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Making an application

Before anyone submits an application they should do a little homework. Understanding the site, the neighbourhood, relevant planning policies, and of course the market and viability of the scheme can help ensure the application is realistic and relevant.

Click here to access our lesson on Planning process

Making balanced decisions about highways schemes

Reaching a balanced decision about streets projects means thinking about a range of issues including:
  • funding systems and opportunities
  • understanding your area as it exists; its qualities, how people use it and how it could be improved
  • considering if the project proposal is appropriate and well designed
This means considering both the quality of the existing area AND the qualities of the proposal. Assessing the existing area will help to show where improvements are needed and justify funding. Assessing the proposal and its likely outcomes should inform decisions to go ahead or alter its design.

Click here to access our lesson on Making balanced decisions about highways schemes

Making decisions

Local planning authorities aim to decide applications within either eight or 13 weeks depending on how complex they are. During this time they will consult with neighbours and statutory organisations (like the Environment Agency if there is a risk of flooding in the area).

Click here to access our lesson on Planning process

Managing design projects

A successful project needs a strong individual who provides leadership and is supported by a good team. Strong leadership is about vision, good decision-making and proper communications, all working within a robust and unified project structure.

Click here to access our lesson on Commissioning design work


Masterplans are pretty common at the moment and can be adopted as part of Area Action Plans (AAPs) or Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs). They tend to be more detailed than either frameworks or briefs.

A good masterplan can make a big difference to the long-term success of any area, but they can be time-consuming and expensive to produce. Most are commissioned to be drafted by consultants, either with the local authority or the land owner as client. Their quality relies on a good brief, good project management and a good masterplanning team. Impressive graphics do not necessarily create good masterplans!

Click here to access our lesson on Planning tools


Materials specification enables us to make judgement on whether the proposals enhance or detract from the local area. It's also a way of ensuring that contractors do not compromise or substitute for alternative materials, unless approved by the planning authority.

Click here to access our lesson on Technical drawings


When considering whether materials have been used appropriately, you need to ask:

1. Do the buildings or spaces meet performance requirements – such as insulation or absorption of runoff?

2. Has the scheme made use of advances in construction or technology that enhance its performance, quality and attractiveness?

3. Have details such as lighting, signage, shelters, seating, window and door details and so on been properly considered – or will they be?

4. Do internal and external spaces allow for adaptation, conversion or extension?

5. Will the scheme be capable of being well maintained? Are arrangements put in place for this?

Click here to access our lesson on Assessing the design components