be based on a proper assessment of the character of the surrounding built and natural environment, and will take account of the defining characteristics of each local area, for example local or regional building traditions and materials. The fact that a design or layout is appropriate for one area does not mean it is appropriate everywhere. Plan policies will avoid unnecessary prescription or detail and concentrate on guiding the overall scale, density, massing, height, landscape, layout and access of new development in relation to neighbouring buildings and the local area more generally.
  2. Development plans may refer to supplementary design guidance, including local design guides and site specific development briefs, which can usefully elucidate and exemplify plan policies, thereby giving greater certainty to all those involved in the design and development process. Where appropriate, such guidance will also explain how relevant general advice, including that relating to the design of roads and footways, is to be interpreted and applied at a local level in order to take account of the character of each area. Supplementary design guidance may usefully include advice about matters such as lighting and materials, where these are likely to have a significant impact on the character or quality of the existing environment.
  3. Applicants for planning permission will be required, as a minimum, provide a short written statement setting out the design principles adopted as well as illustrative material in plan and elevation. This material will show the wider context and not just the development site and its immediately adjacent buildings. Inclusion of relevant perspective views can also be of value. Such material will be particularly important in relation to complex or large-scale development proposals, and those involving sensitive sites. For straightforward or smallscale proposals, this level of detail is unlikely to be necessary. Instead, illustrative material might simply comprise photographs of the development site and its surroundings, drawings of the proposed design itself and, where appropriate, plans of the proposed layout in relation to neighbouring development and uses.
  4. Applicants are encouraged to consult at an early stage with those, including local planning offices, who may be expected to have a relevant and legitimate interest in the design aspects of their development proposals. Where applicants do so, local planning offices will respond constructively by giving clear indications of their design expectations. Careful and early consideration of design issues can speed up the planning process by helping to make proposals for development acceptable thereby helping to avoid costly delay later.
  5. The use of conditions or planning agreements can be helpful in securing a high quality of design. Where design aspects of an approved development proposal are subject to conditions or are subject to planning agreements, development that results from the grant of planning permission must comply with the approved design, unless subsequent changes to the design are justified, and are authorised by the Department.
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