LPP2: Site Allocations and Development Management Policies

Public Realm

2.43  Public realm includes space that is within and between buildings which is publicly accessible for use by everyone.  Land ownership has no direct impact on whether a space is considered to form part of the public realm. However, it can have a significant impact on its long-term maintenance.

2.44  Public realm is important because it can help to deliver far reaching social, economic and environmental benefits, including:

  • Enhancing identity and civic pride,
  • Attracting more visitors,
  • Increasing expenditure,
  • Helping retailers (in village and town centres),
  • Creating safe places,
  • Facilitating a sense of community and/or social cohesion,
  • Aiding legibility,
  • Providing interesting vistas, and
  • Breaking up the built form.

2.45  The most successful places exhibit functional and attractive hard and soft landscape elements, with well-orientated and detailed routes and include facilities such as seats and play equipment. Well-designed spaces will be inclusive, catering to the needs of all groups in society, including children, or those with limited mobility. Public art and sculpture can play an important role in making interesting and exciting places that people enjoy using.

2.46 Well-designed public realm can also be multifunctional, with the integration of elements such as sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) to manage flood risk, and planting schemes that support biodiversity while also helping to control air pollution and moderate temperatures. Consideration of such issues at an early stage will often mean they can be implemented at little or no additional cost.

2.47  Good quality public realm plays a huge role in the concept of sustainable, inclusive communities and aids community cohesion. Gated developments are not considered to fit with this concept as they create a physical form that says 'keep out'. The Council wants to ensure that new communities integrate with their wider environment, therefore gated developments should be avoided.


DM6: Public Realm

Development which results in the creation of new, or changes to existing, public realm should:

      1. Improve legibility and links to a coherent wider network by promoting routes and wayfinding between the development and local amenities to facilitate walking routes, including public transport stops;
      2. Ensure public realm design takes account of the established townscape, historic character, and quality of materials in the surrounding area;
      3. Include landscaping treatment that is suitable for its location, and contributes to local green infrastructure, the appearance of the area and ease of movement through the space (including providing new or strengthening existing wildlife corridors);
      4. Ensure attractive, safe and, where appropriate, vibrant streets which provide visual interest, particularly at street level;
      5. Provide safe and direct pedestrian and cycle movement through the space;
      6.  Incorporate appropriate and robust hard landscape design, using good quality materials;.
      7. Where appropriate, include the installation of public art;
      8. Deliver proposals that incorporate the principles of inclusive design. Proposals for gated development will be resisted; and
      9.  Act on the available opportunities for creating new, high quality public realm.

Local Plan Part 1 parent policies

TD1: Townscape and Design



Refusal, and dismissal at appeal, of proposals which fail to provide high quality public realm.

Performance of developments against design audit criteria.


Developments involving the creation of new or changes to existing public realm are of a high quality.