Residential Design Guide

Ended on the 7th May 2018
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Design practicalities

The NPPF (paragraph109) states that "the planning system should contribute to and enhance the natural and local environment by" preventing both new and existing development from contributing to or being put at unacceptable levels of soil, air, water or noise pollution or land instability"

There are practicalities which must be addressed at an early stage in any design to provide a harmonious and workable solution. The headings set out below serve as a helpful checklist. It should be demonstrated in all design statements that each area has been adequately researched and standard sources identified.


  • Designing out crime and the fear of crime by ensuring that there are no unprotected areas and entrances. Full use should be made of the advice from the Local Crime Prevention Officer and reference made to the Design Council document 'Designing Out Crime: A Designers Guide' 2015 or later versions as published. Design statements should make specific reference to crime prevention measures.
  • Reducing the risk of noise nuisance by detailed noise reduction measures within buildings, particularly high density mixed use developments in town centres. Location of dwellings adjacent to potential sources of disturbance should be carefully considered at an early stage of the design process. Innovative siting and careful location of windows can reduce future disturbance
  • Bin storage and waste handling. Adequate bin storage should always be demonstrated particularly in higher density schemes. Consideration should be given to space for recycling facilities and the nature of waste collections, details of which can be obtained from the Local Authority. Composting facilities and soft water collection should also be integrated into a design.

See appendix B for section on waste collection and bin storage Refuse and recycling storage requirements – a guidance note

  • Management of pollution and air-contamination. Specific reference must be made in the Design Statements to design issues relating to air quality and contamination. Much of the district is covered by smoke control orders. Water disposal and run off from developments should be considered in respect of impact on water courses and the accumulation of surface water from hard landscaping. Light pollution should be avoided particularly in open countryside. Excessive lighting of rural development should be avoided and all light sources shielded by down-lighters.
  • Access requirements. Design and Access Statements are required for all planning applications. It is a statutory requirement to provide disabled access to all newly erected dwellings under Part M(1) of the Building Regulations, 2016. It must therefore be demonstrated that accessibility for all users has been fully considered. This should be included in the Design and Access Statement. In situations of multi-storey and multiple occupancy buildings, the Building Control Officer should be consulted at an early stage in relation to statutory requirements for disabled access.

Reasonable provision is made if the dwelling complies with all of the following:

a. Within the curtilage of the dwelling or the building containing the dwelling, it is possible to approach and gain access to the dwelling

b. It is possible to gain access to the dwelling or the building containing the dwelling, from the most likely point of alighting from a car

c. A disabled person who is able to walk is able to visit any dwelling in a building containing one or more dwellings

d. Visitors can access and use the habitable rooms and a WC within the entrance storey of the dwelling (or the principal storey where the entrance storey does not contain a habitable room).

e. Where the habitable rooms and the WC are located on the entrance storey, access between them is step free

f. Wall mounted switches and socket outlets in habitable rooms are reasonably accessible to people who have reduced reach.

  • Quality environments. Although this guide does not seek to provide specific space standards, the Design and Access Statement should demonstrate that quality spaces with good visual aspects and light sources are being provided. Habitable rooms which can sustain only the minimum furniture requirements will not be considered acceptable. Adequate storage should be provided for cycles, prams and other domestic necessities.
  • Energy conservation. New development should be designed to maximise energy conservation and as a minimum meet regulations for energy efficiency. Particular attention should be given to the orientation of the building or choice of materials. More guidance on this is provided in Local Plan policies CC1, Planning for Climate Change Adaptation and CC2 Planning for Renewable Energy and Low Carbon Generation.

Residential developments are required to be designed and constructed in accordance with relevant national sustainability standards and national zero carbon homes policy.

Many of the design requirements regarding energy efficiency and conservation for new development are prescribed under the national Building Regulations; L1A for new dwellings, L1B, for existing dwellings and 'Domestic Building Services Compliance Guide', 2013 edition (or the latest update of these).

The Council has produced a map of potentially suitable sites for the location of district heat and energy schemes; ' Warwick District Heat Mapping and Energy Masterplanning', 2015. Reference should be made to this document by developers of the strategic residential sites in the Local Plan or any other large residential development in the district for further advice.

The Council has also produced a Supplementary Design Statement on 'Sustainable Buildings', however this was published in 2008 and the policies are now superseded by the new Local Plan (2011-2029). Some of this document remains relevant. Until the document has been updated however, please refer back to the Council with any direct queries about the content.

Layout, design and dwelling mix

Local Plan policy BE1, Layout and Design outlines the criteria by which new development proposals and layout and design statements will be assessed. A full explanation of this policy, including how to respond to the criteria, can be found in Section 4, Design Steps, above.

Local Plan policy H4, securing a mix of housing

The Council requires proposals for residential development to include a mix of market housing which contributes towards a balance of house types and

sizes across the district, including the housing needs of different age groups, in accordance with the latest Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA).

The Council may take account of the following circumstances in determining where it may not be appropriate to provide the full range of house types and sizes.

a) physical constraints, such as those associated with small sites of less than 5 houses and conversion schemes, where opportunities for a range of different house types are limited (unless criterion e) applies);

b) locational issues, such as highly accessible sites within or close to the town centre where larger homes and low/medium densities may not be appropriate;

c) sites with severe development constraints where housing mix may impact on viability;

d) sites where particular house types and/or building forms may be required in order to sustain or enhance the setting of a heritage asset; and

e) developments in rural areas, where there is an up-to- date village or parish housing needs assessment which is a more appropriate indication of housing need."

The layout and design statement should include a full survey and design analysis of the site, its context and surrounding features and is expected to;

  • Identify key features of local distinctiveness and contextural features;
  • Demonstrate how the proposal responds positively to these features;
  • Identify design principles for the development proposals taking account of the 'Garden Towns, Suburbs and Villages' prospectus or any subsequent design guidance produced by the Council; and
  • Demonstrate that all of the design criteria in the policy have been considered and addressed where appropriate

The Local Plan supporting text states that 'The Council supports the use of imaginative new designs in the right location, however, it is important that such proposals should clearly demonstrate how they respect and reflect the character of the local area…..poor layout and design which does not comply with this policy or any supplementary planning guidance adopted by the Council, will be refused."

Policy BE2 developing significant housing sites

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

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/hectare on average);

d) Design principles, taking account of the Garden Towns, Villages and Suburbs Prospectus ( or any 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 (see policy TR2);

i) The requirements set out in Policy BE1; and

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

k) Protection and enhancement of the historic environment"

These bullet points should be taken into account when considering aspects of the design of a development and statements should demonstrate how they have been incorporated into the scheme.

Parking and design

Local Plan policy TR3 sets out the Council's position on car parking in new developments and further guidance on the specific requirement for different land uses is provided in the Vehicle Parking Standards Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) 2018 (when adopted) or any subsequent update of this document. This document provides guidance on the minimum standards expected by the Council for residential developments. Specifically, it details the number of spaces to be provided per unit dependent upon location and size and sets out where spaces should be located for maximum overlooking and therefore security (as guided by both Secured by Design and the Garden Towns, Villages and Suburbs Prospectus).

Where possible the provision of underground parking should be investigated. It is recognised that Conservation considerations can present particular challenges in terms of the siting of parking and therefore a sensible approach should be taken to ensure adequate provision alongside all other advice given in this document.

Excessive areas of hard landscaping and hardstanding should be avoided and water permeable surfaces should be used. Existing front gardens, particularly in Conservation Areas, should be protected from becoming hardstanding for vehicle parking areas.

"TR3 Parking

Development will only be permitted that makes provision for parking which:-

a) has regard to the location and accessibility of the site by means other than the private car;

b) does not result in on-street car parking detrimental to highway safety;

c) takes account of the parking needs of disabled car users, motorcyclists and cyclists; and

d) takes account of the requirements of commercial vehicles.

Development will be expected to comply with the parking standards set out in the most recent Parking Supplementary Planning Document."


New dwellings either in groups or individually, will create a micro climate that can affect temperature, sunlight and wind environment. Careful and considered landscape design is an important element in any design proposal and may well form part of or a condition attached to a planning application. Soft landscaping is to be favoured over hard landscaping.

It will be useful to bear the following in mind when designing a landscaping scheme for any development:

  • Use deciduous and preferably native trees to provide shade in summer and allow sunlight to filter through in winter
  • Avoid excessive overshadowing of buildings whilst placing trees away from south facing elevations
  • Use planting to maximise solar glare
  • Use hedges and trees as windbreaks and also to provide shelter from cold draughts, particularly strong northerly winds
  • Consider boundary treatment of any site as an integrated part of the landscaping scheme
  • Carry out a biodiversity survey of the site as part of the site assessment to ensure that existing habitats can be adequately protected
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