Issue and Options 2023

Ended on the 6 March 2023
If you are having trouble using the system, please try our help guide.

8: A well-designed and beautiful South Warwickshire

Chapter 8 sets out various options regarding design, beauty and heritage. Your views are sought on the following issues:

What you said:

  • Broaden design principles identified in the Scoping Document and ensure they have a role in both determining the locations of growth and the design of the growth itself
  • Create a predictable approach to design quality and standards in the application of the plan policies
  • Recognise and draw out the benefits of mixed use
  • Place greater emphasis on place and character
  • Ensure design is complimentary whith the agenda of tackling climate change, and with economic factors (albeit views on the later were mixed)

Design is an overarching concept which interacts directly or indirectly with all other aspects of the plan. It is about how a place functions and feels at all scales, encompassing the 6 high level principles in paragraph 130 of the NPPF. The NPPF places renewed emphasis on creating 'well designed places', stating that "good design is a key aspect of sustainable development" (para 126). It includes a section (paragraphs 126-136) dedicated to setting out how to achieve this, supported by the National Design Guide and the National Model Design Code.

This section will consider principles for strategic design policy, protecting and enhancing heritage assests, and policy mechanisms/vehicles which could be identified/referenced within the SWLP to achieve the best design outcomes at all scales. It should be considered in conjunction with the principle of 20-minute neighbourhoods and other connectivity matters; which are key to design integration; set out under the theme 'A Well Connected South Warwickshire'.

Paragraph 127 of the NPPF sets out that plans should identify a clear design vision and expectations at the most appropriate scale. These, it goes on, should be produced in collaboration with local communities, and build upon understanding and evaluation of the area's local characteristics.

Given the strategic nature of the Part 1 SWLP, it will be important to set out appropriate strategic design policies, whilst also identifying vehicles to determine finer grain policy tailored in detail to specific locations. This finer grain policy may be within specific design guides, developed in consultation with the local community, or through Neighbourhood Development Plans (NDPs) developed by the local community itself.

Strategic design policies aim to form the foundations on which to build future detail, and ensure that growth is located and designed to create places for all residents in future. Aspects of child-friendly environments are being considered in the development of policy, as environments that are friendly to children are also generally more hospitable to many other sectors of society. In addition, climate adaptation is likely to link through these policies.

Issue D1: Strategic design principles

In considering the scope of potential strategic principles for inclusion in the SWLP, particular regard has been given to paragraph 130 of the NPPF, policy CS.9 of the Stratford on Avon Core Strategy, and policies BE1 and BE2 of the Warwick District Local Plan. Recurring themes in these policies are reflected in option 1 below.

Current adopted policy

Policy document

Policy reference

Page no.

Policy Summary

Stratford-on-Avon District Core Strategy

CS.9

63

Attractive, sensitive, distinctive, connected, environmentally sustainable, accessible, safe and healthy, plus reference to innovation in design.

Warwick District Local Plan

DS3

16

Strategic principles for high quality new development

Warwick District Local Plan

DS15

27

Refers to the comprehensive development of strategic sites and cross references with policy BE2 (see below)

Warwick District Local Plan

SC0

83

High level principles including design principles

Warwick District Local Plan

BE1

84

Sets out 17 (a-q) design principles that development proposals should demonstrate

Warwick District Local Plan

BE2

86

Requires development briefs for significant housing sites (defined as 200+ homes), and sets out principles which should be included

A strategic design principles policy is expected to cover the following:

  • Comprehensive development - ensuring development is designed and delivered in a coordinated way, and avoiding piecemeal schemes.
  • Attractiveness – creating a pleasant environment to live and work.
  • Sensitive to context – responds to its surroundings.
  • Distinctiveness – builds upon the unique characteristics of its surroundings and/or creates a unique sense of place in itself.
  • Connectedness (also tackles aspects of 'healthy') - weaves into existing networks of different scales
  • Safety – ensures layout and orientation create spaces and overall environment that feels safe and secure to be in.
  • Environmental sustainability and adapting to climate change (links to policies in 'A climate resilient and Net Zero Carbon South Warwickshire' section)
  • Mix and amount of development (links to D3 below) - getting the right range of complimentary uses

(111)Q-D1.1: Do you agree that this is an appropriate range of topics for a strategic design policy? 

Q-D1.2: If no, please indicate why

This strategic policy should be supplemented by place specific policies building upon emerging evidence including the 'Settlement Design Analysis'. Potential vehicles to deliver this are discussed below (D2).

Issue D2: Design Codes and design guides

Paragraph 128 of the NPPF promotes the use of design codes and design guides by Local Planning Authorities, and specifies that they should set out principles consistent with those identified in the National Design Guide, and the National Model Design Code. The extent of the geographic coverage of these codes or guides however, along with the degree of prescription within them, should be tailored to the circumstances and scale of change in each place.

In the context of a Part 1 plan, the extent of the areas such codes or guides might most appropriately cover, the responsibility and timing of their preparation, and the degree of prescription they might appropriately include, are therefore matters that could appropriately be considered within the policy of the plan. Given that we are at the 'Issues and Options' stage of the plan making process, and do not therefore have a defined spatial strategy, it is challenging to develop this policy concept at this point. Referencing it here is broadly intended to gain feedback on high level principles.

Current policy context

Policy document

Policy reference

Page no.

Policy Summary

Stratford-on-Avon District Core Strategy

CS.9

66

Lists where design principles and contextual analysis needed to inform proposals can be found, including development briefs, masterplans and design guides and statements.

Stratford-on-Avon District Core Strategy

Area strategies

Specific design policies and principles for different settlements across the district.

Warwick District Local Plan

DS15

27

Refers to the comprehensive development of strategic sites and cross references with policy BE2 (see below)

Warwick District Local Plan

BE2

86

Requires development briefs for significant housing sites (defined as 200+ homes), and sets out principles which should be included

The following options may not be mutually exclusive. A 'mix and match' approach might be appropriate depending on the preferred spatial strategy emerging later in the plan-making process.

(129)Q-D2: Please select all options which are appropriate for South Warwickshire

Issue D3: Designing adaptable, diverse and flexible places

It is the intention to include policy on the creation adaptable, diverse and flexible places, incorporating the following principles:

  • Creating varied and distinctive neighbourhoods which provide for local needs
  • Ensuring a mix of land uses to provide for local needs
  • Ensuring a range of densities within settlements appropriate to the function and character of the place.

This policy area may be addressed in the Strategic design principles set out in DS1 (or alternatively other policy areas such as 20-minute neighbourhoods) and may not therefore ultimately be considered discretely in a preferred policy approach. However, there are options specific to this issue which may benefit from further exploration at this stage, most notably in respect of the approach to density. Current policy approaches (see table) across Warwick and Stratford-on-Avon differ, with Warwick specifying a minimum density of 30 d.p.h (with opportunities to increase from that minimum), and Stratford-on-Avon having no overarching minimum.

Density ranges within the plan have potential to influence the capacity of sites to deliver homes and infrastructure, and therefore the amount of greenfield land that may be necessary to meet South Warwickshire's needs. It also has a role in accessibility to infrastructure by means other than the car, and therefore supporting vitality and viability (hence the link to the principle of 20-minute neighbourhoods). This has to be balanced the prevailing characteristics of the place and its context. All of these matters are identified in the National Model Design Code, and underlined by paragraph 124 of the NPPF 'Achieving appropriate densities'.

The SWLP team have produced a density guide which illustrates typical housing densities found within the South Warwickshire Area.

The Settlement Design Analysis, includes high level assessments of the prevailing density ranges across a number of towns and villages within South Warwickshire as part of the evidence base which could determine the overall approach to density within the SWLP. In addition, the Urban Capacity Study identifies density ranges which could inform the policy approach.

To a significant degree, the approach to density in the SWLP is likely to be linked to the preferred spatial strategy (see Refined Spatial Growth Options. For example, a strategy focussed on rail access might seek higher densities in close proximity to railway stations. This would maximise the accessibility to the stations with a view to reducing reliance on the private car. Notwithstanding this link, there are a range of policy approaches to density as identified in the options below.

Current adopted policy

Policy document

Policy reference

Page no.

Policy Summary

Stratford-on-Avon District Core Strategy

CS.9 s

66

Lists where design principles and contextual analysis needed to inform proposals can be found, including development briefs, masterplans and design guides and statements. No specific policy reference to density. Para 3.8.5 however suggests that some higher density development within the district has been considered inappropriate in the past.

Warwick District Local Plan

BE2

86

Specifies a minimum density of 30 d.p.h on greenfield sites. Supporting text (para 5.19) identifies that in town centre locations, and around transport interchanges, the density of development should be significantly higher than the minimum.

(104)Q-D3: Please select all options which are appropriate for South Warwickshire

Issue D4: Safe and attractive streets and public spaces

In addition to the strategic design principles set out earlier in this section (D1), a high-level policy in respect of public spaces, including streets is also suggested. This would draw upon relevant principles of HealthyStreets and would provide the foundation for further detailed policy in subsequent policy documents, and/or design codes. Street design should be considered in conjunction with other policy topics within the Issues and Options, including green infrastructure, climate adaptation, and creating healthy places, and is directly related to successful delivery of 20-minute neighbourhoods (see 'A Well Connected South Warwickshire').

Current adopted policy

Policy document

Policy reference

Page no.

Policy Summary

Stratford-on-Avon District Core Strategy

CS.9

63-64

Attractive, sensitive, distinctive, connected, environmentally sustainable, accessible, safe and healthy, plus reference to innovation in design. Specifically parts 3, 4 and 6.

Warwick District Local Plan

BE1

84

Sets out 17 (a-q) design principles that development proposals should demonstrate – specifically c, f, i, k, m, o, p

A policy on the design of safe and attractive streets is expected to include the following:

  • Prioritise the needs of those engaged in active travel – i.e. pedestrians and cyclists (links to and supports the underpinning of 20-minute neighbourhoods)
  • Ensure that streets and spaces are appropriately enclosed by buildings or strong landscaping to clearly define public and private spaces
  • Ensure streets and public spaces feel overlooked, safe and inclusive
  • Legible street layout – minimising use of dead-end cul de sacs
  • Quality of public realm, including adaptation for climate change – e.g. street tree planting

(96)Q-D4.1: Do you agree that this is an appropriate range of topics for a policy on the design of safe and attractive streets? 

Q-D4.2: If no, please indicate why

Issue D5: Protecting and enhancing heritage assets

What you said:

  • Concerns that heritage assets had not been adequately addressed within the Scoping and Call for Sites Consultation and where discussed only the most important heritage assets were referenced.
  • Respondents felt the plan should outline an approach to avoid harm to designated and recognised heritage assets.

Heritage assets, both designated and otherwise, are crucial in maintaining the character of an area, and helping people connect to the past. The number of heritage assets within South Warwickshire, and the rich history attributed to them plays a significant role in making the area a desirable place to live, work and visit and their protection and enhancement is integral to creating a well-designed and beautiful south Warwickshire. Therefore, determining how to best protect and enhance heritage assets is an important aspect of the plan. This being said, there are numerous aspects relating to the preservation and enhancement of heritage assets that are not considered strategic, such as how historic buildings can be adapted in light of climate change, and how heritage assets can be enhanced to support the cultural offering of the area. These non-strategic aspects will be considered within part 2 of the plan.

Nonetheless, heritage is still an important consideration at the strategic level and has already been considered as part of the evidence base to inform the emerging growth options. As part of the settlement design analysis discussed in more detail within the section 'D3: Designing adaptable, diverse and flexible places' consultants were asked to conduct a Heritage and Settlement Sensitivity Assessment to determine the impact development may have on the heritage assets within various settlements, and this will be used when determining the growth strategy. Such an approach has been taken due to the value of heritage assets across the area, and by considering the heritage assets and their settings from the outset, any significant impacts can be avoided or if necessary, mitigated, and areas where development would help enhance heritage assets can be identified.

To compliment this evidence, it is proposed that part 1 of the local plan contains a high-level strategic policy that seeks to protect and enhance the existing heritage assets, drawing upon the existing policies within the Stratford-on-Avon Core Strategy and the Warwick Local Plan. Strategic policies would also utilise the numerous advice notes produced by Historic England, as well as Warwickshire County Councils Heritage and Culture Strategy 2020-2025, and the guidance offered within the NPPF.

Current Adopted Policy

Policy document

Policy reference

Page no.

Policy Summary

Stratford-on-Avon District Core Strategy

CS.8

58

Current policy seeks to protect and enhance the historic environment for its inherent value, and for the enjoyment of residents and visitors. Where proposals will affect heritage assets the level of harm will need to be considered against the level of public benefits. Where development does take place, proposals will be high quality, sensitively designed and integrated with the historic context.

Warwick District Local Plan

HE1

111

Development is not permitted if it results in substantial harm to or total loss of the significance of a designated heritage asset, unless it is demonstrated that the substantial harm or loss is necessary to achieve substantial public benefits that outweigh that harm or loss, or, a number of extenuating criteria are met.

Warwick District Local Plan

HE3

115

Development that would lead to the demolition or loss of significance of a locally listed historic asset will be assessed in relation to the scale of harm or loss and the significance of the asset. Change to locally listed historic assets should be carried out using traditional detailing and using traditional materials.

Warwick District Local Plan

HE4

115

Development will not be permitted that results in substantial harm to Scheduled Monuments or other archaeological remains of national importance, and their settings unless in wholly exceptional circumstances.

(187)Q-D5: Should we continue with the approach to include a high-level strategic policy within the Part 1 plan and to utilise heritage assessments to inform the growth strategy, and delay detailed policies to Part 2? 

Q-D6: Please add any comments you wish to make about a well-designed and beautiful South Warwickshire

If you are having trouble using the system, please try our help guide.
back to top back to top