Planning Advice Note 67: housing quality

Planning Advice Note (PAN) 67 explains how Designing Places should be applied to new housing.

Planning Advice Note PAN 67 Housing Quality

Our aspirations for Scotland's housing

Designing Places, published November 2001, sets out the Scottish Executive's aspirations for design and the role of the planning system in delivering them. This Planning Advice Note (PAN) explains how Designing Places should be applied to new housing.

Some of Scotland's recent new housing has been acclaimed for its high standard of design. Talented architects have complemented the streets and spaces of existing cities, towns and villages with designs that express a contemporary vision. At the same time, though, concerns have been expressed about the low design standards of much of the new (particularly volume) housing that has been built in recent years.

There is no single market for housing. Some buyers of new homes are enthusiasts for modern design and committed to urban living. Others are looking for a suburban lifestyle, in a house that looks reassuringly traditional, and they enjoy the mobility that one or more cars provide. Every type of buyer gives life to a part of the housing market. The challenge is to use the planning system to work with the market in producing results that are more likely to be admired in years to come. Planning cannot prescribe good architecture or guarantee successful places, but it can create conditions that make them more likely.

Homes for the Future, Glasgow
Moffat Gardens, Glasgow
Dalgety Bay, Fife

Role of the planning process

The planning process has an essential role to play in ensuring that:

  • the design of new housing reflects a full understanding of its context - in terms of both its physical location and market conditions
  • the design of new housing reinforces local and Scottish identity
  • new housing is integrated into the movement and settlement patterns of the wider area.

Oatlands, Glasgow

This aerial shot shows how Oatlands has been master planned to fit into Glasgow's wider context and surrounding area. Glasgow has a tradition of grand curved buildings edging the green spaces of the city.

West Mill, Edinburgh


This housing development has been designed to reflect traditional Scottish housing design. This gives the scheme a strong identity.

Adam Brae Parks, West Lothian


From the early master planning stages, the developers were keen to place an emphasis on maximising connection and accessibility through the housing development. All routes now make people feel safe when moving through the layout.

The goals of the planning system

The planning system has three goals: social justice, economic competitiveness and environmental quality. The planning process seeks to ensure that development is planned and designed so that it contributes to achieving them. The current emphasis on sustainability underlies how important this is, not just for us, but for future generations.

The concepts of social justice, economic competitiveness and environmental quality sound abstract, but they impact directly on the quality of our lives. The planning and design of development - and of housing in particular - is one of the many factors

that determine how far these qualities will be attained in a particular place. Housing is the largest single urban land use. The design, quality and character of what is built will play a large part in shaping our cities, towns, villages and rural places for decades to come.

The Scottish Executive is committed to using the planning system to create stability and certainty of land supply for housing. This is an important factor for the housebuilding industry in raising design standards. Creating high-quality residential environments is also a key Scottish Executive policy objective set out in SPP 3: Planning for Housing.

social justice economic competitiveness environmental quality


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