Countryscape worked with the Planning Co-operative on a Countryside Agency Demonstration Project, which aimed to translate the principles of the Derbyshire Landscape Character Assessment into criteria-based policies, forming a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). The project was supported by High Peak Borough Council, Derbyshire County Council and the Peak District National Park Authority.
The resulting guidance covers all rural areas of the High Peak and provides positive policies that uphold and increase the standard of development, and encourage developers to consider and respond to the distinctive landscapes of the High Peak Borough.
The SPD won the Rural Areas and Natural Environment Award at the 2006 Royal Town Planning Institute Awards. It was praised for being highly visual, clear and concise whilst not being too prescriptive. The judges report states that they “were impressed with the originality of the methodology, the thoroughness of the approach, its positive use of the best features of the new planning system, the quality of the document with its emphasis on visual material to support clear and concise text, as well as its potential for adoption in many other parts of the country.”
This work has also been recognised as an example of best practice regarding planning departments using external consultants to expand capacity (Audit Commission, 2006, The Planning System - Matching Expectations and Capacity).
The planning document gives clear policy advice that can be easily understood by applicants and officers alike, to make sure that future developments help to keep the High Peak and its landscapes special. Hilary Senior, Senior Planning Officer, High Peak Borough Council