Councils have been much more able to refuse planning applications on design grounds since alterations to national planning policy made in 2020, according to the latest research.

A study by the Place Alliance found that since changes to the National Planning Policy Framework designed to prioritise good design, the proportion of local authority refusals which were subsequently overturned by the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) had dropped dramatically.

The research found that prior to the changes, many local authorities didn’t prioritise design because they felt that PINS wouldn’t back their decisions to refuse applications on the grounds of poor design, given the requirement to prioritise housing need.