PPS 6 (Addendum): Areas of Townscape Character
Policy ATC 2
Justification and Amplification
2.6 It is important to protect the distinctive character and intrinsic qualities of Areas of Townscape Character (ATCs). Sensitive planning controls are therefore necessary to ensure that both the individual and cumulative effects of development do not detract from the character, appearance and quality of these areas.
2.7 Designation as an ATC puts an onus on prospective developers to produce a high standard of design, which respects and is sympathetic to the particular qualities of the area in question. Notwithstanding the acceptability of proposals in terms of other planning issues, the Department will operate a presumption against development that would detract from or fail to maintain the character of the distinct townscape displayed within an ATC.
2.8 In effect, new development in an ATC should seek to reinforce local identity and promote quality and sustainability in order to respect and, where possible, enhance the distinctive character and appearance of the area. In assessing the acceptability of proposals, the Department will have regard to the same broad criteria outlined for Conservation Areas in paragraphs 7.6-7.10 of PPS 6 (these are reproduced in Annex A).
2.9 The Department will give sympathetic consideration to development proposals within an ATC for people with disabilities or others whose mobility is impaired. If imaginative and innovative design approaches are fully explored the Department believes it is possible to provide satisfactory solutions to such proposals, without compromising the character and built form of these areas.
2.10 Proposals for residential development are also subject to the provisions of Policy QD 1 of PPS 7 'Quality Residential Environments'. This includes specific reference to ATCs and advises that in such areas: "housing proposals will be required to maintain or enhance their distinctive character and appearance. In the primarily residential parts of these designated areas proposals involving intensification of site usage or site coverage will only be permitted in exceptional circumstances."
2.11 As each ATC has its own distinct character and intrinsic qualities, the Department will draw up supplementary planning guidance for individual ATCs. This, together with any local policies formulated, will normally be incorporated into the relevant development plan and will be taken into account as a material consideration in assessing development proposals.
2.12 In addition, the Department would draw attention to other best practice conservation guidance and codes that can assist developers and their professional advisors in preparing proposals affecting buildings within an ATC. For example, British Standards (BS) 7913 : 'The Principles of the Conservation of Historic Buildings'.
2.13 In view of the potential impact a development proposal may have in an ATC, the Department will generally require detailed drawings to accompany all planning applications. Where appropriate, the Department will use its powers contained in the General Development Order to request applicants to supply such additional information on the proposed development as is considered necessary to allow proper determination. This may include a design concept statement.