Public Art Research Archive, Sheffield Hallam University, UK

Evidence given at the Unitary Development Plan (UDP) public enquiry (1996) into the public art policy in Sheffield...
Document supplied by Paul Swales, Sheffield's Public Art Officer.
To move directly to a particular section of this document, click on the headings below.

Proof Of Evidence Re BE 13 Public Art

I am Paul Swales, Public Art Officer for Sheffield City Council based in the Directorate of Planning and Economic Development. I gained my Fine Art degree in 1972 and have worked since then in Arts Administration both in galleries and Regional Arts Boards. Sheffield's Public Art Policy was adopted in March 1988.

2. 0 Purpose of Evidence

I present evidence to contest the submission that UDP policy BE13 Public Art could be construed as requiring a specified element of planning gain rather than encouragement, that failure to include works of art will not result in refusal and that the policy should be deleted.

3. 0 Background

Policy BE 13 states-.

'Works of public art should be included in the design of major developments wherever possible'

The reasons for this policy are:
To provide a positive contribution to the built environment. To provide employment

4. 0 Objections: The objector believes that BE 13 is a requirement for planning gain.

The original objection (July 22nd 1993) stated that as drafted the policy could be construed as one requiring a specified element of planning gain in association with major developments, and that as there is no statutory basis on which developers can be required to provide works of art, at most such work can only be encouraged. The objector suggested that the policy should be redrafted to this effect and clarification included within the supporting text indicating that failure to include works of art within a scheme will not in itself result in a refusal of planning permission.

5. 0 Changes proposed by the council

Proposed changes to the policy in response to this and other objections clarify that provision of public art works will be Encouraged, be Voluntarily provided and will not be subject to a specified amount of money being spent on the provision of public art works.
In the light of the original objection and objections by others the policy was changed to clarify the voluntary nature of the policy and to remove references to "Percent for Art" which seemed to suggest that a specified sum of money be spent on public works of art.
The changes are:
The provision of works of public art in the design of major developments will be encouraged wherever appropriate.

In Reasons paragraph two, sentence one now reads:
It gives an opportunity to developers to "put something back" voluntarily into the community and for local people to become involved in the design of their City.
In the Practice section paragraph one has been deleted and substituted by:
"Negotiating with developers for the commissioning of artwork which makes a positive contribution to development schemes and the area around them" A fourth paragraph has been added:
"Having regard, when deciding planning applications, to the appearance of the scheme and the surrounding area (see also policy CF5 Community Benefits)
These changes satisfied objections which were subsequently withdrawn.

6. 0 Objections to the changes proposed by the City Council.

The objector did not make any comments on the proposed changes but refer to the view that there is no justification for this policy within the UDP and it should be deleted. This is based on the report of the Government Inspector at the Southwark UDP Inquiry. The objector quotes the Inspectors report " Notwithstanding that a work of public art may require the grant of planning permission, public art constituting an ancillary element to a development is likely to be a matter beyond planning control. In my opinion the policy relating to public art has no place in the UDP. That is not to say that the matter is not worthy of mention in the text relating to the environment or development in the context of seeking the provision of public art by means of agreement, but that is as far as I consider the matter of public art can rightly feature in the UDP. "

7. 0 City Councils Response to Outstanding Objections.

The original objections to this policy were centred on voluntary contributions and the removal of a specified sum of money being devoted to pubic art. In the proposed changes these issues have been addressed.
The comments made by the Inspector in Southwark refer specifically to the Southwark policy. Our policy is significantly different. The following points address the Southwark inspector's comments.

  1. There is no fixed percentage or fixed sum required for the provision of public art. Public Art is defined in the policy and examples are given.
  2. Public art is defined as a wider element of quality infrastructure and no mention is made of legal agreements.
  3. The cost and provision of works of public art are at the discretion of developers.
  4. A fixed percentage is not required, and the wider environmental infrastructure is included.
In conclusions the Inspector says that the policy relating to public art has no place in the UDP because it is not a policy specific to land use issues (Planning Policy Guidance [PPG 12 Para 5.6]), and Development Plans set out the main considerations on which planning applications are decided and can guide a range of other responsibilities of local government and other agencies (PPG 12 Para 1.4), as such the policy could not stand as a reason for refusing planning permission.. However he goes on to say "That is not to say the matter is not worthy of mention in the text.." and if any residual policy is included it " should be phrased in terms of encouragement with no reference to the cost of provision of any work".

The Sheffield policy is significantly different to the Southwark policy and it satisfies the Southwark Inspector's requirements of being encouraging and not defined in financial terms. The Sheffield policy is based on the contribution public art in its broadest sense can make to a high quality environment. It is on this basis that the impact of public art schemes have on their local environment is judged. Developers are encouraged to discuss the range of options that can apply to a scheme (e.g. sculpture, glassworks, railings or gates, seating etc) and select their preferred option. Ideas are not imposed. Guidance can then be given as to who in the area would be appropriate to work on the scheme. Again the developer is in charge of this process. A sketch of the proposed project is submitted for comment, at this stage the project is assessed for its impact on the locality and amenity for an area.

Furthermore we believe that this process is in accordance with guidance given in Planning Policy Guidance Note PPG12, Development Plans and Regional Planning Guidance; several sections provide a basis for the Public Art Policy:

  • 1. Scope and Extent of the 1990 Act
    1. The improvement of the physical environment
    2. Social, economic and environmental considerations.

  • 2. Economic Considerations
    1. revitalising and broadening the local economy and stimulating employment.
    2. stimulating types of economic development ( the encouragement of a Cultural industries Quarter where there are artists and craftspeople's studios)

  • 3. Section 6. Plans and the Environment.

    1. Other priorities have... giving high priority to conserving the built and archaeological heritage, to good design in new development and to encouraging the arts.
    2. these priorities are to do with enhancing the quality of life..
    3. Increased public awareness. Attention must also be given to the interests of future generations.

It is also worth noting that the Hammersmith and Fulham UDP policy EN13 Public Art has been adopted and it includes the idea of a "percentage of capital costs" and the principle is pursued in undertaking its "development control functions by encouraging developers"

In Summary.

Policy BE13 is designed to improve the physical environment through the employment of artists and crafts people to benefit the quality of life for today's and future generations who may regard the works to be of importance to the cityscape and seek to conserve them. The process of encouraging developers to participate in this is an appropriate policy for the UDP. The original objection has been met by our proposed changes, by encouraging and not defining a financial commitment. The second objection is based on comments about a similar, but different policy which the Inspector thought should not be in the UDP. We believe that PPG12 allows such policies and these policies should be drafted along the lines of the Inspectors comments.

UDP = Unitary Development Plan. The UDP is a statutory requirement and covers all aspects of development and the environment. The process involves public consultation, a public inquiry run by a Government Inspector and finally a report produced by the Inspector. The inspector's report will cover all the policies in the UDP and will say if a policy is valid and within the scope of the various Planning Acts; eg. can a specific policy be enforced? PPG = Planning Policy Guidance (Issued by the Department of the Environment) this is a document which clarifies the Planning Acts. PPG12 is the 12th PPG. BE13 = Policy Number in the UDP

Return to public art documents page

sheffield other locations pmsa documents links
search homepage

This page maintained by Simon Quinn
Slide Collection, Learning and IT Services
Last updated 24 August, 2005