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Urban design advice

Urban design means the design of groups of buildings and the spaces between them, streets and whole areas. Urban design transcends arguments about the architectural style of individual buildings and focuses instead on our total surroundings. The way to promote good urban design is through provision of a clear design policy and by fostering quality in the design of public buildings and spaces.

Attractive and lively buildings, streets, parks and neighbourhoods, especially those with a mixture of compatible uses and historic character, all contribute to making the area a special place, which is a pleasure to live in. The quality of our surroundings is also now recognised as a vital factor in attracting and retaining businesses, employers and tourists.

Current government policy asks developers "to think imaginatively in future as to how proposals can incorporate mixed land uses, to produce lively and successful developments and provide a positive contribution to the quality of our towns and cities".

For more on urban design advice, please click on the headings below.

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  • Design of new development

    Good design should be the aim of all involved in the development process, but it is primarily the responsibility of designers and their clients. Nevertheless, the appearance of proposed development and its relationship to its surroundings are material considerations in determining planning applications (please also see the National Planning Policy Framework - Section 7).

    As well as appearance, the practical aspects of building design are also key; soundness of construction, energy conservation, drainage, access, car parking, daylight and overshadowing, for instance. But well-designed buildings can enrich our surroundings and cultural life.

    It's also more about quality than style and taste. Our philosophy is that new development should meet all the necessary practical design considerations, that it should not damage the environment, and that it should respect its surroundings. In conservation areas this may normally point towards a more 'traditional' approach, not necessarily slavishly copying the past but complementing it, with the use of traditional forms and materials. In other locations, such as business parks or free-standing sites, imaginative modern designs which make a 'statement' are positively welcomed. In all locations, however, the intrinsic 'quality' of the design will be the chief benchmark.

  • Design guidance

    Applicants and developers are advised to discuss their proposals for development with the planning department before submission of an application. Urban design advice is most effective at pre-application stage. We offer a pre-application service for applicants.

    Design guidance

    The following documents provide guidance on the design and layout of buildings/developments.