Planning new communities

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Stephen Platt
tel: 01223 460475

The National Planning Policy Framework sets out a clear expectation that local planning authorities need to plan positively and creatively to meet their future housing needs, co-operating where necessary with neighbouring authorities and other public bodies. Some of this need will be met through the regeneration of existing built up areas, but in many cases the most sustainable option will be to focus housing growth in planned new communities, either as urban extensions or as freestanding new settlements or ‘garden cities’.

This presents a major challenge for local authorities, particularly those authorities that lack the skills and experience in bringing forward new developments of this scale and complexity. In addition, existing communities that are close to the proposed developments are naturally anxious about the impact that the new developments will have on their quality of life, and this anxiety adds to the pressure on the local authority to demonstrate the positive benefits of the chosen strategy.

CAR offers a range of services to help local authorities including mentoring senior planners, horizon scanning events for officers and councillors and master classes for staff.

The purpose is to inspire and enthuse the local authority planners and members about the opportunities for making a truly sustainable and successful new community. It will give them the confidence to secure the highest possible quality standards in the new development, and encourage them to work in a creative partnership with the developer and other stakeholders, as well as ensuring positive ongoing engagement with neighbouring communities.

Key issues
Housing design and density: Design for low carbon lifestyles and the ‘threshold’ space between the private and the public realm.

Space around the home: Different approaches to car parking, privacy, shared space, street design, safety and local identity.

Neighbourhood: Local community facilities, local shops, play areas, local energy generation, access to good public transport and safe cycle paths, management and adoption.

Balanced and mixed communities: Integrating different types and tenure of housing.

Townscapes and landscapes: High quality green spaces, landscape design to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.

Connectivity: Good access to town centres and local centres of employment as well as to the countryside.

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