Wiltshire Design Guide
To ensure that new developments, particularly new housing developments, are of a consistent and high-quality standard of design, we have prepared a draft Wiltshire Design Guide.
Background of the Design Guide
In the Housing White Paper GOV.UK: Policy paper - Fixing our broken housing market in 2017, the Government recognised that good design is fundamental to creating healthy and attractive places where people genuinely want to live, and which can cater for all members of the community, young or old. One of its key proposals was giving communities a stronger voice in the design of new housing to drive up the quality and character of new development, building on the success of neighbourhood planning.
Subsequently, in 2019, the Government produced GOV.UK: Guidance - National design guide. This addresses the question of how we recognise well-designed places, by outlining and illustrating the Government's priorities for well-designed places in the form of 10 characteristics. It sets out a blueprint for how local authorities can achieve quality and great design, and recommends what developers need to deliver to help win the support of communities - ensuring new homes are built faster and better.
It recognises that specific, detailed and measurable criteria for good design are most appropriately set out at the local level. They may take the form of local design policies, design guides or design codes, prepared either by local authorities, or applicants to accompany planning applications.
Developing a Wiltshire Design Guide - our proposal
The GOV.UK: Policy paper - National Planning Policy Framework states that the creation of high quality, beautiful and sustainable buildings and places is fundamental to what the planning and development process should achieve. Good design is a key aspect of sustainable development, creates better places in which to live and work. To provide clarity about local design expectations, we have produced a Wiltshire Design Guide.
The NPPF recommends that local design guides should provide a framework for creating beautiful and distinctive places with a consistent and high-quality standard of design. The level of detail and degree of prescription should be tailored to the circumstances and scale of change in each place and should allow a suitable degree of variety.
The opportunity now exists to create a county-wide Design Guide for Wiltshire that sets out specific, detailed and measurable criteria, that are important for achieving good design in Wiltshire. A draft guide has been produced and will undergo statutory consultation with the intention that it will be adopted as a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). The four-week consultation period provides the opportunity to have your say on this draft Wiltshire Design Guide.
We expect that Neighbourhood Plans should continue to prepare design guidance which relates to specific neighbourhoods or sites. To support this the council has also produced a Guidance for Neighbourhood Planning within Wiltshire - Integrating High Quality Design which includes, templates for Wiltshire's Neighbourhood Planning groups to assist them in incorporating design guidance or design codes that address local distinctiveness, local issues and priorities at a site specific or neighbourhood level. We would hope that this approach lowers the burden on local communities to address the more general matters of design, and instead allows them to focus on what is locally distinctive and a local priority for their area, which the Wiltshire Design Guide cannot feasibly account for.