LPP2: Site Allocations and Development Management Policies

Quality Places through Design

2.26  Good design facilitates and contributes to local distinctiveness, a sense of place, and civic pride. It improves and enhances the existing environment and helps to attract people, businesses and investment. The quality of architecture and design as well as the relationship between buildings and spaces are relevant to the impact that development will have on the character of the area. High quality development is designed so as to understand the context within which it is located, supporting both organic and planned growth.

2.27  The objective of good design is not to copy vernacular architecture, creating imitation or 'pastiche' development. Instead, the objective is to reference local character, layout, scale and materiality within a proposal to ensure it can positively contribute to and build on the continuing evolution and story of place.

2.28  Good design is also about promoting an inclusive environment that can be accessed and used by everyone, recognising and accommodating differences in the way people use the built environment. In addition, it considers how a place will adapt over time and be resilient to change. Good design should also look to seamlessly integrate sustainability measures such as high quality walking and cycling routes, permeable surfacing, and SuDS in recognition of how such measures can have a range of benefits in relation to creating healthy and attractive places.

2.29  Careful consideration at the design stage of how the completed development will function in practice can overcome barriers experienced by some users. Early consideration of design will also help to contribute to the objectives of sustainable development. Too often the needs of users, including disabled people, older people and families with small children, are considered too late in the development of detailed design proposals.

2.30  Policy DM4 below outlines what the Council considers to be the key components of good design needed to contribute to a successful place which sits within its context.

DM4: Quality Places through Design

All new development will be expected to be of a high quality design. Development should respond effectively to its surroundings, reinforcing local distinctiveness and landscape and townscape character.  The principles of good design should be incorporated by:

  1. Making the most efficient use of land, while being sympathetic and responsive to the prevailing pattern of development, including areas of urban-rural transition;
  2. Responding to the local context by taking into account the:
    1. Scale of development, considering the height, mass, form and bulk of adjacent and surrounding structures;
    2. Building plot sizes and widths, plot coverage and established street patterns;
    3. Building setbacks, rooflines, streetscape rhythm including the spaces between buildings, as well as other streetscape elements such as the degree of enclosure;
    4. Architectural composition, appearance, variety and quality of materials and detailing;
    5. Local topography and views both from and to the site;
    6. Impact on neighbouring open spaces and their environment; and
    7. Existing features of the site including (but not limited to) trees, buildings, landscape form and views.
  3. Ensuring the use of high quality, sustainable building materials and finishes that are attractive and durable, and appropriate to the context and proposed design;
  4. Providing a clear definition between the public and private realm, incorporating high quality landscaping and boundary treatments, and delivering quality public spaces, ensuring entrances to developments are obvious for all users of the site;
  5. Allowing for permeability and access throughout the site and promoting access to community facilities and employment opportunities;
  6. Facilitating opportunities for adaptable uses for various users over time;
  7. Ensuring that ancillary facilities such as bin storage, secure bike storage, substations and utility facilities that serve new housing developments, are designed into the proposal from the outset; and
  8. Providing boundary treatments that respond positively to the local context around and within the site.

Regard will be had to the cumulative effects of development on the character of an area.

Design Review arrangements should be made for significant schemes as agreed with the Local Planning Authority at the earliest opportunity in the planning process. 

Local Plan Part 1 parent policies

TD1: Townscape and Design

Other documents or guidance

Residential Extensions SPD (2010)

Neighbourhood Development Plans

Town and Village Design Statements

Relevant Conservation Area Appraisals (CAA)

Surrey Design Guide (2002)

The National Design Guide



Refusal, and dismissal at appeal, of proposals which do not represent a high standard of design.

Performance of developments against design audit criteria.

Outcome of Design Reviews.


Development in the Borough is of high quality design and incorporates the principles set out in the policy.

Design Reviews are carried out for significant schemes.

Noteworthy design of showcase level.