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New housing - our policies and strategies

Wiltshire Core Strategy and Wiltshire 2026: Planning for Wiltshire's Future (Local Development Framework)

The Wiltshire Core Strategy is the most important part of the Local Development Framework (LDF), a suite of planning policy documents that replace the Local Plans covering Wiltshire and the South Wiltshire Core Strategy The Wiltshire Core Strategy was formally adopted by Wiltshire Council on 20 January 2015. The Plan provides a positive and flexible overarching planning policy framework for Wiltshire for the period up to 2026. It is is designed to sustainably balance the economic, social and environmental demands of the area. It is a plan to tackle Wiltshire's long-term growth aspirations through collaboration with local communities, business leaders and wider stakeholders.

Read about the Core Strategy

A number of Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs) were produced by the former District Councils that support policies within their respective Local Plans. Some were prepared before September 2004 and are referred to as Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG).A draft Supplementary Planning Document is currently being produced, which will include more detail about the policies in the emerging Wiltshire Core Strategy.

Read more about Supplementary Planning Documents


Design standards

  • Good housing design can create places that are healthy, safe and desirable, making them better places to live
  • Good design takes into account functionality, durability and impact and the Building for Life definition of ‘commodity, firmness and delight’
  • It also takes into account sustainable design, which responds to issues that include energy and resource efficiency, as well as accessibility, the use of public spaces and service infrastructure
  • The design of new developments should ideally include design for adaptation so that properties can accommodate occupants’ changing needs and lifestyles

Relevant standards under consideration are:

  • These are in the process of being abolished as the government is introducing a new Local Standards Framework to replace the additional building standards and codes that have been attached to planning permissions
  • In the meantime, existing HCA standards, including the HQI system, Code 3 of the Code for Sustainable Homes and Building for Life requirements, will continue to apply to new affordable housing
  • The new local standards framework will be included in the National Planning Policy Framework, which will be introduced by the summer of 2012
  • Individual frameworks will be developed and maintained by councils and the house building industry to ensure that new housing meets the needs of local communities
  • Code Level 3 is currently mandatory for schemes funded through the HCA
  • The Code levels refer to the levels of carbon emissions caused by the development with Code Level 6 being carbon-neutral
  • The Code measures the sustainability of new homes against nine categories of sustainable design and rates the ‘whole home’ as a complete package
  • The Lifetime Homes standard is a set of 16 design criteria that provide a model for building accessible and adaptable homes
  • Housing that is designed to the Lifetime Homes Standard will be convenient for most occupants, including some (but not all) wheelchair users and disabled visitors, without the need for substantial alterations
  • This is a police initiative that seeks to encourage the construction industry to adopt crime prevention measures in the design of developments, to assist in reducing the opportunity for and fear of crime
  • The initiative has two levels of compliance, and its correct implementation is supported by police Architectural Liaison Officers
  • This is an assessment tool to enable planners and developers to set and agree appropriate targets for development proposals, which will improve, measure and independently certify the sustainability of those proposals
  • The Building for Life criteria are a series of 20 questions used to evaluate the quality of new housing and mixed use developments
  • These cover environment and community, character, streets, parking and pedestrianism, and design and construction

This is a potential initiative to encourage the development of ‘Decent Homes Plus’ by our RSL partners.  Decent Homes Plus should be better aligned to the wishes and expectations of the occupants and should include:

  • A more ambitious thermal comfort criterion, which is in line with Building Regulations in force at the time the new Standard is set
  • Accessibility standards for elderly and disabled people
  • Internal noise insulation within and between dwellings
  • Standards for the external environment (i.e. communal areas) that integrate Decent Homes Plus with the Sustainable Communities policy
  • Decent Homes Plus is just a concept at this stage and has received no official adoption as yet
  • It refers to properties that meet standards in excess of those required by the Decent Home Standard

relating to affordable housing and which respond to acknowledged best practice – e.g. small clusters of affordable housing, known as ‘pepper potting’, i.e. mixing affordable housing in amongst owner-occupied housing, with the aim of developing mixed communities.


Consideration is being given to which design standards Wiltshire Council will adopt, to avoid having a ‘wish list' of standards and instead have a practical, workable and viable set of standards that deliver quality housing that Wiltshire needs according to our evidence base.
Developers will not always welcome design standards for financial reasons.  However, there is much evidence to suggest that good design need not cost more and indeed may save money in both the long and short term.

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Last updated: 20 March 2019 | Last reviewed: 20 March 2019