Have your say on new Bolsover housing designs

Four councils are working together to ask local residents what they think about their guidance on future housing design.

Bassetlaw, Bolsover, Chesterfield and North East Derbyshire councils are working together with support from an advisor from the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) to address common design issues that arise with many housing proposals by the production of a guidance note on housing design.

The purpose of the guide is to promote and secure good quality design in new housing developments across all four local authorities and to make it clear what is expected by all four planning authorities when deciding planning applications. The draft document outlining the purpose, objectives and principles of good housing design has been produced and is available to comment upon through the councils’ websites. 

The document looks at the challenges, the design process, good practice and the management and maintenance of places with a view to seeking an improvement of housing quality and influencing the design and standards of new housing provision.

A spokesperson for all four councils said: “It is important that the emphasis when building new houses is on the place rather than just producing housing estates.  That is why it is essential that applicants look carefully at the site and its surroundings in order to properly understand the place, its character and how it works before preparing detailed designs.” 

National house builders often approach sites with a standard stock of house types and design solutions, whereas more local developers may not have the resources to engage the professional services necessary to deliver better quality design.

Although the document is intended primarily for use by developers and their designers, it is also intended to assist planning officers and councillors when dealing with design issues; as well as inform, community groups and members of the public who may become engaged with proposals for new housing developments. The document also includes details of private space guidelines that will help to produce appropriate layouts for new developments and protect existing residents from inappropriate development.

The guidance would apply primarily to housing proposals of 10 or more units (including mixed-use schemes), although many of the principles will also be applicable to schemes with fewer houses. 

The benefits will include:

        A more consistent approach to design across the four authorities;

        New development better designed to fit in with local character;

        Provide better links to and between the local area;

        A structured approach to design should enable local residents and interested groups to more readily identify local distinctiveness within a scheme (or lack of it).

Residents of the four councils and other stakeholders can view the consultation, which is available from Monday 15th October to Monday 26th November 2012 at Chesterfield Borough Council