On the 20 July 2021, the Government published a revised version of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) along with the National Model Design Code (NMDC). According to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick MP, beautiful, environmentally sustainable, and life-enhancing communities are to be at the centre of widespread planning changes.

It is clear that far greater emphasis than ever before will now be placed on quality and design in the planning system and as such there are substantial revisions, in particular, to Chapter 12 of the NPPF (Achieving Well-Designed Places) along with, to the doubtless disappointment of many academic planners, a series of revisions to the paragraph numbers within the document.  

Along with the revisions comes an expectation, at Paragraph 128, that all local planning authorities should prepare design guides or codes consistent with the principles set out in the National Design Guide and National Model Design Code to agree design standards locally. These design guides and codes should be prepared with effective community engagement, reflecting local ambitions for development, and can be prepared at an area-wide, neighbourhood or site-specific scale. As mentioned in our previous article on ‘Our Thoughts on the National Model Design Code Consultation’ we expect community engagement on the detail of a guide or code to be challenging based on the technical nature of such documents.

With beauty now at the heart of the planning system and with the national drive towards environmental sustainability we see the introduction at Paragraph 131 of a commitment to ensure that new streets are tree-lined. The revised document seeks to ensure that all plans mitigate climate change and adapt to its effect, pushing for a move to a low carbon economy.

With an emphasis on the need to plan for sustainable transport, the revisions to Chapter 9 (Promoting Sustainable Transport) encourage the provision of attractive and well-designed walking and cycling networks. Whilst the general direction of travel is welcomed, especially with specific reference now made to the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development (Paragraph 7), the question must be asked, have the revisions gone far enough to ensure that the Government’s commitment to ‘net zero’ carbon emissions by 2050 will be met?

What is clear from the Government’s latest planning changes is that development that is not well designed should be refused (as explicitly stated in Paragraph 134). However, design is subjective and as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so how the revised NPPF and the NMDC will in practice raise the bar for the delivery of good design at a national scale is unknown. Regardless, we see the sentiment behind the revisions as a positive shift and a definite step in the right direction.

For further information on the National Planning Policy Framework, or to speak to one of our Planning & Development professionals, please click here.

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  • Working on the Great West Quarter from the bid stage in 2003 through to the development’s completion in 2015
  • Securing permission for the first One Planet Living development in Brighton
  • Getting my head around quirky planning issues

Katy is a chartered planning and development surveyor with extensive experience working with private sector clients across London and the South East. Katy joined Planning Perspectives in 2002 before moving across to Carter Jonas with the rest of the team at the end of 2014. Katy advises on various forms of development but is particularly proficient advising on major residentially-led, mixed-use developments.  Her work ranges from providing quick pre-acquisition advice through to managing complex project teams through the planning process and beyond to implementation.  A significant proportion of her work involves adding value to redundant employment sites through complex Section 106 negotiations, transforming such sites into exciting new destinations.

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David is a Partner in the Planning & development team and is based in our Chapel Place office.

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Peter is a chartered town planner with over 30 years experience. He was a graduate at Healey and Baker and a Director of DTZ. He set up Planning Perspectives in 1997 which was bought by Carter Jonas in December 2014. He provides planning and development advice to private sector clients (including landowners, occupiers, developers and investors) to help unlock the potential of difficult sites and maximise the value of complex mixed use schemes and regeneration opportunities. He has experience in the retail sector having secured permission for - 1.5 million sq ft of food retail floorspace and 750,000 sq ft of on-line distribution space; a business park; industrial and distribution schemes; HQ office buildings; hotels, and educational buildings. He advises a number of golf clubs and has recently obtained permission for a major golf course and luxury hotel. In terms of residential development he is promoting a strategic allocation and has obtained permission for a retirement village, small housing schemes and numerous private houses. He has worked on a number of highly constrained sites, including obtaining permission for a large foodstore on a listed quayside within a World Heritage Site. He has advised on a number of developments involving listed buildings or located within the Green Belt, AONBs and Conservation Areas.

Outside the office Peter is to be found on Woking Golf Course (or any other quality course he has not played previously). He is on the Golf Committee of the Lord’s Taverners and a supporter of Harlequins RFC. 

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Alister is a chartered town planner with over 15 years' experience, gained across the residential, commercial, industrial, education and retail sectors mainly for private landowners and developers. He had a brief spell in the public sector with Canterbury City Council at the start of his career and joined Planning Perspectives in 2001 before moving across with the rest of the Planning Perspectives team to Carter Jonas at the end of 2014. His professional career has largely been focused in London and around the south east of England working on residentially-led, mixed-used schemes, commercial/industrial schemes and large scale energy/infrastructure projects on brownfield land. He was also been involved in successfully promoting education facilities in the Green Belt.

Outside of work, Alister has a keen passion for all sports including football, golf and cricket. Although, this is now more in a watching capacity as his three young children (including twins) have forced him into early playing retirement.

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Jess is based in the Chapel Place office, joining the team from Planning Perspectives. She graduated from the London School of Economics with a Masters in Urbanisation and Development and has worked in planning consultancy since 2007. Jess has experience in negotiating a range of residential, leisure, industrial and mixed-use planning applications and been successful with a number of small residential appeals across the country. In addition, she provides strategic planning advice to clients on their property portfolios. Her clients include a variety of house builders, developers, investors and individuals.

Previously a synchronised swimmer, Jess is always on the hunt for the perfect outdoor pool in a tropical climate.

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Nick is a chartered town planner and development surveyor with over 25 years' experience, gained across the residential, commercial, retail and industrial sectors for corporate, institutional and private landowners and developers. He has worked at CBRE and Drivers Jonas Deloitte. His professional experience is in three main sectors – Strategic Land / Projects, Retail / Mixed-Use and Central London. Strategic Projects / Land involves the promotion of land for commercial and residential development for landowners and developers. Retail / Mixed-Use schemes are a blend of edge of centre and town centre mixed-use schemes with food stores and other uses, often residential. This sector includes regeneration and waterside schemes. Central London focuses on projects from Canary Wharf to Hammersmith and Camden down to Wandsworth, Southwark and Lambeth.

When he isn’t working, Nick can be found playing golf (increasingly badly) and spending time re-stocking and emptying his wine cellar to indulge his passion for wine.

Sarah Cox is a skilled and experienced chartered town planner with over 20 years’ experience. She has experience in managing the planning process on residential, mixed-use, commercial and leisure developments in a variety of locations on behalf of a diverse client base including developers, investment funds, social housing provider landowners and public companies.

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Emma has been a member of the Royal Town Planning Institute (MRTPI) since 2008 and joined Carter Jonas in 2010 having previous experience in multidisciplinary private practice.

Emma provides advice to clients on all aspects of town and country planning including the development potential of land and property in urban and rural areas. Preparing and negotiating planning applications and appeals for residential, business and leisure schemes.

She also provides strategy advice to Estates in the form of Estate Appraisals in which she identifies sites and buildings with development potential and an appropriate strategy to realise this in the short, medium and long term.

This includes land and buildings in urban, rural and Green Belt areas.  Emma has also been involved in the preparation and submission of various representation to facilitate the promotion of land through the Local Development Framework process.

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Steven is Partner and Head of Planning Southern Region and is based in our Oxford office.

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Huw is a Partner in the Planning & Development team and is based in our Oxford office.

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Nicky is a Partner in the Planning & Development team and is based in our Oxford office.

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Colin is a Partner and was appointed Head of Planning & Development Division in November 2020, he is based out of our Cambridge office.  He has over 25 years’ experience of planning consultancy and has a broad sphere of work.  He acts for a wide range of private, institutional and developer clients and has worked on significant planning applications and appeals.

He regularly instructs Counsel, and has appeared at a number of Local Plan examinations and in Section 78 and other appeals where he has often given evidence.  He carries out much land promotion work and has a strong track record of delivering planning consents taking projects through their entire process from site identification to construction on site.  

Away from work, Colin is Chairman of the Cambridge Forum for the Construction Industry and of the Cambridge branch of networking group, Interact.  He is also Chairman of the Dining Rights Committee at the Hawks’ Club, a sporting club in the City for Cambridge University sportsmen. He is a regular, if poor golfer, a keen cyclist and a committed, but somewhat less dangerous skier than he once was.

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Mark is a Chartered Town Planner with 30 years’ broad experience of the planning system in both Local Government and Consultancy. He has acted for local planning authorities, landowners, developers and house building companies in the promotion and control of development. He has a particular interest and experience in the strategic promotion of land for development, housing and commercial, through the development plan system; the preparation of evidence and appearance at Examination in Public and Planning Appeals; the preparation and submission of major planning applications, including EIA; S106 negotiations; project management; and as an Expert Witness in the High Court and at Tribunals. He is a Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute and an Associate of the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment.

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Richard is a Partner within the Carter Jonas' Eastern Region Planning Team. His planning expertise covers residential, commercial and mixed-use projects, with involvement in the submission and delivery of major planning applications, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) preparation, site appraisals, planning appeals and site promotions through the Local Plan process.
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Justin is a Partner for the Eastern Region.   He has approximately 19 years of planning experience and specialises in residential, commercial and mixed use planning applications, dealing with a wide range of planning-related work including site appraisals and feasibility studies; applications relating to commercial, education, residential and student schemes; planning and enforcement appeals; S106 negotiation and the discharge of conditions; development plan representations; and providing general planning advice. Justin advises clients from a diverse sector range including private residential and commercial developers (national, regional and local), education institutions, commercial organisations and private landowners. He has experience in both the public and private sector dealing with a range of development schemes.  He is a Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute. 

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Paul is an Associate Partner and works as a Planner within the Eastern Region Planning and Development Team based in Cambridge.  As a Chartered Town Planner and a Member of the RTPI, Paul has over 13 years experience working in both the public and private sector.  Paul carries a diverse case load ranging from small scale private residential developments through to large scale mixed use schemes and the promotion of Strategic Urban Extensions.  With experience of residential, leisure and commercial developments, Paul has a proven track record in project managing consultant teams and securing complex planning approvals. Paul also has experience in promoting sites through the Local Plan process, contesting planning appeals and processing enforcement action cases. 

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Matt is an Associate based in Cambridge and is a Chartered Town Planner with more than 10 years’ planning experience in both the public and private sector. Matt’s main area of expertise lies in development management and he has prepared and secured planning permission for all types and size of development proposals ranging from householder extensions to strategic residential and commercial schemes. Accordingly Matt’s Project Management skills are highly developed with respect to the preparation and submission of planning applications. Matt’s past experience in the public sector has meant that he has acted as an Expert Witness at Planning Inquiry and is well experienced with the wider appeals process in general. Matt also has experience working in the field of conservation and thus is able to advise clients in respect of development proposals affecting listed buildings and heritage assets.

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Peter is an Associate working out of the firm’s Eastern Region office in Cambridge. He has over 8 years’ experience, all of which has been spent in the private sector. He works across a wide spectrum of planning areas but with an emphasis on planning applications and appeals for a range of residential, commercial and mixed use developments. Peter project manages schemes on behalf of both public and private sector clients and has an excellent reputation for timely advice, prompt action and positive results. Peter also has an Urban Design qualification and provides advice on design matters and prepares Design and Access Statements to accompany planning applications.

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Suzy Birdseye is an experienced strategic town planner with a proven track record in site promotion, delivering strategic greenfield residential and mixed-use urban extensions across the southwest, Gloucestershire and west midlands. She can provide advice on planning consultancy, site appraisal and development potential.

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Neal Allcock is a partner and joined Carter Jonas in January 2021 as head of the firm’s Midlands planning team, based in the Birmingham office. A specialist in large-scale projects and urban redevelopment and regeneration, Neal has delivered a number of strategic development projects for a variety of clients. With over 15 years of planning experience including at urban and rural local planning authorities, Neal has extensive and varied knowledge of projects across residential (including BTR and PBSA), infrastructure, retail and commercial/industrial sectors.

Neal advises clients on a diverse range of planning matters across the region including tall buildings, town centre regeneration, brownfield redevelopment and green belt proposals. He provides strategy on the planning approach for complex major development projects, preparation and submission of planning applications and representations to promote sites through the local plan process.

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