“How easy or difficult it is for developers to gain planning for tall buildings is always dictated by the regulations imposed by the planning process, which are, of course crucial to the management of change. These regulations are initially dealt with by bodies such as CABE and English Heritage and address conflicts, control short-term profit lead development and protect the interest of the wider public. The production of a thorough and robust planning application addresses these issues and when done properly, the process of the application often draws issues to the attention of the developer who has many opportunities to correct, adjust and improve the scheme.

“The biggest stumbling block any tall building development can have is with CABE and English Heritage. If they cannot be persuaded of the contextual suitability and design of a scheme, the developer can have an extremely rocky ride through the whole process. The architect, developer and planning consultant must put forward a very robust justification and rationalisation for tall buildings, and digital modelling is the only way to communicate their visual appearance.

“The Visual Impact Assessment (VIA) is often the first time that the developer fully understands the implications of a tall building development on the local area. The architect will have thoroughly justified the building within their design statement but it is only when the VIA is complete that everyone really understands the impact.

“With a digital modelling solution, the truth is told. Full surveys are undertaken, satellite data collected, and once the mass of the building has been digitally created and then verified, the full story is illustrated. Increasingly, planners require digital imaging for planning applications of any size, because they understand the accuracy of the data and the process that is undertaken.

“The main issue with producing these documents is that the planners must not be given a fait a complis. Companies such as Virtual Planit consult with the planners and produce a VIA that reflects any potential issues. Our models can be transported in a briefcase, on a laptop of course, and can quickly provide immediate feedback and context of particular views of a tall building development.

“In my opinion, if the developer has done his or her homework properly, and considered all the aspects and consequences of a tall building development, then they stand a much better chance of being embraced by regulation and planning, instead of being rejected by it.”

For further information, please contact Rachel McMaster at Roland Dransfield on 0161 236 1122 or rachel.mcmaster@rdpr.co.uk

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