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Bulletin 35
L.B. Southwark
Canada Water Development Brief
Appendix 16 – Glossary
February 2002
Urban Initiatives
Accessibility The ability of people and/or goods and services to reach places and facilities. Accessibility can be shown on a plan or described in terms of pedestrian and vehicle movements, walking distance from public transport, travel time or population distribution.

Active Frontage Provided by a building or other feature whose use is directly visible or accessible from the street or space which it faces; the opposite effect to a blank wall.

Adaptability The capacity of a building or space to respond to changing social, technological, economic and market conditions.

Advertisement A sign, board, notice or word (whether illuminated or not) announcing the selling of goods or services, or giving public information, as defined in the Town and Country Planning Control of Advertisements Regulations 1992.

Amenity Something that contributes to an area’s social, economic or cultural needs.

Article 4 Direction A power available under the Town and Country Planning Act (General Permitted Development Order) 1995 allowing a planning authority to restrict ‘permitted development rights’. This extends planning control to certain kinds of development which do not normally require planning permission. Article 4 Directions are most commonly used in conservation areas. Article 4 (2) Directions can be introduced by a local planning authority without the approval by the Secretary of State.

Barrier An obstacle to movement.

Building elements Doors, windows, cornices and other features which contribute to the overall design of a building.

Building envelope guidelines Diagram(s) with dimensions showing the possible site and massing of a building.

Building line The line formed by the frontages of buildings along a street. The building line can be shown on a plan or section.

Bulk The combined effect of the arrangement, volume and shape of a building or group of buildings. Also called massing.

Call-in The Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions Development can call in for his own decision any proposal which he regards as sufficiently important.

Character assessment/appraisal An area appraisal emphasising historical and cultural associations.

Conservation Area An area designated by a local authority under the Town and Country Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as possessing special architectural or historical interest. The council will seek to preserve or enhance the character and appearance of such areas.

Conservation area character appraisal A published document defining the special architectural or historic interest which warranted the area being designated.

Context The setting of a site or area.

Context (or site and area) appraisal A detailed analysis of the features of a site or area (including land uses, built and natural environment, and social and physical characteristics) which serves as the basis for an urban design framework, development brief, design guide or other policy or guidance.

Corporate strategy Any official expression of the overall aims of a local authority or other organisation.

Countryside design summary Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) prepared by a local authority to encourage a more regionally and locally based approach to design and planning.

Density The mass or floorspace of a building or buildings in relation to an area of land. Density can be expressed in terms of plot ratio (for commercial development); habitable rooms per hectare (for residential development); site coverage plus the number of floors or a maximum building height; space standards; or a combination of these.

Design audit An independent assessment of a design, carried out for a local authority by consultants, another local authority or some other agency.

Design brief Site-specific briefs or development briefs. Site-specific briefs are also called a variety of other names, including design briefs, planning briefs and development frameworks. There are no standard definitions or practices as to what these include. As design is now officially recognised as an integral part of planning, there is no need for separate planning and design briefs.

Design guide A document providing guidance on how development can be carried out in accordance with the design policies of a local authority or other organisation. Design guides are issued by some counties, by many district and unitary authorities.

Design policy Relates to the form and appearance of development, rather than the land use.

Design principle An expression of one of the basic design ideas at the heart of an urban design framework, design guide, development brief or design code. Each such planning tool should have its own set of design principles, adapted for the purpose from the body of knowledge about how design principles can help to create successful places.

Design statement A pre-application design statement is made by a developer to indicate the design principles on which a development proposal in progress is based. It enables the local authority to give an initial response to the main issues raised by the proposal. A planning application design statement sets out the design principles that the planning applicant has adopted in relation to the site and its wider context, as required by PPG1.

Detailed planning application Seeks permission for all aspects (or all aspects not yet approved) of a development.

Development Statutorily defined under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as ‘the carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operation in, on, over or under land, or the making of any material change in the use of any building or other land’. Most forms of development require planning permission.

Development brief A document, prepared by a district or unitary authority, a developer, or jointly by both, providing guidance on how a site of significant size or sensitivity should be developed. Site-specific briefs are also called a variety of other names, including planning briefs, design briefs and development frameworks. There are no standard definitions or practice as to what these include. As design is now recognised as an integral part of planning, there is no need for separate planning and design briefs.

Development control The process through which a local authority determines whether (and with what conditions) a proposal for development should be granted planning permission.

Development form See form.

Development framework See development brief.

Development plan Every area is covered either by a unitary development plan or by a development plan comprising more than one document (a structure plan and a local plan, and sometimes also other plans relating to minerals and waste). The development plan sets out the policies and proposals against which planning applications will be assessed.

Elevation Diagrammatic drawing of any of a building’s facades.

Enclosure The creation of a sense of defined space by its surrounding buildings.

Energy efficiency The result of minimising the use of energy through the way in which buildings are constructed and arranged on site.

Environmental assessment A process, involving the systematic review of a proposed development, which leads to an environmental statement. Information is presented in a form which provides a focus for public scrutiny and enables the development’s likely effects (and the scope for modifying or mitigating them) to be evaluated before a planning decision is given.

Fenestration The arrangement of windows on a facade.

Form The layout (structure and urban grain), density, scale (height and massing), appearance (materials and details) and landscape of development.

General Permitted Development Order (GPDO) The GPDO grants permission for certain defined classes of development, mainly of a minor character. The most commonly used class permits a wide range of small extensions or alterations to dwelling houses.

Grain See urban grain.

Height The height of a building can be expressed in terms of a maximum number of floors; a maximum height of parapet or ridge; a maximum overall height; any of these maximum heights in combination with a maximum number of floors; a ratio of building height to street or space width; height relative to particular landmarks or background buildings; or strategic views.

Human scale Development is of a human scale if its size, position and details relate to passers-by in a way that makes them feel comfortable rather than intimidated.

In-curtilage parking Parking within a building’s site boundary, rather than on a public street or space.

Interpretation Explaining the historical, economic, social and cultural background to a building or place.

Image The overall visual impact of a place.

Infill development Building on a relatively small site between existing buildings.

Landmark A building or structure that stands out from the background buildings.

Landscape The appearance of land, including its shape, form, colours and elements, the way these (including those of streets) components combine in a way that is distinctive to particular localities, the way they are perceived, and an area’s cultural and historical associations. Landscape character can be expressed through landscape appraisal, and maps or plans.

Layout The way buildings, routes and open spaces are placed in relation to each other.

Layout structure The framework or hierarchy of routes that connect in the local area and at wider scales.

Legibility The degree to which a place can be easily understood by its users and the clarity of the image it presents to the wider world.

Listed building The Secretary of State for the Environment is required to compile lists of buildings of special architectural or historic interest for the guidance of local authorities in the exercise of their planning functions under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Listed Buildings are graded according to their importance. Grade I buildings are of national importance, Grade II* have some national significance, and Grade II buildings (which form the majority of listed buildings) tend to be of more local importance. A listed building should not be demolished or altered in a way that affects its character as a listed building without permission (‘listed building consent’).

Live edge Provided by a building or other feature whose use is directly accessible from the street or space which it faces; the opposite effect to a blank wall.

Local Agenda 21 Local authority programme identifying what sustainable development means at local level.

Local distinctiveness The positive features of a place and its communities which contribute to its special character and sense of place.

Local plan Produced by districts and unitary authorities, local plans set out detailed policies and specific proposals for the development and use of land, and guide most day-to-day planning decisions. Design policies in a local plan set the framework for a local authority’s design control and guidance.

Massing The combined effect of the arrangement, volume and shape of a building or group of buildings. Also called bulk.

Material consideration A consideration that must be taken into account, where relevant, in a decision on a planning application. They include policies and guidance, and all the fundamental factors involved in land-use planning (including the form and appearance of buildings).

Mixed uses A mix of complementary uses within a building, on a site or within a particular area. ‘Horizontal’ mixed uses are side by side, usually in different buildings. ‘Vertical’ mixed uses are on different floors of the same building.

Mobility The ability of people to move round an area, including careers of young children, older people, people with mobility or sensory impairments, or those encumbered with luggage or shopping. Mobility can be expressed in policy and guidance in terms of compliance with statutory standards, and can be illustrated on plans.

Movement People and vehicles going to and passing through buildings, places and spaces. The movement network can be shown on plans, by space syntax analysis, by highway designations, by figure and ground diagrams, through data on origins and destinations or pedestrian flows, by desire lines, by details of public transport services, by walk bands or by details of cycle routes.

Natural surveillance (or supervision) The discouragement to wrong-doing by the presence of passers-by or the ability of people to see out of windows. Also known as passive surveillance (or supervision).

Open Space A participation technique enabling groups of people (as few as five or as many as 800, and over between one and five days) to identify common interests, discuss ideas, share information and experience, and organise themselves into continuing working groups focusing on specific topics. Future Search is a similar technique.

Outline planning application Permission for a limited range of matters relating to a proposed development, identifying others as reserved matters. Parking standards are usually expressed as the number of parking spaces per dwelling or in relation to office floorspace. They should include cycle parking and disabled parking. In certain developments no parking or only visitor parking will be required.

Passive surveillance (or supervision) The discouragement to wrong-doing by the presence of passers-by or the ability of people to see out of windows. Also known as natural surveillance (or supervision).

Performance criterion (pl. criteria) A means of assessing the extent to which a development achieves a particular functional requirement (such as maintaining privacy). This compares with a standard, which specifies more precisely how a development is to be designed (by setting out minimum distances between buildings, for example). The art of urban design lies in balancing principles which may conflict with one another. Standards demand to be met, and may be too inflexible to be of use in achieving a balance. Performance criteria, on the other hand, make no prior assumptions about the means of achieving a balance.

Permeability The degree to which an area has a variety of pleasant, convenient and safe routes through it.

Perspective Drawing showing the view from a particular point as it would be seen by the human eye.

Plan Drawing or diagram showing the layout of a building, buildings or spaces.

Planning system The arrangements by which central and local government carries out its statutory responsibility to regulate the development and use of land in the public interest.

Planning condition A condition imposed with a planning permission. A condition can make it possible to grant a planning application which would otherwise be refused.

Planning obligation A binding legal agreement between a local authority and a developer, or unilaterally by a developer, for the purpose of restricting or regulating a development or the use of land, under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Such Section 106 agreements are usually made in connection with the granting of planning permission, and may be used to enhance development proposals. They can ‘enable a property owner or overcome obstacles which would otherwise prevent planning permission from being granted’ (PPG1).

Planning permission Formal approval, usually by a local authority, often with conditions, allowing a proposed development to proceed. Full permissions are usually valid for five years. Outline permissions, where details are reserved for subsequent approval, are valid for three years.

Planning Policy Guidance Notes (PPGs) Government guidance on general and specific aspects of planning policy to be taken into account in formulating development plan policies and in making planning decisions.

Plot ratio A measurement of density expressed as gross floor area divided by the net site area.

Proactive development control Any process by which a local authority works with planning applicants to improve the quality of development proposals as early as possible in period before a planning application is submitted.

Proposals map A plan showing policies and proposals for the local authority area, based on an Ordnance Survey map. A proposals map is required to be included in a development plan by Section 12 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

Public art Permanent or temporary physical works created, selected or supervised by artists or craft workers for a building or site in a location visible to the general public, whether part of the building or free-standing. Public art includes sculpture, street furniture, paving, railings and signs.

Public domain The parts of a village, town or city (whether publicly or privately owned) that are available, without charge, for everyone to use or see, including streets, squares and parks. Also called public realm.

Public realm The parts of a village, town or city (whether publicly or privately owned) that are available, without charge, for everyone to use or see, including streets, squares and parks. Also called public domain.

Quality audit A review of its management of the design and planning process by a local authority or other organisation.

Regional planning guidance The Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions issues regional planning guidance as a broad but mandatory framework for structure plans and unitary development plans. Guidance normally follows the advice given to the Secretary of State by a regional planning conference, formed by unitary authorities and by county councils with representatives of their district councils. The more recent regional planning guidance notes (RPGs) cover design, among other planning issues. Some RPGs emphasise regionally important design issues to which local authorities should respond, while others set out a strategic framework for design policy.

Reserved matters Identified in an outline planning application as to be included in a later detailed planning application.

Road Vehicle or vehicle and pedestrian route without a significant amount of pedestrian activity generated by adjoining buildings and public spaces. Compare street.

Road hierarchy Categorisation of roads by function and intended traffic management treatment.

Route A road, footpath or cycleway (or a series of them) linking one place to another.

Safety The relative absence of threats, real or imagined, to people.

Scale The size of a building in relation to its surroundings, or the size of parts of a building or its details, particularly in relation to the size of a person. Scale can be expressed in relation to surrounding buildings, or in terms of a maximum length of frontage or facade, maximum dimensions of a street block, the type of development (terraced houses, for example), or a ratio of building height to street or space width.

Secretary of State The Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions is responsible to Parliament for operating the planning system at national level. The Secretary of State’s responsibilities include issuing national policy guidance, exercising the power to call in and decide on planning applications of major importance, and making decisions (with the Planning Inspectorate) on planning appeals. Several of the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Region’s planning policy guidance notes (PPGs), circulars and design bulletins advise on matters of design.

Section Drawing showing a slice through a building or site.

Section 106 agreement See planning obligation.

Security The relative absence of threat to property.

Sense of place An area with a distinctive identity or character

Settlement pattern The distinctive way that the roads, paths and buildings are laid out in a particular place.

Sight line The line of sight from a travelling vehicle. Sight lines will help to determine how fast vehicles are likely to move and how safe other road users are likely to be.

Strategic view The line of sight from a particular point to an important landmark or skyline.

Street A public space used as a pedestrian or pedestrian and vehicle route (with pavements or shared surfaces) on to which buildings or public spaces open. Compare road.

Street furniture Structures in and adjacent to the highway which contribute to the street scene, such as bus shelters, litter bins, seating, lighting and signs.

Streetscape The appearance of a street.

Structure plan The development plan produced by a county council, providing the strategic policy framework for planning and development control locally (though not in unitary authorities). They are based on projections of future need and demand, particularly for housing, employment and shopping, and they describe the needs for transport, schools and services. A structure plan may set out a strategic framework to guide design policies in local plans. A local plan must conform to the relevant structure plan.

Supplementary design guidance Supplementary planning guidance relating specifically to design. The term is not used in this manual (except in quoting from PPG1) as design is an integral part of planning.

Supplementary planning guidance (SPG) Additional advice provided by the local authority on a particular topic, related to and expanding on policies in a development plan. SPG includes urban design frameworks, development briefs, design guides and village design statements. It should be consistent with the plan (and cross-referenced to the relevant policy or proposal), prepared in consultation with the public, and formally approved by the council. SPG status gives guidance additional weight as a material consideration in the planning process.

Surveillance The discouragement to wrong-doing by the presence of passers-by or the ability of people to see out of windows.

Sustainable development Minimises its impact locally, regionally and globally, and on future generations. Defined by the Brundtland Commission (1987, and quoted in PPG1) as ‘Development which meets present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to achieve their own needs and aspirations’. The World Conservation Union (1991) defines sustainable development as ‘Improving the quality of life while living within the carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems’. See local agenda 21.

Telecommunications equipment Equipment (including satellite dishes) relating to any form of communication by electrical wire, optical cable or radio signals.

Teleworking People working at home using information technology. See homeworking.

Topography A description or representation of artificial or natural features on or of the ground.

Townscape The visual appearance of streets.

Tree preservation order (TPO) Made by the local authority under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to protect trees of importance for amenity, landscape and nature conservation.

Urban design The art of making places. Urban design involves the design of buildings, groups of buildings, spaces and landscapes, in villages, towns and cities, and the establishment of frameworks and processes which facilitate successful development.

Urban grain The pattern of the arrangement and size of buildings and their plots in a settlement; and the degree to which an area’s pattern of street-blocks and street junctions is respectively small and frequent, or large and infrequent.

Vernacular The way in which ordinary buildings were built in a particular place before local styles, techniques and materials were superseded by imports.

View What is visible from a particular point. Compare vista.

Vista A narrow view past a series of landmarks. Compare view.

Visual clutter The uncoordinated arrangement of street furniture, signs and other features.

Walk band A line on a map or plan showing the furthest distance that can be walked from a particular point at an average pace in a certain time (usually five or ten minutes).

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