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Getting housing design right

  • by JW

At the heart of the Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan is the Place Analysis which is all about good design in the built environment:

The second part of the Plan is an extensive Place Analysis commissioned by the Steering Group which contains design guidance for developers of any new housing or of refurbishments of existing buildings. 

Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan


Because people want better designed housing:

Futures Forum: A solution to our housing problems: better quality design


Although the promises of developers can be somewhat opaque:

Futures Forum: Persimmon, Sidmouth and “promoting well-designed housing that is sustainable and provides much-needed new housing…”


And down the road, the example of Cranbrook is hardly inspiring:

Futures Forum: Designing Cranbrook: how to ‘respond to lessons learnt from the completed housing’

Futures Forum: Cranbrook: where’s the ‘good design’?


For sale, Cranbrook. New Town rising – – 3092323.jpg


A Professor of Planning and Urban Design at The Bartlett School of Planning, UCL explores how little of this is really appreciated by the planning authorities:


Housing design, the local political perspective

Matthew Carmona: 23 April 2019

As a nation it is clear that for too long we have been building too few homes, and those we have been building are of a quality that often alienates the communities they are meant to serve, rather than uniting them in an aspiration to build more.  This has become a major political problem, and one which is occupying the minds and endeavours of our politicians nationally, as well as locally around the country.

As key decision-makers within their localities, not least as guardians of the local planning system, local councillors play a critical role in helping to shape the local built environment across the country.  Yet, despite this, we know little about their role and perspectives beyond anecdote and hearsay.  Recent Place Alliance research supported by the Urban Design Group had suggested that councillors themselves are increasingly poorly prepared and equipped to take on such a critical design decision-making role.  Indeed, only half of councillors receive any kind of design training at all, and this is typically minimal.

To understand better the role of English councillors as regards the design of new housing development: their aspirations, priorities, challenges and responsibilities, a new Place Alliance survey was launched in 2018 with support from the Design Network.

Our key recommendations for different stakeholders that flow from the work are summarised in the recommendations box:

Screenshot 2019-04-23 at 11.47.44


63. Housing design, the local political perspective