A draft design guide entitled "Design Principles" was issued for public consultation- you can download a copy using the links further down this page.
Following the period of public consultation, "Design Principles", with minor modifications, was adopted formally as Council Policy in March 2005.
About design principles
We produced Design Principles with a single purpose in mind - to encourage improvements in the design quality of new developments. Design Principles seeks to achieve this aim by establishing a set of clear design criteria against which proposals may be judged, and by raising awareness of the wide ranging benefits of good design.
Design Principles is aimed at everyone involved in the process of commissioning, designing and constructing new buildings. Although intended mainly as reference for designers and developers, it provides useful information for anyone interested in our approach to building design.
The importance of good design
The standard of design of new developments has a significant impact on the overall quality of our environment, affecting people's lives on a daily basis at home and at work. Well-designed buildings enhance not only the appearance of places, and our enjoyment of them, but can deliver other benefits too:
- good design makes practical and economic sense
- well-designed places function well
- they are easily accessible
- they feel safe
- good buildings are cost-effective to maintain
- they provide flexible accommodation that can be adapted easily to meet changing circumstances.
- Good design can also deliver more sustainable forms of development, and help to avoid wasteful use of energy and materials.
Key design principles
Design Principles is not a design guide in the traditional sense, it does not provide lists of design "do's and don'ts", and it is not intended to be used as a "design rule book". Design Principles does not attempt to tell the reader how to design, instead of prescribing model development types or architectural styles, it identifies five key design principles it expects new development to follow. The key design principles make clear the various issues we expect designers to take into account when drawing up proposals. The key design principles will form the basis of our design assessment of all development proposals.
New development should integrate well with its surroundings, and take full account of site features and local character. New development should be neighbourly and, where appropriate, reinforce local distinctiveness.
New development should be designed to create a sense of place and identity. Particular attention should be paid to the design of spaces and places between and surrounding buildings.
New buildings should be pleasing to the eye, soundly built and fit for their purpose. Particular attention should be paid to issues of scale and proportion, visual balance and order, architectural expression, detailing and the use of external materials.
New developments should be based on established principles of sustainable construction. Particular attention should be reducing energy consumption.
New developments should create places where people feel safe and that are easily accessible to all.