Publication: Pre-Submission Gloucester City Plan

Pre-Submission City Plan

Policy C7: Fall prevention from taller buildings

On buildings or structures above 12 metres in height, planning permission will be granted where mitigation measures have been taken to help prevent suicide and accidental falls.

Where mitigation measures are used, such as anti-climb methods, fences, barriers and rails, these will be well designed and integrated into the overall design of the building.

3.3.34 Suicide is a national and local health priority. In Gloucestershire suicide kills approximately 60-67 people a year. When compared to deaths from road traffic accidents, which were 29 in 2014, suicide is responsible for twice as many deaths. During a six-month period in 2019 Gloucestershire Constabulary dealt with 67 incidents of people attempting or threatening to attempt to jump from tall buildings across the city. Whilst not all suicides and attempted suicides can be prevented through mitigation measures in the urban environment, it is the Council's responsibility to do all that in can to keep people safe. In planning terms, a simple thing that can be done is to make sure that where there is public access to tall buildings, that these buildings are designed in a way that restricts the access or the possibility of jumping or falling from the upper floors. This accords with the government's objective to reduce access to the means of suicide.

3.3.35 Retrofitting schemes can be expensive, cumbersome and poorly designed, as such it is considered appropriate to deal with this issue from the outset to ensure safe and well-designed buildings. It is known that falls from more than four storeys are more likely to result in life changing injuries or death. Falls can occur accidentally, through misadventure or suicide. The average floor to floor height for an office building is 3.9 meters per storey. Residential buildings tend to have floor to floor heights of about 3.1 meters. Therefore, where buildings or structures are proposed above 12 metres developers will be required to provide a statement within the Design and Access Statement outlining how they have considered this policy.

3.36 The statement should outline what public access there will be to any roof, open element, or structure above 12 metres and what measures will be integrated into the design of the building to reduce the opportunities for suicide and falls. This could be as simple as ensuring that there is no public access to roof top spaces or designing out open sides above 12 metres on a car park for example. Where public access to an open roof top or element is possible, over 12 metres, suitable well-designed suicide prevention measures will be required to be incorporated into the design of the building. These will be subtle and cohesive to the architectural design.

3.37 Further guidance can be found in 'Preventing suicides in public places; A practice resource' published by Public Health England.