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Urban design covers the appearance, function and relationship of buildings, streets, squares, parks and other public spaces. We are committed to the promotion of high quality design. Developers should familiarise themselves with and reference the following planning policies and guidance, where appropriate, when submitting planning applications.

Planning policy context

The revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out the Government’s planning policies for England and how these should be applied. It provides a framework for locally prepared plans for housing and other development to be produced.

The South Gloucestershire Core Strategy Policy CS1 ‘High quality design’ sets out our own area based visions and strategic objectives that new development should achieve.

Design and access statements

Most planning applications should be accompanied by a Design and Access Statement (DAS).  This guide explains what the DAS should include and the types of development where a DAS is not required.

National design guide

This guide illustrates how well-designed places that are beautiful, enduring and successful can be achieved in practice. The national design guide sets out the characteristics of well-designed places and demonstrates what good design means in practice.

Design West Design Review Panel

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) promotes the use of Design Review Panel services. As a result, the West of England Authorities and the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) have commissioned a regularised Design Review Panel service through the Bristol Architecture Centre and Design Excellence. It is known as Design West. This provides the Unitary Authorities and developer partners access to, and the benefit of an advisory panel of built environment experts, selected depending on the nature of the scheme and stage in the design process. If approached positively, panels can help guide the design process and understanding of challenging issues. A council planning and or urban design officer should also normally attend to provide a brief introduction of the key issues.

The general format involves a site visit followed by a short presentation by the applicant team and a round table panel discussion. A written response is then provided by the panel, usually within two weeks. The panel is briefed about the context and scope, and of discussions before the panel session.

Supplementary planning documents and guidance

We have adopted a range of supplementary planning documents (SPD) and supplementary planning guidance (SPG) which should be considered, depending on the type and location of the development:

* The LCA is particularly relevant to major development proposals in urban fringe locations and development in rural areas. Advice should be sought from landscape officers if you think it may be relevant to your proposal.

 Area based guidance

Conservation areas

Our conservation area policies provide specific information and in some cases management plans that may help with the contextual appraisal of certain development schemes.

Play policy and strategy

Encouraging activity through play is an important objective of our Sustainable Communities Strategy. Play opportunities should be incorporated wherever possible into new development schemes. Refer to our policy on play.

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