Local Plan Review - Publication Plan

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8. Design and space standards

Design Requirements

8.1 The council is committed to ensuring high standards of planning, design and layout in the district, recognising where people live has a major effect on their life. If where people live is well-planned, appropriately designed and effectively managed, their environmental quality of life is more likely to be of a good standard.

8.2 Chapter 12 of the National Planning Policy Framework 2021 'achieving well-designed places' states that creating 'high quality, beautiful and sustainable buildings and places is fundamental to what the planning and development process should achieve'. Reports from the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission such as 'living with beauty' report published January 2020 advocates all development should be beautiful and well designed.

8.3 Policy HC10 sets out a number of requirements to ensure development proposals are well designed and will function as attractive places which have a positive impact on peoples' well-being.

Policy HC10: Design Requirements

The council will require the design of all developments to be of a high quality.

All development proposals must achieve creative and sustainable design from the outset and throughout the lifetime of the development, which takes into account local character and distinctiveness and ensures all of the following:

  1. Reflects any relevant requirements in the latest South Staffordshire Design Guide SPD, relevant national and local design codes, or Conservation Area Management Plans relevant to the site.
  2. Reflects the positive features that make up the character of the local area, enhancing and complementing the site's surroundings.
  3. Incorporates tree lined streets, particularly along primary highway routes through the site.
  4. Positively responds to and respects the existing landform, layout, building orientation, massing and landscaping.
  5. Ensures attractive and distinctive development with use of a variety of materials that will remain attractive through the lifetime of the development, and uses bespoke house types to avoid a monotonous visual appearance.
  6. Well-designed buildings to reflect local vernacular, including historical building typologies where appropriate.
  7. Ensures land is used efficiently whilst respecting existing landscape and settlement character
  8. Provides a clear and permeable hierarchy of streets, routes and spaces which incorporate a variety of green infrastructure through the development.
  9. Ensures buildings can be entered, used and exited safely, easily and with dignity by all; are convenient and welcoming with no disabling barriers.
  10. Gives safe and convenient ease of movement to all users prioritising pedestrians and cycle users.
  11. Provides access to local services and facilities via sustainable modes of transport.
  12. Provides a range of house sizes, types and tenures in accordance with Policy HC1.
  13. Delivers socially inclusive, tenure-neutral housing for market and affordable properties where no tenure is disadvantaged, including the surrounding landscaping and public realm, in accordance with Policy HC3 and the Affordable Housing SPD.
  14. Ensures all public and private spaces are easily identifiable.
  15. Ensures that streets and other public spaces are well overlooked, whilst seeking to deliver wider Secure by Design principles, where practicable and consistent with other design objectives.
  16. Accommodates car and cycle parking, and bin storage using imaginative solutions that do not detract from the streetscene.
  17. Delivers a high quality and well-managed public realm that supports biodiversity, recreation and active travel.
  18. Is proactive and adaptive in responding to social and technological conditions particularly in relation to climate change.
  19. Minimises adverse impact on natural resources and maximises the restoration and enhancement of biodiversity.

Where infilling is proposed, it will only be permitted where it does not result in the unacceptable intensification of the area and is sensitively integrated into its immediate setting, townscape and landscape and wider settlement pattern.

Developments proposed to come forward alongside other adjacent or closely related sites with similar delivery timescales must prepare a framework plan to show how a comprehensive and integrated layout could be achieved alongside other sites in the area.

Development proposals should be consistent with other Local Plan policies.

Key Evidence
  • National Model Design Guide
  • South Staffordshire Design Guide SPD.
Implementation

Local/national Funding

Development Management

Partners

Section 106 agreement

Supplementary Planning Document

No

Yes

No

No

Yes

Protecting Amenity

8.4 Policy HC11 sets out the general principles relating to local amenity particularly in respect of important issues such as privacy, noise and disturbance and pollution including the amenity of residents living adjacent to buildings in agricultural use. The policy also considers reasonable levels of private amenity space and seeks to safeguard the amenity of neighbours and the natural environment. This policy is important for ensuring that new development does not have an adverse impact on the wellbeing of residents because of amenity issues.

Policy HC11: Protecting Amenity

All development proposals should take into account the amenity of any nearby residents, particularly with regard to privacy, security, noise and disturbance, pollution (including light pollution), odours and daylight.

Noise sensitive developments such as housing development will not be permitted in the vicinity of established noise generating uses where potential for harmful noise levels is known to exist unless measures to suppress noise sources can be provided through condition or legal agreement.

Development likely to generate harmful noise levels will be directed to appropriate locations away from known noise sensitive locations and noise sensitive habitats unless measures to suppress noise can be provided for the life of the development through legal agreement.

Sensitive developments such as housing will not be permitted in the vicinity of established sources of pollution which may give rise to harm to the amenity of occupants. Proposals involving the re-use of agricultural buildings to residential use should not take place where agricultural use involving the keeping of animals or associated waste is to be retained in nearby buildings.

Development likely to harm amenity will be directed to appropriate locations away from known sensitive locations or the natural environment.

Development must not unacceptably reduce the existing level of amenity space about buildings, particularly dwellings, and not unacceptably affect the amenity of residents or occupants.

Development proposals should be consistent with other Local Plan policies.

Implementation

Local/national Funding

Development Management

Partners

Section 106 agreement

Supplementary Planning Document

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Space about dwellings and internal space

8.5 The council is committed to ensuring that homes are well designed and offer suitable living conditions to future occupiers. With increases in the amount of home working this is more important to achieve than ever before.

8.6 Chapter 12 'achieving well-designed places' of the NPPF sets out how 'The creation of high quality, beautiful and sustainable buildings and places is fundamental to what the planning and development process should achieve'.

8.7 The creation of the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission and well as the publication of the National Model Design Code also highlights the Government's commitment and focus on creating well designed places.

8.8 The density of a new development will depend on several factors, including the location of the site, access points, local road network and characteristics of the surrounding area. The council recognises that each site has its own individual character and that any standards should not be so inflexible that they inhibit the creation of interesting and attractive housing layouts and design, having regard to the need to optimise overall development densities.

8.9 In 2015 the government introduced technical housing standards which are a nationally described internal space standard. All new development should be in accordance with these standards.

Policy HC12: Space about dwellings and internal space

The design of new housing should improve the overall quality of development in South Staffordshire, to create a place that people find attractive to live and work in. New development should be designed to take account of individual buildings, their inter-relationships and the character of its surroundings.

Consideration should be given to the layout and design of new housing development, so that a satisfactory standard of spacing around dwellings is achieved, considering outlook, privacy, safety, crime prevention and energy conservation.

Through appropriate design and layout, development proposals must ensure all of the following:

  1. Maximised daylight and sunlight to internal accommodation and private amenity areas. As far as is practicable, habitable room windows, especially lounge windows, should not face north.
  2. Reasonable privacy for dwellings within the layout and protection of the privacy of existing dwellings.
  3. A satisfactory outlook, both within the new development and in relation to the existing development.
  4. A reasonable area of outdoor private amenity space to allow such uses as drying, washing, gardening and children's play space and with space for garden storage. A reasonable area of communal open space must be provided for flats and specialist housing.

Internal Space and layout

All new residential developments must meet or exceed the Government's Technical Housing Standards – Nationally Described Space Standard (2015) or subsequent editions.

External Space

All private amenity space should be a minimum of 10 metres in length and the total area of the garden should be a minimum of:

  • 45 square metres for dwellings with 2 or less bedrooms;
  • 65 square metres for dwellings with 3 and 4 bedrooms;
  • 100 square metres for dwellings with 5 or more bedrooms;
  • 10 square metres per unit for flats/apartments provided in shared amenity areas.

Flexibility may be applied in relation to the above standard, depending upon the site orientation and the individual merits of the development proposal.

Distances between Dwellings

Dwellings should be designed and sited so as to ensure that all of the following are met:

  1. There is a minimum distance of 21 metres between facing principal windows.*
  2. There is a minimum distance of 14 metres from a principal window when it faces the wall of another dwelling with no principal window.
  3. There is a minimum distance of 10.5 metres from a principal window when the facing wall forms part of a single storey structure.

Flexibility may be applied in relation to the above garden length standard, depending upon the site orientation and the individual merits of the development proposal.

Development proposals should be consistent with other Local Plan policies.

* Principal windows are considered the main or largest glazed area of a room.

Key Evidence
  • Housing and Homelessness Strategy
  • Internal Space Standards Topic Paper
Implementation

Local/national Funding

Development Management

Partners

Section 106 agreement

Supplementary Planning Document

No

Yes

No

No

No

Parking Provision

8.10 It is important that the plan responds positively to shape the way parking is accommodated in new development. The NPPF seeks to encourage a reduction in car usage by promoting sustainable transport choices but also seeks to remove maximum parking standards and encourage local authorities and local communities to set parking standards at a level which best reflect the needs and requirements of their area. The form and amount of parking provided is also crucial to achieving high quality design within a scheme and can affect the amount of construction materials required in building a scheme, whilst provision of electric vehicle charging points can help to play a part in decarbonising the district's transport infrastructure.

8.11 The aim of Policy HC13 is to ensure that parking provision is carefully considered within new developments, ensuring that the right level of provision is achieved on a scheme-by-scheme basis. This policy approach in the detailed standards which sit behind it, aim to balance to the need to avoid under-provision of parking and creating a cluttered unattractive streetscene, alongside the increased embodied carbon footprint, inefficient use of land and lack of space for landscaping that could result from over-provision of parking spaces.

Policy HC13: Parking Provision

The council will require appropriate provision to be made for parking in development proposals in accordance with adopted parking standards. The council's recommended parking standards are set out in Appendix I. These should be considered the starting point for the level of cycle and car parking required to support a scheme, but in considering the final level of provision the council will have regard to all of the following:

  1. The anticipated demand for parking arising from the use proposed, or other uses to which the development may be put without needing planning permission.
  2. The scope for encouraging alternative means of travel to the development that would reduce the need for on-site car parking. This will be particularly relevant in areas well-served by public transport.
  3. The impact on highway safety from potential on-street car parking and the scope for measures to overcome any problems.
  4. The need to make adequate and convenient parking provision for disabled people.
  5. Requirements for electric vehicle charging facilities as set out in Appendix I, including infrastructure to support electric public transport where appropriate.
  6. The design quality of the scheme and the embodied emissions associated with the scheme's materials and construction.

Any required cycle storage must be safe, weatherproof, convenient and secure to assist in promoting cycle use. In addition to the electric vehicle charging standards, the provision of other emerging vehicular charging technologies (e.g. hydrogen) will also be supported where it can be demonstrated these will support the transition to zero carbon travel.

Development proposals should be consistent with other Local Plan policies.

Key Evidence
  • 2011 Census: Car or van availability, local authorities in England and Wales
  • Infrastructure Delivery Plan
Implementation

Local/national Funding

Development Management

Partners

Section 106 agreement

Supplementary Planning Document

No

Yes

Yes

No

No

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