Public Art Research Archive, Sheffield Hallam University, UK

Extract from the Report of the Inspector at the public enquiry of Sheffield's Unitary Development Plan (UDP) in 1996. This extract from Sheffield UDP: Part II: Built Environment covers the public art policy in Sheffield...
Document supplied by Paul Swales, Sheffield's Public Art Officer.


Objections to Plan: 211.2 House-Builders Federation
552.6 Tesco Stores ltd
691.1 McCarthy and Stone (Developments) ltd
705.2 Texas Homecare ltd *
PC (Planning Consideration): 211.2 552.6 691.1 705.2
Objections to PC: B552.6 Tesco Stores ltd
FPC: None
Objections to FPC: C552.619#

[* Objection carried forward by Homebase ltd]
[# Comment not about a Proposed Change]

The Objections

4.48 Contributions towards public works of art should be voluntary; the Council can only encourage their provision. The main objective of "percent for art" schemes is to provide works of art in public places and not in private housing schemes. It is unreasonable to expect housing developers to contribute a set proportion of capital costs, especially in view of the other community benefits housing has to provide (211, 691). The Policy is essentially seeking planning gain. Such policies have been recommended for deletion elsewhere; either this Policy should be deleted or it should make clear that failure to provide works of art will not result in refusal of planning permission for an otherwise acceptable scheme (552, 705)


4.49 Paragraph 6.5 of PPG12 advises that good design in new development, and encouraging the arts, should be given high priority when preparing development plans and I am satisfied that the latter can, in principle, be a legitimate subject for a UDP policy provided it serves a public purpose; Policy BE13 makes it clear that it is intended to do so.

4.50 The Council acknowledges that it cannit insist on works of art being provided and the Pcs further emphasise the voluntary basis of the Policy, using words such as will be encouraged and Negotiating with developers , and omittingreference to allocating a defined proportion of capital costs. For the avooidance of doubt it would be prudent also to give the assurance sought by Objectors, that whether or not works of art are provided would not, in itself, affect the outcome of a planning application; I recommend an addition to the Reasons akin to that for Policies BE7 and BE8 (paragraphs 4.25 and 4.30, above).

4.51 The definition of Major developments , to which the Policy will apply, as developments of over 1m appears a somewhat arbitrary criterion, even accepting that it is qualified by reference to visual impact and effect on the character of a neighbourhood. Also, the statement in the preamble, as proposed to be changed, that provision of works of art will be encouraged where appropriate does not help in determining the scope of the Policy. Both the Reasons and Definitions sections should be more specific about when and where public art would be sought; I do not have sufficient information on hich to recommend a precise form of words but the criteria might include that the public would have ready access, and that it should be considered as an integral part of the overall design from the outset. It should also be made clear at what stage in the development process the Council would bring the Policy into play.

4.52 On a minor point, the proposed additional paragraph in the Practice section appears to be incomplete, omitting reference to the "...contribution made by any artwork to the appearance of the scheme..." which was coanvassed in correspondence with Objectors. This should be re-examined as, in its present form, it adds little to this Policy, being simply a statement of a basic development control principle.


4.53 I recommend that the Policy be modified by:

  • (a) incorporating Pcs 211.52, 552.6, 619.1 and 705.2;
  • (b) adding the following to the fourth paragraph of the Reasons section: "though it will be a matter for negotiation rather than one on which determination of planning applications will turn. " ;
and that the Council:
  • (c) re-considers the scope of the Policy, with a view to omitting the financial criteion from the Definition of "Major developments" and including more specific criteria to be used to assess when and where provision of works of art would be sought;
  • (d) re-considers the text of the proposed additional paragraph in the Practice section...."

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