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Guildford Borough Council

Proposed Submission Local Plan: strategy and sites 2017

Proposed Submission Local Plan: strategy and sites 2017 - Part 1: Policies

Policy D4: Character and design of new development

Policy D4: Development in urban areas and inset villagesCharacter and design of new development


4.5.45a One of the core planning principles of the NPPF is to always seek to secure high quality design and a good standard of amenity for all existing and future occupants of land and buildings.

4.5.46 High quality design that responds to its local context will be required on all new development. In addition to the site allocations, it will also be required we anticipate that aon the range of other development sites that will continue to come forward through redevelopment, infilling or conversions. Some of these sites will have been identified within the latest Land Availability Assessment (LAA), whilst some will unexpectedly come forward through the planning application process.

4.5.47 The purpose of this policy is to ensure that whilst seeking to promote the efficient use of land, this does not negatively impact upon the quality of the local environment. All new development must contribute towards achieving high quality and attractive places.

POLICY D4: Development in urban areas and inset villagesCharacter and design of new development

(1) Planning permission for new development in the urban areas of Guildford, and Ash and Tongham, and inset villages will be granted provided that itHigh quality design is expected in the borough. All developments will:

(a) integrate well with the natural, built and historic environment

(b) respect important public views and help create attractive new views and vistas

(c) create attractive, safe and accessible places that discourage crime and disorder through design

(d) respond meaningfully and sensitively to the site, its characteristics and constraints, and the street patterns, spaces around buildings, layout, grain, scale, massing, proportions, height and materials of surrounding buildings

(e) ensure appropriate density to make the most efficient use of the land whilst responding to local character and context

(f) be laid out to make the best use of the natural features such as topography, trees and hedges, watercourses, ponds and levels, and enhance views into and out of the site

(g) promote and reinforce local distinctiveness to create a sense of place with innovative architecture encouraged in the appropriate context

(h) provide visual interest at pedestrian level

(i) be expected to have regard to and perform positively against the recommendations set out in the latest Building for Life guidance

(j) be expected to use art, appropriate materials and landscaping of a nature appropriate to their setting

(k) be designed to minimise the visual impact of traffic and parking

•  ensures that the layout, scale, form, massing, height of buildings and structures, and materials relate to the site context and its surroundings

•  respects and compliments the existing grain and street pattern of the area

(l) conserves locally and nationally important heritage assets and conserves or enhances their settings

(m) haves no unacceptable effect on the amenities enjoyed by the occupants of buildings in terms of privacy, noise, vibration, pollution, dust, smell and access to sunlight and daylight.

(n) conform to the nationally described space standards as set out by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

(2) In addition to the above, proposals for new development within inset villages areas will have particular regard to:

(a) the distinctive settlement pattern of the village and the important relationship between the built development and the surrounding landscape;

(b) important views of the village from the surrounding landscape;

(c) views within the village of local landmarks.



4.5.48 Local lLandmarks are prominent buildings within the village such as churches, village schools, public houses and war memorials. This is not an exhaustive list and does not exclude other buildings being referred to as local landmarks as it will differ between villages. Accessible places are those where the public would reasonably have access and which make provision for safe and convenient access by people with disabilities.

Reasoned Justification

4.5.49 One of the core planning principles of the NPPF is to always seek to secure high quality design and a good standard of amenity for all existing and future occupants of land and buildings.

4.5.49a We will expect development to respond to local character and history, reflecting the identity of its context whilst allowing for innovative and forward thinking design. This should include taking account of the existing grain and street patterns and established building lines, local building vernacular and considering the effects upon views, topography, natural features, skylines, landscape setting and character, and the setting of designated and non-designated heritage assets. The relationship of the built environment to the landscape must be taken into account and the transition from urban to rural character will need to be reflected in the design of new development with the green approaches to settlements respected. Balanced with this is a requirement to develop with flair, imagination and style, reflecting our position as a regional centre and County town. These design considerations will be set out in more detail in the Local Plan Development Management Policies Document. This approach is not confined to our urban areas but will be appropriate throughout the borough.

4.5.49b The NPPF also recognises the role that public art has. Opportunities will be sought for innovative and dynamic public art that has residents and artists at its core whilst celebrating and enhancing its rich heritage of architecture, landscape and public art. The Council's emerging Public Art Strategy will include consideration of the role that developers can take in providing art to enhance the environment in and around development sites, and will set out good practice and recommended commissioning processes.

4.5.50 Historically development has been focused in the urban areas of Guildford and Ash and Tongham only. Development in the villages has been very limited due to the Green Belt designation which previously washed over all but one of the villages. Fifteen villages are now inset from the Green Belt meaning that development is no longer, by definition, considered inappropriate. In accordance with national policy, the important character of these inset villages should instead be protected using other development management policies.

4.5.51 The NPPF sets out a clear national policy framework for promoting good design as a key element to achieving sustainable development. It should be considered indivisible from good planning and should contribute positively to making places better for people.

4.5.52 Regard will be had to various Council documents in assessing the design of new development to ensure that it provides positive benefit in terms of landscape and townscape character, and enhances local distinctiveness. This includes the Residential Design Guide and the Landscape Character Assessment (LCA). The LCA explores how change through built development and land management can be guided to protect, conserve and enhance the landscape character of the borough from the rural countryside to the townscapes in the urban centres.

Key Evidence

  • Landscape Character Assessment (Guildford Borough Council, 2007)
  • Building for Life 12: The sign of a good place to live (Design Council, Third Edition 2013)
  • By Design, Urban Design in the planning system: towards better practice (DETR, 2000)
  • Active by Design: Designing places for healthy lives - A short guide (Design Council, 2014)
  • Residential Design Guide 2004 Supplementary Planning Guidance (Guildford Borough Council, 2004)
  • Technical housing standards - nationally described space standards (DCLG, 2015)


Monitoring Indicators



Data source

Number of appeals allowed for applications for new buildings in the inset villages

Percentage of appeals allowed for applications originally refused for design reasons

Reduction in the number of appeals allowed

Reduction in the percentage of appeals allowed that are considered to be poorly designed

Planning applications and appeals