Policy HOU1 Quality in New Residential Development in Settlements
Planning permission will only be granted for new residential development where it is demonstrated that the proposal will create a high quality, sustainable and safe residential environment. The design and layout of residential development should be based on an overall design concept that draws upon the positive aspects of the character and appearance of the surrounding area, provides adequate public and private open space and ensures good connectivity with existing local facilities and amenities. Where a need is identified adequate provision should be made for necessary local neighbourhood facilities to be provided by the developer as an integral part of the development.
All proposals for residential development are required to submit a Design Concept Statement or a Concept Master Plan. A Concept Master Plan will be required for developments of 200 dwellings or more or for the development, in part or full, of sites of 10 hectares or more zoned for housing in the Local Development Plan or residential development on any other site of 10 hectares or more. In the case of proposals for the partial development of a site zoned for housing the Concept Master Plan will be expected to demonstrate how the comprehensive planning of the entire zoned area is to be undertaken. Any proposal for residential development that would result in unsatisfactory piecemeal development will not be permitted, even on land identified for residential use in the Local Development Plan.
In established residential areas (see Appendix E), with the exception of such areas in main towns that are located adjacent to main public transport nodes or within or closely associated with the town centre, planning permission will only be granted for the redevelopment of existing buildings, or the infilling of vacant sites (including extended garden areas) to accommodate new housing where the proposed density is not significantly higher than that found in the established residential areas and the pattern of development is in keeping with the overall character and environmental quality of the established residential area. All dwelling units and apartments in established residential areas should be built to a size not less than those set out in Appendix F and should not result in unacceptable damage to the residential amenity of these areas.
All proposals for residential development will be expected to meet the General Policy and accord with other provisions of the LDP. In addition, the guidance set out in Appendix D and in the ‘Creating Places’ design guide, alongside the principles outlined in ‘Living Places – An Urban Stewardship and Design Guide’ will be taken into account when assessing proposals. Any proposal for residential development which fails to produce an appropriate quality of design will not be permitted, even on land identified for residential use in the Local Development Plan.
Justification and Amplification
This policy applies to all proposals for new residential development in settlements.
Council wishes to secure a high quality of design, layout and landscaping in all new residential development across the Borough to deliver attractive, safe and sustainable residential environments. These matters are considered as important as the suitability of the site in deciding whether to grant planning permission.
Quality design comes from achieving a balanced response to all the factors influencing a scheme. It will require housing layouts with individuality and which draw on the positive elements of the local context by making the most of a site’s characteristics and its landscape or townscape setting. Quality design also entails variety and contrast within developments, in layout,in boundaries and planting, and in adapting the buildings and spaces around them, to enhance local distinctiveness. It requires attention to detail and consideration of all matters which contribute to a sense of place, such as the protection and integration of natural and historic environment features and local landmarks. Quality design must also address the needs of residents, in particular those of children and the elderly (see Policy HOU7Adaptable and Accessible Homes and Policy HOU6 Housing Mix (Unit Types and Sizes). It encourages pedestrian and cycle movements, makes provision for increased use of public transport, promotes biodiversity and encourages wildlife, integrates open space and, where necessary connects to or accommodates local neighbourhood facilities. Policy OSL4 Public Open Space in New Residential Development sets out the amount of public open space required within residential developments including the provision of children’s play spaces. Where possible, developments should include open space linkages to designated regional or community greenways in accordance with Policy OSL2 Greenways.
The quality of a development relies not only on the design of its functional parts, but also the totality of what is sought in terms of its vision or overall character. It is therefore important that new residential development is based on a clear design concept that seeks to deliver on this vision. Ideally design concepts should be based on a network of spaces rather than a hierarchy of roads. This will help ensure the creation of surroundings with an attractive human scale and a distinctive overall sense of place.
A Design Concept Statement is necessary to demonstrate how the proposed scheme has taken account of the main features of the site and its context and how it will meet the criteria set out in the General Policy, thereby contributing to the promotion of a quality and sustainable residential environment. The statement should outline in writing the overall design concept and objectives for the site and include an indicative concept plan, based on the appraisal of the site and its context. The amount of information and level of detail required will depend on the nature, scale and location of the proposed development. It should be noted that design and access statements (D&AS) are a current requirement under planning legislation that should accompany certain applications. In relation to residential development this includes an application which is a major development (i.e. comprises 50 units or more; or the area of the site is or exceeds 2 hectares) or where one or more dwelling houses are located within a designated area. Where Council grants outline planning permission for residential development based on indicative plans, a condition will be imposed requiring that any reserved matters application be based broadly on these plans. Where a Concept Master Plan is required, this will need to indicate in graphic form a scheme for the comprehensive development of the whole area, and include a written statement, detailed appraisals, sketches, plans and other illustrative materials. The Concept Master Plan should also clearly demonstrate how it is intended to implement the scheme.
The comprehensive planning of new or extended housing areas is important to avoid piecemeal development that may result in the undesirable fragmentation of a new neighbourhood and fail to secure the proper phasing of development with associated infrastructure and facilities. Council would encourage land pooling by owners and developers to facilitate the comprehensive development of residential sites. Where this cannot be achieved, and comprehensive development of the site would be prejudiced, the application will be refused.
Council will not permit proposals for new housing development in established residential areas where these would result in unacceptable damage to the local character, environmental quality or residential amenity of these areas. However, in recognition of the desirability of promoting increased density housing in appropriate locations, suitably designed higher density proposals in established residential areas in the following locations within main towns may be acceptable: i) adjacent to main public transportation nodes and ii) in designated town centres or areas closely associated with them.
In Conservation Areas and Areas of Townscape Character housing proposals will be required to maintain or enhance the distinctive character and appearance of such areas in accordance with Policy HE6 Conservation Areas and Policy HE7 Areas of Townscape Character.
The acceptability of proposals will depend on the particular circumstances of the site and its surroundings and decisions will be informed by the guidance provided in Appendix D and in the ‘Creating Places’ design guide, alongside the principles outlined in ‘Living Places – An Urban Stewardship and Design Guide’.