Residential Design Guide

Ended on the 7th May 2018
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(2) SECTION 4

Designsteps

New housing development should not be viewed in the isolation of the individual site, but consideration must be taken of the wider context including not just neighbouring buildings, but also townscape and landscape.

The local pattern of streets and spaces, building traditions, materials and ecology should all help to determine the character and identity of a development recognising that new building technologies are capable of delivering acceptable built forms

and may sometimes be more efficient. This is particularly relevant in conservation areas or where listed buildings are in the vicinity of the development.

It is important with any proposals that full account is taken of the local context and that the new designs embody the 'sense of place' and also meet the aspirations of people already living in that area.

This section takes into account the requirements set out in the Local Plan against which all residential applications will be assessed.

Local Plan Policy BE1 layout and design

Development proposals which have a significant impact on the character and appearance of an area will be required to demonstrate how they comply with this policy by way of a Layout and Design Statement.

New development will be permitted where it positively contributes to the character and quality of the environment through good layout and design. Development proposals will be expected to demonstrate that they:

a) Harmonise with, or enhance ,the existing settlement in terms of physical form, patterns of movement and land use

To effectively respond to this requirement it is necessary to ask the following questions of the design and layout proposed.

  • What are the particular characteristics of this area which have been taken into account?
  • Is the proposed within a Conservation Area?
  • Does the proposal affect or change the setting of a listed building or listed landscape?

b) Relate well to local topography and landscape features

  • To effectively respond to this requirement it is necessary to ask the following questions of the design and layout proposed.
  • Does the proposal harmonise with the adjacent properties?
  • Has careful attention been paid to height, form, massing and scale?
  • If a proposal is an extension, is it subsidiary to the existing property so as not to compromise its character?
  • Does the proposal maintain or enhance the existing landscape features?
  • How does the proposal affect the trees on or adjacent to the site?
  • How does the proposal affect the character of a rural location?

c) Reinforce or enhance the established urban character of streets, squares and other spaces


To effectively respond to this requirement it is necessary to ask the following questions of the design and layout proposed.
  • What is the character of the adjacent streets and does this have implications for the new proposals?
  • Does the new proposal respect or enhance the existing area or adversely change its character?
  • Does the proposal positively contribute to the quality of the public realm/streetscape and existing pedestrian access?
  • How does the proposal impact on existing views which are important to the area?
  • Can any new views be created?

d) Reflect, respect and reinforce local architectural and historical distinctiveness

To effectively respond to this requirement it is necessary to ask the following questions of the design and layout proposed.

  • What is the local architectural character and has this been demonstrated in the proposals?
  • If the proposal is a contemporary design; are the details and materials of a sufficiently high enough quality and does it relate specifically to the architectural characteristics and scale of the site?

e) Enhance and incorporate important existing features into the development

To effectively respond to this requirement it is necessary to ask the following questions of the design and layout proposed.

  • What are the important features surrounding this site?
  • What effect would the proposal have on the streetscape?
  • How can the important existing features including trees, be incorporated into the site?
  • How does the development relate to any important links both physical and visual that currently exist on the site?
  • How can the existing features be enhanced by the development proposals?

f) Respect surroundingbuildings in terms of scale, height, form and massing

To effectively respond to this requirement it is necessary to ask the following questions of the design and layout proposed.

  • Is the scale of adjacent buildings appropriate to the area?
  • Should the adjacent scale be reflected?
  • What would be the reason for increasing the height of the development?
  • Would a higher development improve the scale of the overall area?
  • If the proposal is an extension, is it subsidiary to the existing house?
  • Does the proposed development compromise the amenity of adjacent and adjoining properties
  • Does the proposed overlook any adjacent properties or gardens?
  • Have the 45˚ Code and Distance Separation Guidance been applied?

g) Adopt appropriate materials and details

To effectively respond to this requirement it is necessary to ask the following questions of the design and layout proposed.

  • What is the distinctive material in the area if any?
  • Does the proposed material harmonise with the local material?
  • Does the proposal use high quality materials?
  • Have the details of the windows, doors, eaves and roof details been addressed in the context of the overall design?

h) Integrate with existing paths, streets, circulation networks, patterns of activity

To effectively respond to this requirement it is necessary to ask the following questions of the design and layout proposed.

  • What are the essential characteristics of the existing street pattern?
  • How will the new design or extension integrate with the existing arrangement?
  • Are the new points of access appropriate in terms of patterns of movement?
  • Do the points of access conform to the statutory technical requirements?
  • Do the new points of access have regard for all users of the development, including those with disabilities?

i) Incorporate design and layout to reduce crime and fear of crime

To effectively respond to this requirement it is necessary to ask the following questions of the design and layout proposed.

  • Have the principles of 'Designing Out Crime' been addressed and incorporated?
  • Is the layout compatible with that advice?
  • Has car parking been integrated into the design to exclude parking courts and rear garage courts?
  • Is there an opportunity for overlooking of public open spaces, playgrounds and parking areas to reduce the risk of crime?

j) Provide convenient, safe and integrated cycling and walking routes within the site and linking to related routes and for public transport

To effectively respond to this requirement it is necessary to ask the following questions of the design and layout proposed.

  • Have dedicated cycle paths and/or joint cycle/pedestrian paths been included throughout the development?
  • Do these paths link with others beyond the development boundary?
  • Are access points and internal roads of sufficient width to allow buses of all sizes to access the development?
  • Do access roads allow for large vehicles to pass and to turn if necessary?
  • Is there safe and clear access for emergency vehicles to access all parts of the development?
  • Is there an emergency vehicle access dedicated to this use where required?

k) Provide adequate public and private open space for the development in terms of both quantity and quality?

To effectively respond to this requirement it is necessary to ask the following questions of the design and layout proposed.

  • Has the proposal been considered in its widest context?
  • Has the relevant standard been applied to this development for both public and private open space?
  • What are the landscaping qualities of the area?
  • Have all aspects of security been fully considered and integrated into the design of open spaces?
  • Has the impact on the landscape quality of the area been taken into account?
  • Have the appropriate boundary treatments been incorporated into the scheme?
  • In rural locations has the impact on development on the tranquillity of the area been fully considered?

l) Incorporate necessary services and drainage infrastructure without causing unacceptable harm to retained features including incorporating sustainable water management features

To effectively respond to this requirement it is necessary to ask the following questions of the design and layout proposed.

  • What effect will services have on the scheme as a whole?
  • Can the effect of services be integrated at the planning design stage or mitigated if harmful?
  • Has the lighting scheme been designed to avoid light pollution but provide sufficient luminosity to reduce crime?
  • Does the development avoid Flood Zones 3, 3a and 3b?
  • Has a Flood Risk Assessment been prepared where necessary?
  • Has the exception test been carried out where highly vulnerable development is considered within Flood Zone 2
  • Have sustainable drainage systems (SUDS) been incorporated?
  • Has the wider context been taken into account when designing drainage systems to ensure that flooding issues are not exacerbated elsewhere along the system?
  • Where features such as balancing ponds and swales are included in the design, has this been done sympathetically and securely?

m) Ensure all components e.g. buildings, landscaping, access routes,parking and open spaces are well related to each other and provide a safe and attractive environment

To effectively respond to this requirement it is necessary to ask the following questions of the design and layout proposed.

  • Has the proposal been considered in its widest context?
  • Have the principles of 'Garden Towns, Villages and Suburbs' been applied?
  • Is the landscaping hard or soft or a mix?
  • Have all aspects of security been fully considered and integrated into the design of the building and open spaces?
  • Has the impact on the landscape quality of the area been taken into account?
  • Have boundary treatments been assessed for their appropriateness within the context of the site?
  • In rural locations has the impact of development on the tranquillity of the area been fully considered?

n) Make sufficient provision for sustainable waste management (including facilities for kerbside collection, waste separation and minimisation where appropriate) without adverse impact on the street scene, the local landscape or the amenities of neighbours

To effectively respond to this requirement it is necessary to ask the following questions of the design and layout proposed.

  • Has adequate provision been made for bin storage in accordance with the Appendix B guidance note?
  • Has adequate provision been made for waste separation and relevant recycling facilities?
  • Has the location of the bin storage facilities been considered relative to the travel distance from the collection vehicle?
  • Has the impact of the design and location of the bin storage facilities been considered in the context of the whole development?
  • Could additional measures, such as landscaping, be used to help integrate the bin storage facilities into the development?
  • Has any provision been made for the need to enlarge the bin storage in the future without adversely affecting the development in other ways?

o) Meet the highest standards of accessibility and inclusion for potential users regardless of disability, age or gender

To effectively respond to this requirement it is necessary to ask the following questions of the design and layout proposed.

  • Have the principles of 'Buildings for Life 12' been considered and incorporated where possible
  • Has the design taken into account the accessibility to and within buildings by wheelchair users?
  • Do homes include wider doorways, higher power points, wider toilet facilities and safety rails where necessary?
  • Has the design taken into account accessibility for those of limited mobility e.g. the use of ramps rather than steps and handrails to aid balance?
  • Has the design taken into account those wishing to access buildings with baby buggies, prams etc?
  • Can open spaces and public buildings be accessed by all?
  • Are footpath edges clearly marked and is signage large enough for the visually impaired?
  • Are audible alarms and indicators included where necessary?
  • Have the needs of guide and assistance dogs been taken into account when locating street furniture?

p) Ensures that layout and design addresses the need for development to be resilient to climate change

To effectively respond to this requirement it is necessary to ask the following questions of the design and layout proposed.

  • Has the design taken into account the building orientation, construction techniques and natural ventilation methods to mitigate against rising temperatures?
  • Has the use of multi-functional green infrastructure (including water features, green roofs and tree planting) been optimised to provide urban cooling and local flood risk management and access provided to outdoor space for shading?
  • Have water efficiency measures encouraging the use of grey water and rainwater recycling been incorporated?
  • Has the development been located in an area of low flood risk minimising vulnerability to flood risk and have mitigation measures, including SUDS been incorporated?

q) Ensure that there is an appropriate easement between all waterbodies/watercourses to allow access and maintenance

To effectively respond to this requirement it is necessary to ask the following questions of the design and layout proposed.

  • Has the lead Local Flood Authority been consulted in relation to requirements for easements for developments in close proximity to ordinary watercourses?
  • Does development near to waterbodies include access to them?
  • Does the watercourse/watercourses reflect a natural state?

Local Plan policy BE2, developing significant housing sites relates specifically to sites of 200 or more dwellings.

The policy states that:

Development sites of over 200 dwellings, or sites (in combination with other sites) form part of a wider development area which exceeds 200 dwellings or other developments which have a significant impact on the character and appearance of an area, will be expected to comply with a development brief. Where a development brief is absent for a strategic site, planning applications should comply with Policy BE1 and should be accompanied by a Layout and Design Statement providing information to address the information in relation to the matters set out in a) to k) below.

Development briefs will be prepared for all these sites setting out requirements for:

a) Infrastructure (ensuring alignment with the Infrastructure Delivery Plan);

b) Layout proposals, including where appropriate linkages and alignment with adjoining sites;

c) Densities (which should not be lower than 30 dwellings per hectare on average);

d) Design principles, taking account of the Garden Towns, Villages and Suburbs prospectus (or subsequent design guidance adopted by the Council) and Buildings for Life 12;

e) Design for healthy lifestyles including provision for cycling, walking, playing pitches, parks and open spaces and other green infrastructure;

f) Landscaping;

g) Site access and circulation;

h) Managing and mitigating traffic generation;

i) The requirements set out in Policy BE1;

j) Community facilities in accordance with policies HS1, HS6 and the Infrastructure Delivery Plan, including how they will be viably managed and maintained in the long term; and

k) Protection and enhancement of the historic environment Development briefs will be approved by the Local Planning Authority.


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