Ministerial Statement: Quality Initiative
The Quality Initiative
I turn now to what I term the ‘Quality Initiative’. By that I mean the quality of development which will be expected in the future – particularly in relation to new housing.
My colleague, John Gummer, as Secretary of State for the Environment, has launched a similar “Quality Initiative” in England and Wales with the aim of raising awareness of the importance of good design and quality in the built environment.
I want to see an improvement in environmental quality and good layout design. I would like to see new layouts incorporating formal open space, walks and cycleways. I would like to see more planting, and the return of tree-lined avenues in new development. I would like to see layouts that support public transport provision. All of these call for the comprehensive planning and design of sites which are big enough to deliver a new standard of quality. Fragmented edge-of-city development should become a thing of the past.
I am today calling upon the Planning Service to secure a higher quality of design, layout and landscaping than that which has been delivered, particularly on Greenfield sites, in the recent past.
It is already government policy that anyone wishing to develop land should bear the cost of necessary associated roadworks and any other consequences for the public purse arising from that development, and existing development plans must be interpreted accordingly. But this new emphasis on design quality and sustainability means that from now on the actual scheme will be as important as the site in the granting of planning permission. An illustration of the kind of layout I have in mind is included with your papers.
To enable a large-scale development to proceed, developers will be expected to enter into formal agreements with the Department to guarantee that the package proposed will be delivered. The Department will bring forward further advice in the use of planning agreements in due course.