This Public Art PAN (Planning Advice Note) provides guidance through the planning system for public art delivered by major development schemes or through other routes. It sets out the council’s planning policy framework and uses good practice examples to illustrate how public art can be successfully integrated within new development. It should be read in conjunction with the Public Art Strategy 2022 to 2032 One Landscape, Many Views and the Public Art Commissioning Toolkit.

Successful public art can contribute to enhancing the city’s unique heritage, culture and natural assets. New development will help shape the future character of the city. Working with artists offers an opportunity to design schemes which go beyond the purely functional and create places that reflect the life, identity and aspirations of a particular place or community.

The intention of this PAN is to show how new development can contribute to the quality of place and place making, vitality of neighbourhoods, and success of the creative economy, working with the local community wherever possible. The guidance also explains how to use the spatial planning system to achieve the ambitions of the Public Art Strategy.

All arts projects in the public realm should meet key criteria of quality, access, inclusion and sustainability. This PAN demonstrates how this can be achieved through high quality design, successful commissioning, and community engagement.

This PAN provides guidance that can be used by:

  • planning applicants and their design team including:
    • designers
    • architects
    • artists
    • landscape designers and consultants when preparing applications or addressing planning conditions or s106 planning obligations
  • planning officers when assessing applications and drafting planning conditions or s106 planning obligations
  • Councillors when making planning decisions
  • artists, craftspeople, designers when developing proposals or projects
  • residents, community / amenity groups and other organisations when commenting on planning applications or participating in the creation of public art

‘Take the opportunity to highlight the city’s amazing natural assets, combine these with the creative talent within the residents and create something extraordinary, in the most sustainable way possible.' Public Art Strategy 2022 to 2032 One Landscape, Many View.

Morag Myerscough, Belonging Bandstand. 2018.

A bright, bold, touring bandstand which was temporarily set up in a Hangleton greenspace. It is surrounded by members of the local community sitting on chairs watching a local band perform.

A mobile temporary installation: a bright, bold, touring bandstand programmed in conjunction with communities across East Sussex, inviting them to reflect on the concept of 'belonging' by making placards to adorn its crown and programming a range of local performers to use it as a stage. The bandstand toured to 8 locations, including East Brighton and Hangleton where the series of art led workshops were delivered in partnership with Your Place and Brighton Festival.

Image credit: Belonging Bandstand by Morag Myerscough. Sussex Community and Morag Myerscough. Commissioned by Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft and Brighton Festival.

Executive summary

The following steps are recommended to promote best practice for delivering public art.

The developer will be expected to carry out these steps wherever possible:

  • At the earliest stages review this PAN and the relevant policy requirements set out within to inform pre-application and planning application discussions; and when seeking to deliver artistic components through s106 agreements and planning conditions
  • Refer to the Public Art Strategy 2022 to 2032 One Landscape, Many Views to understand city wide strategies for public art
  • Refer to the Public Art Commissioning Toolkit for more comprehensive advice on commissioning and delivering public art
  • Calculate a sum using the Public Art Developer Contribution Calculator within the Developer Contribution Technical Guidance to understand the expected level of contribution
  • Refer to the list of Plans and Strategies to be included at Outline / Full Planning Application Stage
  • Use Public Art Delivery Plans wherever possible
  • Engage the community in the development of public art wherever possible
  • Work with a recognised public art professional in preparing schemes for submission to planning and in the project management of public art. This can ensure that schemes are of high quality and meet the council’s requirements.
  • Consider the durability and on-going maintenance arrangements of the public art to be delivered

An alphabet for Black Rock

These 3 images show An Alphabet for Black Rock created by thirteen different artists and designers who have each designed two letters of the alphabet in black and white. These letters are fixed to the hoardings at Black Rock, Brighton to spell out the names of native plant species growing here. The image on the left shows a poster of the whole alphabet, the middle image shows the letter U as a floating representation of the Black Rock area and the image on the right shows the letter T through sign language.

These 3 images were created by 13 different artists and designers who have each designed 2 letters of the alphabet in black and white. These letters are fixed to the hoardings at Black Rock, Brighton to spell out the names of native plant species growing there. The image on the left shows a poster of the whole alphabet, the middle image shows the letter U as a floating representation of the Black Rock area and the image on the right shows the letter T through sign language. 

Image credit: Commissioned and curated by Bridget Sawyers Limited for Brighton & Hove City Council as part of the public art programme Black Rock and the Sea Kale: Friends with Benefits. Artists: Letter U was created by Wumi Olaosebikan; and letter T was created by Martin Glover. (2021) 

Planning Policy Framework and other relevant documents

City Plan Part One CP5 Culture and Tourism; CP7 Infrastructure and Developer Contributions; CP12 Urban Design; CP13 Public Streets and Spaces and supporting paragraph 4.157 are relevant. These policies guide the integration of funding and delivery of public art and artistic element into public realm spaces.

Brighton & Hove Retained Local Plan 2016 QD15 Landscape Design asks planning applicants to consider landscape and spaces between and around buildings at early design stage. Retained policy QD15 will be superseded by policy DM18 below on adoption of the City Plan Part Two.

Submission City Plan Part 2 DM18 High Quality design and places and supporting paragraph 2.158 looks for the incorporation of an artistic element for major development proposals as well as to have regard to the Public Art Strategy.

Urban Design Framework Supplementary Planning Document. Section 2.5 Artistic Element identifies artistic element as a local priority and sets out guidance on incorporation of artistic element into design proposals.

Public Art Strategy 2022 to 2032 One Landscape, Many Views lays out a definition for art in public places, with clear guiding principles and objectives to re-affirm the long-term commitment of Brighton & Hove as a ‘city of creativity’.

Public Art Commissioning Toolkit (2022) provides a comprehensive outline of how to commission public art. Appendix 1 sets out an Art Commissioning Process diagram which relates to this Toolkit.

Developer Contributions Technical Guidance contains a Public Art Developer Contributions Calculator and an associated minimum threshold. The calculator sets out the methodology and rates required to calculate a public art developer contribution.

Sustainability Action Plan aims to foster community identity and connectedness, and nurture sustainability including through use of procurement criteria.

Statement of Community Involvement (2015) sets out this council’s approach to community engagement in planning.

The Wood Street Altarpiece, Walthamstow, Eleanor Hill

Alterpiece which is fixed to a railway bridge at the side of the pavement at ground floor level. It has an aluminium frame, lighting, and 3 enamel panels which are screen-printed to show stories gathered from the community during the pandemic lockdowns of 2020.

The Wood Street Altarpiece celebrates community gardening in Walthamstow. The image shows the Alterpiece which is fixed to a railway bridge at the side of the pavement at ground floor level. It has an aluminium frame, lighting, and 3 enamel panels which are screen-printed to show stories gathered from the community during the pandemic lockdowns of 2020. It contains portraits of local people who contributed to the ecology and improved their local environment. The artist is Eleanor Hill (2021)

Image credit: photos © Barney Couch and Miguel Souto.

Section 1 - Contemporary Public Art

The term ‘public art’ defines a broad range of art including permanent and temporary installations and artworks that reflect the life of the city, its communities, and visitors. Public art is for everyone to enjoy. It can be found across the city within its streets, parks, seafront and undeveloped sites to stations, hospitals, universities, the South Downs National Park and public buildings.

Public art is often described as ‘art in the public realm’ where the city itself becomes the gallery.

Options for Public Art

Public art can:

  • contribute to high quality place-making
  • be permanent or temporary
  • be socially engaged, working with new or existing communities
  • incorporate:
    • text
    • craft
    • applied art and design
    • photography
    • print
    • moving image
    • computer generated images
    • projection
    • live art
    • digital realities
    • installation and performance
    • light
    • sound and music
  • be integral to landscape design, street furniture, small interventions or large-scale land art
  • aid accessibility, legibility and reinforce routes and links
  • create informal opportunities for play
  • refer to our heritage or celebrate the future
  • highlight specific areas and issues
  • be activist or environmental art or be conceptual

The Public Art Strategy recommends engagement across council departments, landowners, developers, and businesses to discuss temporary activities and interventions: including identification of sites and opportunities for meanwhile uses which might be artist-led or facilitated.

The outcome of public art should be unique and inspiring with one consistent quality: it should be site-specific and relate to the context or use of a particular site or location within the public realm.

The benefits of delivering Public Art as part of new development

Public art can contribute to a range of benefits to the private, voluntary, and public sectors.

These benefits can be significant when well thought out, adequately funded and appropriately delivered:

  • Economic – encourages inward investment, promotes a sense of confidence and positivity
  • Social – promotes civic and personal pride, encourages people to rediscover and interact with their environment, used as a tool to facilitate social inclusion
  • Environmental – regeneration, placemaking, sustainable, legible, promoting green values or functions
  • Cultural – community development tool, raises the profile of the arts in general, offers opportunities for people to participate in the arts.

There are links between a rich artistic and cultural offer and economic success. All over the world major cities are using culture as a catalyst for change. Beautiful and green places with a rich cultural life are far more likely to attract and sustain businesses. Public art used by the private sector can enhance commercial aspirations and deliver enhanced profitability.

Some of the benefits for public art include:

  • a higher profile for specific locations, for example, city centres, individual neighbourhoods. Unique natural environments can lead to increased visitor footfall and commercial activity, an increase in property values and commercial rents, attract investment from public and private sectors
  • encouraging tourism by giving an area a competitive edge in relation to competing visitor destinations
  • stimulating the local economy through creating local employment and developing skills, and contributing to the social value deliverables of a development
  • public engagement, an enhanced sense of ownership, increased sense of self-esteem, and community pride for participating groups and responsibility for the public spaces that a co-designed artwork occupies
  • creating local distinctiveness and improving legibility by for example, the use of landmarks at entrances and other key points in public spaces
  • increased use of open spaces, reclaiming areas and helping reduce levels of crime and vandalism by creating a sense of ownership and security
  • humanising environments, promote sustainability and integrate community involvement in creating a cultural legacy for the future
  • enhancing the public realm by involving artists’ creative skills, vision and imagination whilst raising the standard of landscaping and design through creative use of materials and finishes.

Successful public art is delivered through community engagement, sensitivity and relevance to the site, sufficient fees and budgets, realistic expectations, good project management and communication, good maintenance.

The Open Market, Marshalls Row, Brighton Lucy Williams

Brighton Open Market archway sign made up of individual letters lit with LED lights and attached to an archway. The letters spell The Open Market and contain colourful acrylic interiors decorated with shapes of objects found in the market.

This image shows one of the two Brighton Open Market archway signs which are made up of individual letters lit with LED lights and attached to an archway. The letters spell The Open Market and contain colourful acrylic interiors decorated with shapes of objects found in the market.  One archway leads between London Road and the Open Market, the other leads between Ditchling Road and the Open Market. They were commissioned by Hyde Housing. The artist is Lucy Williams (2016)

Image credit: Brighton Open Market.


Section 2 - Delivering Public Art through the planning system

Calculating the Public Art Developer Contribution

The Developer Contributions Technical Guidance contains a Public Art Developer Contributions Calculator and an associated threshold level. This calculator sets out the methodology, thresholds and rates required for calculating public art developer contribution sums.

Once a sum has been calculated using the Public Art Developer Contribution calculator, the final contribution will be a matter for the case officer to test against other developer contributions requirements for the development.

Pre-application work - Public Art as part of an overall site design vision

The public art element of a development should be an integral part of the overall vision for the site and its setting.

The creation of a public art strategy for the development site can have a positive influence on outcomes for the layout and design of the final development scheme if it is considered as an integral part at the start of the design process. For example, in addition to the permanent artworks the public art element can include artwork for hoardings and other temporary projects. Where appropriate, the public art element may be discussed at Design Panel Review.

As a specialist area, developers are recommended to engage with recognised public art professionals preferably at pre-application stage onwards in preparing schemes for submission and for project managing the delivery of public art schemes.

Plans and Strategies to be included at Outline / Full Planning Application Stage

Public art plans presented by the developer at outline or full planning stage as part of the Design and Access Statement should include but not be limited to:

  • strategic approach outlining the rationale behind why the developer is proposing a particular scheme – how it relates to the site and its uses
  • artist’s brief/s - see the Public Art Commissioning Toolkit for more guidance
  • proposed approach to community engagement / involvement
  • arrangements for commissioning, including a longlist of artists if appropriate
  • proposed implementation plan including phasing
  • arrangements for project management
  • budget allocation
  • future maintenance, durability and Health & Safety
  • sustainability considerations.

Reserved Matters

Where appropriate, final details (including detailed designs for any permanent features) should be agreed as part of Reserved Matters.

Public Art Delivery Plans

Applicants should consider including the following details within the delivery plan.

There may be some variation in detail depending on whether the application is for outline consent or for full planning permission:

  • Description of the relationship between the Public Art Plan and the relevant local plan policies outlined in this PAN
  • Description of the site wide approach to be taken toward artistic elements including:
    • key locations
    • connectivity
    • reasoning and context or heritage as well as information on form, themes and materials
  • Details of the selection and commissioning process for the artistic element
  • Indicative timescales for the artist commissioning process
  • Indicative budget allocations for the delivery of the artistic element
  • Indicative details of ownership, maintenance and potential de-commissioning of the artistic element
  • Plans for sustainability
  • A Commissioning Brief (see the Public Art Commissioning Toolkit for guidance)
  • Details of proposed community engagement
  • Evaluation methodology
  • Whenever possible, a representative of, or stakeholder with art expertise nominated by, the council’s Art team

Submitting a Public Art Delivery Plan to accompany relevant planning applications is strongly recommended.

Securing Public Art through the planning system

Public Art can be secured via a planning condition, or an Artistic Component Schedule within a s106 legal agreement made between the council and the developer.

Local authority planners should consider the use of appropriate planning conditions, a s106 Artistic Component Schedule and/or informative notes that can be attached to planning consents in relation to artistic elements in developments. Within this, the durability and on-going maintenance arrangements of the public art should be considered.

Delivering an Artistic Component Schedule contained within a s106 agreement

It is the responsibility of the developer and their team to consider and deliver artistic component(s) if there is an Artistic Component Schedule within their s106 agreement. These agreements often require the proposed commissioning processes to be approved prior to the artist being formally commissioned and prior to commencement of development. This is so that the art element(s) is considered as a fundamental part of the scheme and not as an add-on.

When considering a commissioning process to meet a developer obligation, the following elements will need to be managed by the developer:

  • drafting a Brief – to include site details, the vision, timetable, costs and how artists can submit expressions of interest
  • ensuring community engagement includes identifying local representatives for example neighbourhood forums; it is expected that ward councillors will be invited to the selection panel
  • setting up the selection panel to interview shortlisted artists and appointment of the chosen artist.

Proposed submissions should be issued to the Planning case officer in good time in accordance with the terms of the s106 agreement for approval and discharge of the obligation.

In meeting the terms of the s106 agreement developers will need to consider the objectives below:

  • Wherever possible the artistic component(s) being accessible or visible to the wider public – in or on the building
  • Public art installations can be achieved through the uplift of costs such as through higher quality materials and bespoke design where the proposal is an enhancement to the immediate public realm
  • The durability of the artistic component and ongoing maintenance requirements / arrangements suitable for the longer term.

On some major development schemes where developers are commissioning arts consultants, it may be acceptable for a reasonable percentage of costs to be met from the s106 contribution where agreed in advance.

Any installation proposals outside the development/on the highway may also require prior planning permission.

Community Engagement and Involvement

A key factor in good public art practice is community engagement. A sense of ownership, public access and contribution to artwork development can be harnessed through artist engagement where the council advocates that public art can be a platform for openly engaging with communities both existing and future alongside the commissioning process.

The community can be involved in the public art process in a variety of ways such as:

  • ensuring that local stakeholders with an interest in the project are represented on a steering group, and potentially forming part of the selection panel; as happened during the redevelopment of the Former Amex House in the Edward Street Quarter, Brighton. The steering group can act as ambassadors for the project and provide vital connections and resources to assist artists in the creation of the final artwork or wider arts programme
  • giving voice and value to marginalised and ignored people, groups and heritage within a community, and advocating for the necessity of inclusive, accessible art and design
  • holding workshops to share skills and artist/curator talks to widen the knowledge of how cultural professionals work, including peer-to-peer learning and knowledge exchange, also artist-led workshops to co-create, co-initiate or co-design an artwork
  • running artist-led activity or events to highlight the changes that will take place as part of the development, for example working with local school children or colleges to animate a place before construction begins with temporary artworks such as the use of hoardings around a development site
  • holding a celebratory event to open a development or announce the arrival of an artwork, or the start of an event, activity or campaign and creating digital resources in order that the artwork can be more widely accessed regardless of geography and/or has a longer life.

While community participation and/or consultation is an important part of the concept and design stage, implementation focuses on achieving a high-quality artistic outcome informed by the artist’s vision in response to the brief. The Public Art Strategy sets out success indicators for collaborative commissions.

Commissioning an artist or designer

The commissioning process is set out in detail within the Public Art Commissioning Toolkit - an essential guide to commissioning public art.

The role of the artist in the overall design vision

Contemporary public art involves a diverse range of activities and outcomes. In this guidance the term ‘public art’ includes ‘design’ where the elements have been designed by an artist, or a design team involving the creative input of an artist.

For all developments public art should form part of an overall design vision, with concepts being an integral part of a building or its setting.

For larger projects a public art strategy or arts strategy should be produced at the outset, and a public art consultant appointed with the relevant expertise to collaborate with the design team. This is particularly relevant to complex projects and contracts such as infrastructure (using NEC Contracts) or Private Finance Initiative (Design & Build contracts) where experience of costs is required to enable realistic budgets to be set and provide a greater opportunity to consider a range of options and approaches for artists and not be restricted by the budget.

The Public Art Commissioning Toolkit sets out the commissioning process in detail and should be referred to when selecting and commissioning an artist or designer to deliver public art through the planning system. A diagram from the Toolkit demonstrating the Commissioning Process is shown in Appendix 1. The Public Art Strategy also sets out guiding principles - a checklist for anyone commissioning public art in Brighton & Hove.

The council is open to working with artists from all backgrounds and does not hold a list of artists to ensure a fair and equitable process of recruitment.


This is a major factor in determining the approach to a commission, the type of artist and the level of aspiration. Public art projects have a long lead in time. Artists need to be provided with sufficient time to research and develop their proposals, especially if public engagement is also required. The more time that can be allocated to a public art project, the earlier an artist can be appointed, the better the outcome will be. If the commission is coming through a s106 agreement, then the timescale will need to ensure that proposed submissions are issued to the Planning case officer in good time and in accordance with the terms of the s106 agreement.

Spending the Public Art Developer Contribution

Once a budget for a public art component has been agreed with the planning Case Officer the contribution may be used to cover for example:

  • artist’s design fees
  • practitioner/artist commission fees
  • materials and fabrication costs and fees
  • installation costs

Public art budgets can be used for artists’ design fees to enhance other capital elements within a scheme such as landscape design, street furniture, paving, wayfaring, lighting or architectural features to encourage high quality, creative design.

LookLookLook, Berrington Hall, Herefordshire, Studio Morison

A contemporary, geometric pavilion which is made up of a large timber frame covered with a light pink fabric. It is in the gardens of Berrington Hall, a National Trust property in Herefordshire.  It’s shape was inspired by pineapples thought to have once grown in these gardens. The artists are Studio Morison (2019)

Image credit: Studio Morison Courtesy of the artists. Photos © Ivan Morison

Appendix 1

Diagram setting out the Art Commissioning Process

View the image or read the copy below.

For a comprehensive guide to commissioning public art, please refer to the Public Art Commissioning Toolkit.

  • Consider if temporary, permanent art or both
  • Engage community?
  • Produce Public Art Delivery Plan and consult council for agreement of Plan
  • Involve council representative / local councillors

Stage 1 - Preparation

  • Define vision
  • Secure funding
  • Set up steering group
  • Identify artist’s role
  • Any community role
  • Develop artist’s brief

Stage 2 - Artist selection

Open Call (Open Competition) | Invited Competition | Direct Competition

Selection Panel and issue contract

Stage 3 – Proposal Development

  • Research and development
  • Outline proposal
  • Detailed design / spec.
  • Approvals / consent

Stage 4 - Delivery

  • Production and fabrication
  • Installation

Stage 5 - Competition

  • Sign off and handover
  • Maintenance arrangements
  • Launch event
  • Monitoring and evaluation

(Involve council representative / local councillors

Provide information for council’s public art website and PR).

Appendix 2

Diagram showing links between Planning Documents and The Public Art Strategy & Commissioning Toolkit.

View the image or read the copy below.

Culture, Tourism and Sport

Public Art Strategy

  • High level plan and objectives for citywide and site-specific artistic development (including quality of installations)
  • Site specific Public Art Commissioning Toolkit
  • Citywide Public Art Investment Strategy
    • Funding routes

Links to planning policy – via guidance / Planning

Policy delivery – via guidance / Planning

S106 agreement / Planning Conditions – via guidance / Planning Officers

Design Review Panel

Development / Regeneration

City Plan Part 1 and 2

  • Public Art Planning Advice Note and SPD17 Urban Design Framework for site specific developments
  • S106 Agreements and / or Planning Conditions
  • Infrastructure Delivery Plan

Appendix 3

Additional Guidance and Resources

A series of films were commissioned by the council as part of the consultation for the development of the public art strategy which may provide useful context:

Film making and sound by Munya Muchati of Thirty 10 Arts. With British Sign Language translation by Sue MacLaine. Produced by Lighthouse and Bridget Sawyers Limited, with assistance from Lighthouse Young Creatives