Scotland still undecided on “Permission in Principle” through Development Plans

Consultation on Future of Scottish Planning System

Note in Scotland “outline consent” has been replaced by “permission in principle” its just the same except that the ‘reserved matters’are left open.

We commissioned research to consider whether planning permission in principle should be attached to allocated sites within the development plan. The research has found that there is ‘conditional support’ for the proposed reform, but that this is ‘complex and nuanced.’ We have reservations about the amount of upfront work that would be needed to achieve this, and the implications arising for all those concerned as well as for development planning procedures. This would also need to be fully in line with and meet all European obligations for environmental assessment.__Whilst we agree that this approach has potential benefits, we are concerned that it may provide limited benefits which do not outweigh the extra time and complexity it would add. We would like to hear people’s views on whether this change would be either necessary or helpful, taking into account the research findings. We believe that a more strategic, zoning approach to housing allocations, such as improving the use of Simplified Planning Zones, could be a simpler way of strengthening the development plan and establishing the need for development at an early stage (see section 3).

What the Scottish Government has got which the English havn;t is that the benefits flow from a continental like ‘strategic zoning approach’ not grafting outline consent with all matters reserved at plan stage.  What the English have got which the Scottish haven’t is that Simplified Planning Zones are a complex, poor and inflexible choice for delivery of the instrument.  All that is needed is a structural plan with main roads and open spaces only which structures zoning districts with fixed quanta of development permitted per zoning district.  What is needed is a simple enabling power to allow development plans to grant such PiP.   Then one needs to make the distinction between what a zoning district is ‘zoned for’and whether subsequently every local road has been defined and land subdivided and building forms determined to state whether in international terms there has been ‘subdivision’consent and then ‘building consent’.

What I dont think both England and Scotland have to fully resolve is:

-What is the proper instrument for ‘strategic zoning'(structural consent”)

-What is the proper instrument for platting (parcel level subdivision)

-What is the proper instrument for building level consent?

Internationally we know the answers to this.  The place specific masterplan shows the form of change for the place and a form based zoning code sets down the rules for subdivision and building form based typologies.  For an excellent example see the new Green Code for Buffalo.

Schumacher Slams his own PR in Midnight Email to All Hadid Staff


When you get the urge to send an email to the entire company the best advice is usually to lie down.

Unfortunately for the boss of one of the world’s leading architects’ practices, the impulse to hit send has caused fresh embarrassment months after he advocated the end of all social housing.

“Hey, shit happens . . . and lessons are learned! Politics and professional service don’t mix,” Patrik Schumacher wrote at five minutes to midnight to everybody at Zaha Hadid Architects.

The design partner and succesor of Dame Zaha, who died last March, was responding to the firm’s decision not to back his “end social housing speech”.

At a conference in Germany last November, Mr Schumacher, 55, claimed that only free-market economics could provide “housing for everyone”.

So radical were his proposals, such as concreting over Hyde Park, privatising London’s public squares, and expelling council tenants to free up “precious” social housing for the likes of his own staff, that Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, called him “just plain wrong”.

His comments about overseas investors buying up property, noting that however short their visits “they throw some key parties”, and about “free-riding” council tenants shocked his audience of designers and developers and led to him being branded the Donald Trump of the profession.

A swift climb-down followed, with an open letter sent on behalf of his practice saying that the speech did not reflect the principles of Hadid. “Schumacher’s ‘urban policy manifesto’ does not reflect Zaha Hadid Architects’ past — and will not be our future,” the letter states.

Mr Schumacher, who has worked at the firm since 1988, responded to the letter with a rambling late-night email, entitled “all cool!!!” and claimed that Roger Howie, his PR man, had exceeded his authority by sending out the statement.

“Don’t worry, I am in charge and won’t let you down,” he wrote. “Roger unfortunately temporarily drowned in the quicksands of the media spin and issued a statement which had nobody’s endorsement except his very own.”

In the email leaked to The Architects’ Journal, Mr Schumacher laughs off rumours that he is leaving, “about to ‘stress test my libertarian ideology’. Hahahaha!!! Hey, there is at least still some humour out there” but apologises that staff had to face protests from anarchists as a result of a “phantasmagoric controversy that I regretfully enflamed with embarrassing innocence”.

There were protests outside his office after his speech in Berlin. “I hope the protest is peaceful! In any case please be careful and avoid confrontation — as broken teeth or similar calamities are to be avoided by all means,” he wrote.

“Patrik has the full support of everyone at ZHA,” Davide Giordano, a company spokesman, said.